There are a number of good reasons to serve on the Board of Directors for your Homeowners Association. For example, serving on the HOA Board provides a meaningful way to enact positive change in your community, and to ensure that it remains a pleasant place for everyone to live. Additionally, serving within a community association can be an outstanding way to get to know your neighbors.
These are just a couple of possible incentives to consider a role in HOA service. But what if you’re considering Board service, and specifically serving as Board President, for financial compensation?
If that’s the case, then you may wind up disappointed. With rare exceptions, Board members serve on a volunteer basis. So, while there are plenty of reasons to run for a seat on the HOA Board, compensation shouldn’t be one of them.
Here are a few further reflections on this topic from Kuester Management Group, a trusted provider of HOA management in Huntersville NC, Charlotte NC, Myrtle Beach SC, and HOA Management in Fort Mill SC.
Look to Your Governing Documents
If you have any questions about whether Board members may be compensated within your HOA, simply consult your governing documents.
Generally speaking, governing docs should be clear in outlining whether HOA Board members can be compensated. Most of the time, they will expressly prohibit Board members from receiving any type of financial compensation or other special perks. In most HOAs, Board members are expected to serve as volunteers, motivated by their desire to serve within the community.
Governing documents may stipulate that the Board can hire professionals, such as accountants, attorneys, or HOA management experts, to assist with difficult tasks like special assessments or running productive Board meetings. However, the actual Board members should not be paid for their Board service.
Why is it that Board members are prohibited from collecting compensation?
The short answer is that, when you serve on the Board, you have a fiduciary duty to the Homeowners Association. What this means is that you are responsible for every dollar that’s spent on the community’s behalf. Receiving any kind of payment would create a pretty clear conflict of interest. For example, if Board members are receiving compensation, it would be problematic for them to also be in charge of giving themselves raises.
Something else to keep in mind: Not only must Board members (including the President) abstain from collecting a salary, but they must also continue paying dues, just like all other members of the community.
Sometimes, HOA members get the idea that they might waive dues for their volunteers, motivating more people to serve. While this is a clever idea, it would be another clear case of conflict of interest. Generally speaking, HOA governing docs will prohibit this.
Benefits Service on the Community Association Board
All of that’s to say that, when you choose to serve as a Board member, or are elected to the office of Board President, you’re typically not going to get any type of financial incentive. However, there are still some remarkable benefits to serving on the Board. Just a few examples include:
- Volunteer work provides real mental and emotional health benefits, something that is confirmed by a huge body of scientific literature.
- Serving on the Board provides an opportunity to enact real change within the community.
- By serving on the Board, you can not only get to know your neighbors better, but also serve as an example of what servant-leadership looks like.
In other words: While you may not get a paycheck for serving as an HOA President, doing so can nevertheless be richly rewarding.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do board members get paid?
In the vast majority of HOAs, Board members serve on a purely voluntary basis, regardless of officer positions.
Why do you want to serve on the HOA board of directors?
Serving on the Board can be a great way to help preserve property values, build community, get to know your neighbors, or gain experience working with a property management company.
What qualities make a good HOA board member?
Good Board members are comfortable maintaining official records. They feel at-ease with the fiduciary responsibilities of HOA service, and are okay handling tough topics like the payment of assessments. They are generally very service-driven and community-minded.
What are the duties of board members?
Board member duties can include everything from maintaining official records (including financial records) to enforcing Association documents to making sure that any common expense is covered. They may also collaborate with professional partners, like accountants or landscaping vendors, to ensure that the HOA or condo association is properly maintained.
Are board members considered employees?
The legal document that denotes HOA board positions will likely spell out that Board members are volunteers only, not employees of the HOA.
What happens when you don’t have enough HOA board members?
You may need to hold a special election and/or have current members stay in their roles until their duly-appointed successors receive a majority vote.
What does a President do in an HOA?
The HOA President has wide-ranging responsibilities, including directing other Board members, presiding over the annual meeting, and providing a sense of vision for the HOA.
Can HOA Presidents be sued?
Yes; dissatisfied homeowners may sue the HOA itself, or individual Board members, including the President.
Can the HOA president make decisions without consulting?
It’s generally understood that the HOA President makes decisions through consultation with the other Board members, as well as the HOA management company.
How do you remove a president from an HOA?
Governing documents may provide some insight into how to vote a Board member out of office, but this should really be a last resort.
How do you become an HOA president?
Generally, you are elected by the HOA membership to serve on the Board. Then, Board members vote among themselves who should be President, Vice President, etc.
How much do HOA board members make?
HOA Board members usually do not draw any kind of salary; they serve on a purely voluntary basis.