Everyone makes mistakes, even HOAs. It happens. The board may not have been knowingly in violation of the governing documents or other regulations and may have been doing what it thought was right. But once an error is discovered, it is important to make things right as best as possible. Remember that it can take time to correct mistakes, and it often involves a lot of planning and communication to get everyone on the same page.
- Admit your mistake. The board should take ownership of what happened, even if it was a decision made by previous leadership. Let homeowners know that a problem was identified, but that the association is taking steps to correct it. It can be tempting to point fingers and place blame, but what is more important is making things right.
- Research the issue. What went wrong in the first place? How did the board make the decision initially? The problem may have stemmed from a lack of understanding of the governing documents, or a policy that was misinterpreted or unclear.
- Put a plan in place. Adhere to the governing documents or laws that are in place and determine what steps needs to be taken to correct the problem. Do policies or procedures need to be updated? Are there changes in how things are enforced? Work with your property manager, HOA attorney, and other professionals to develop a course of action.
- Be transparent. Keep members in the loop about what is happening. Make sure information is provided about timelines, what to expect, what changes are being made, and why. Be open to answering questions and sharing appropriate details as homeowners will likely have concerns about the process and how these changes will impact them.
- Focus on the positives. Yes, some things went wrong, but highlight how these problems are being corrected and the benefits making these changes will provide moving forward. It can take time for homeowners to embrace change, but ensuring clear, consistent communication can help.
Moving forward, it can be a good idea for the board to brush up on the governing documents and know where to look and who to consult when making decisions. If there are things that are unclear or could be misinterpreted, take steps to update these rules to prevent future problems. Partnering with a property management company like Kuester can help your HOA to stay abreast of changing rules and regulations, make more informed decisions, ensure policies are fair and enforceable, improve communication with members, and much more. Contact us today for more information about available services.