There are many good, effective, and upright homeowners associations that are rightly held in high regard. Other HOAs, however, deal with reputation problems. Sometimes it is because former HOA managers have not done their jobs very well; sometimes, because the HOA has simply not done what it should in terms of communicating its role and its vision.
Regardless, it is important for any HOA to do what it can to improve its standing among residents. This ultimately ensures that the community is able to function in a peaceful and prosperous way. The question is, how can the HOA improve its reputation?
- One important step is to clarify the role, purpose, and limitations of your association. This is especially true in communities where HOA membership is not mandatory; in these cases, there tend to be fairly sparse membership dues coming in, and as such the HOA does not always have enough of a budget to do what it might wish. It is important to ensure that all of this is made explicit to residents, lest they think your board is simply not doing its job!
- Set up an e-mail address of a physical mailbox to accept comments, complaints, and suggestions from homeowners. This level of openness goes a long way. In many associations, residents struggle for ways to have their voices heard—don’t let your association be one of them!
- Make sure that residents know what your HOA is doing to serve them. Regular communication is a must here, through an e-mail newsletter and/or a physical newsletter, and perhaps also through social media updates.
- Provide budget breakdowns to all of the residents in your community, so that there is never any question about exactly where their dues are going.
Your HOA can do much to improve its reputation among community members—and really, it all comes back around to simple and honest communication.