There are millions of Americans who live in HOA communities throughout the country. While the media tends to emphasize the negatives, according to a 2014 study, approximately 90 percent of people living in HOAs have positive or neutral opinions of them. Myths and misconceptions can influence how individuals perceive HOAs and give them a poorer reputation. Here are a few such myths:
- All HOAs are the same.
There tends to be the thought that if you’ve experienced living in one HOA community, then it’s the same for any HOA community. This is not so. Each association is run by its own board, property manager, and volunteers. They make their own decisions and create their own environment. When the board is working well together, there is clear communication and transparency, and issues are addressed quickly and efficiently, it can make for a wonderful experience. Don’t discredit all HOAs because you had a poor experience with one.
- All meetings and records are public.
As a homeowner, you do have access to many HOA documents and the right to review them, and most board meetings are open to everyone. However, not everything is fair game. There are instances where the board may have a closed session to discuss sensitive or legal issues. And there are certain documents that are private. Check your governing documents or contact the board if you have concerns and they will share as much as they can.
- Homeowners have no say in decisions; it’s all up to the board.
While the board does oversee HOA operations, homeowners do have a say. Board members are elected by the community, and residents have the opportunity to express their opinions and insight at board meetings. Getting involved and attending meetings is a great way to have a stronger impact on decisions made within the community. However, when homeowners do not attend meetings, it limits their ability to make their voice heard.
- Rules are rules and can’t be changed.
Just because a rule has been part of the governing documents for decades does not mean that it is set in stone. If there is something you disagree with, do some research and express your concern to the board. It is possible to add and remove rules that govern the HOA community. It doesn’t happen overnight, but if you go through the proper channels, you can make a difference. Periodically reviewing the governing documents is a good idea to identify rules that may be irrelevant or outdated and keep up with the changing times.
- Property managers work for the homeowners.
Property managers are there to support the association and provide assistance with daily operations, complying with rules and regulations, and ensuring that the community is a safe and enjoyable place to live. They do not answer to individual homeowners, nor do they overrule the board. The board is still in charge. Property managers, board members, and homeowners should be working together to make the most of the community.
If your HOA is facing challenges and could use professional assistance and support, contact Kuester today to learn more about our wide range of services.