There is a lot of paperwork involved in running a homeowners association. There are covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs for short), bylaws, amendments, recorded maps, and more. It can be a lot to digest and, chances are, homeowners are not reading every page word-for-word. This is understandable, but it can also mean that issues arise when residents violate terms of the agreement – whether knowingly or unknowingly. Taking the time to help homeowners understand governing documents can reduce problems.
Make Documents Accessible
When you encourage a member to check the governing documents, they may not even know where to look. Having digital copies available online can make accessing necessary materials fast and simple. Even better if there is an option to search so members can zero in on exactly what they’re looking for without having to search through every page. Adding other resources such as newsletters, meeting agendas and minutes, contact numbers, and other pertinent information can be valuable as well.
Break Things Down
Does the board find that it’s addressing the same issues over and over again? Send out a quick email blast or whip up a short article for the next newsletter outlining certain rules and expectations. Make it a friendly reminder – and explain why the rule is important – and let homeowners know that they can always ask for more information if they have any questions.
Hold an Informational Session
Host an educational event where homeowners can learn more about basic HOA guidelines and ask any questions they may have. Perhaps they’re curious about whether they can install a swing set or what color they can repaint their shutters but weren’t sure who to ask or how to go about finding the information. Making the board more accessible and supporting homeowners in learning more about processes and procedures for the future can be beneficial. Next time they have a question, they’ll know what to do.
Many homeowners aren’t intentionally violating HOA rules – they may not realize what they’re doing isn’t allowed. Before doling out violation notices, start by providing a simple warning that lets them know what the issue is and how it can be corrected. You could also point out the specific rule in question. Once they are aware, you may find that you have no further issues moving forward. If it continues to be a problem, then you can take other steps to resolve it.
The HOA and homeowners both want the same thing – to create a well-maintained, peaceable community wherever can live. Clear communication is an essential part of this process, so make a conscious effort to improve communication with homeowners and clarify issues before they get out of hand. Kuester can help HOAs make sense of documents and in turn support members as well.