The relationship between an HOA and the community residents can be a delicate one. On the one hand, we all love having a governing body to protect the integrity and values of our neighborhood. At the same time, there are some who might bristle against paying dues, or being told what they can and cannot do in terms of their landscaping, or whatever else the issue may be.
The bottom line, though, is that your HOA board should do everything it can to preserve positive, healthy relationships with community members. And to a large extent, this is just a matter of good PR. It’s about being open and honest, and ultimately reminding residents of the very good work that your community association is doing.
Here are a few basic pointers to keep in mind:
- It goes a long way to remind HOA board members and residents alike of what the HOA is really for. The purpose of the organization is to preserve property values, ensuring the quality of the neighborhood is upheld. This basic mission is something any homeowner will support, so come back to it, reinforcing it in meetings and in newsletters.
- It also goes a long way to make copies of the HOA’s governing documents readily available. Many communities have them available online, for free download. Encourage members to familiarize themselves with these documents, to prevent any “surprises” from arising with regard to community governance.
- It is also a good idea to see to it that residents know the HOA board members. Make sure a list of board members is accessible to all. And encourage board members to make themselves accessible, too. Having a yearly meet-and-greet function is one possibility.
- Be transparent about whether or not you have enlisted the help of a property management company—and let residents know what the responsibilities of this company might entail.
- Finally, see to it that all residents know how best to communicate with the HOA board—whether it’s through a phone number, an e-mail address, or something else entirely. Letting residents know how to contact your professional property management company may also be advisable.