From time to time, every HOA board needs to enlist the services of an external vendor—a contractor, carpenter, electrician, plumber, or what have you—to attend to some maintenance or repair work within the community. Having these vendors come to your community and lend their services can be great, but occasionally, it can also prove frustrating—particularly when homeowners take it upon themselves to interfere with the work being done by these service vendors.
Frustrating though it may be, this is something that most HOA boards must deal with, at some point or another. A homeowner either takes it upon himself to offer suggestions and tips to the vendor, or else says that, since the vendor is “in the area,” he may as well perform a few other tasks around the community, or maybe within the homeowner’s own property.
This is problematic because, generally, the vendor and the HOA board have already reached an agreement about how long the vendor’s work will last, and how much it will cost. The question, then, is how does the HOA board keep homeowners from interfering? There are three tips worth keeping in mind:
1. First, make sure there is a protocol in place through which homeowners can contribute work orders of their own—a suggestion box, perhaps, or an e-mail account.
2. Create a written protocol for communication with vendors, and make sure homeowners (and vendors) have a copy. This will not necessarily prevent homeowners from getting proactive, but it will at least provide the board with a way to point back to the official procedures, and to explain that the protocol exists, ultimately, to save the community money.
3. Make sure that you are clear in outlining the scope of the project to each and every vendor—and to ensure that service vendors know that work requests come only from the board, not from individual community members.
By following these tips, you can see to it that interference with service vendors is minimal, and manageable.