A new year is upon us, and with it comes a new class of HOA board members. Your association may have just held elections, or it may be preparing for them later in the year; either way, you may soon have some fresh new faces on the HOA team. It’s important for veteran board members to remember how daunting board service can be for novices—and to do whatever you can to make the transition seamless.
As for new HOA board members, it is smart to learn from the veterans—not just from their successes, but also their failures. You might start by ensuring that you’re not making any of the most common new board member errors, which include:
- Failing to learn how the association really works. Board service is not really something you can learn as you go. It is important to take some time, at the very beginning of your board tenure, to meet with the manager or veteran board members to learn how the association is managed, how board meetings work, what the governing documents say, and so forth.
- Trying to do something you’re not allowed to do. As a board member, you do not have absolute power to do whatever you like. Your power comes from the association’s governing documents, and it’s important you know what they say so as not to overstep your bounds.
- Trying to change the fundamental character of the association. If HOA members are used to paying higher assessments in exchange for great amenities—or vice versa—it’s important that you not try to rock the boat and turn the association into something it’s not.
- Rushing to change policies. There are likely some HOA policies that should be reviewed, reconsidered, and possibly updated. Don’t rush to conclusions, though. There is a reason things are the way they are, and it’s important for new board members to understand why previous HOA board members did things the way they did.
Learn from what previous association members did—and make sure you’re staying clear of these classic rookie errors!