From time to time, your community association will need to bring in vendors, contractors, and service providers, in order to make capital repairs or simply to do routine maintenance. Ideally, your HOA will enjoy positive, long-term relationships with qualified area vendors—but all of this can be jeopardized when homeowners go rogue or take it upon themselves to interfere, essentially trying to direct the vendors and contractors on their own!
This is a simple reality of human nature, and it happens in most all HOA communities, sooner or later. The problem is, it puts your vendors in a prickly situation when they are hearing one thing from the HOA board, and something different from homeowners. This, in turn, can make the work take longer, and it can cause the cost to rise. As such, members of the board are invited to consider these suggestions:
- Make sure that all of your residents are educated, from the day they move in, about the maintenance areas over which they have authority (i.e., within their homes), and the areas that fall totally under the association’s purview. Having a “responsibility chart” printed out to give new residents is a great idea.
- Set up a process for maintenance requests. Giving homeowners a way to make these requests will minimize the extent to which they feel compelled to commandeer the time and energy of your vendors. Also make it clear to the vendors that you have a system in place, and that work orders only come from the board itself!
- Always make certain that your contractors understand the scope and the specific details of your project before they begin; lay this out in writing to prevent any miscommunications.
- Speak with your contractors and let them know that they can direct all requests for “free” maintenance or repair work back to the board; then, you can explain to homeowners what the protocol for maintenance requests is, and keep them out of the way of your vendors.
Your service providers do important work for the entire community—so it is critical that you not allow that work to be threatened by misunderstandings or miscommunications among homeowners!