The day should have been long ago when homeowner association directors with little understanding or training, actually run Homeowner Associations. So many of the people that get elected ( usually because no one else wants to serve or for other reasons that I will leave out of this post) are most often not qualified.
The Directors need training to work the budgets, recommend the allocation of reserves, propose by-law changes, and interpret the pre-formatted CC&R's that were filed with the respective State Dept. of Real Estate by the developer when the property was first approved as a subdivision. I believe most HOA directors would want to learn if there was a venue to provide this needed training.
If a Homeowners Association actually had better hands on legal guidance, the legal advisers would insist that each of the elected Directors understand what they have been elected to do. The same goes for the management companies that often advise the associations. In situations that I have observed, it often seems like the sight challenged leading the sight challenged.
In some respects it is totally amazing that the associations function at all. Getting out the reserve studies ( usually constructed by the management companies ) and the annual budget for the decision on what fees will be charged for the current year are often all that is accomplished by the directors.
Hands On Approach
In other associations the Directors take a more hands on approach dealing with infractions of the accepted rules, policing the common areas and various other aspects of life in a subdivision. And there have certainly been charges levied by individual homeowners that the board has exceeded it charge. Most courts however usually back the associations, finding language in the CC&R's that gives them greater latitude.
What is needed is instead of the rather unpleasant conflict is, Director training that should be available by the respective authorities that authorize the forming of subdivisions in a state or at least by legal entity that is hired to keep tract that rules are regs are lawful and that those that abuse members the system are handled properly.
HOA Management Company Role
I recently came across one management company in particular that was providing this training and it should not surprise you that this particular association is very well run and the homeowner members appreciate the better way affairs of the association are managed. The company doesn't want any fanfare so they shall remain anonymous but they certainly take their charge in a serious and professional way and as a REALTOR, I applaud their exceptional efforts.
Most CC&R's were meant as a model that would be adopted at the time the association takes over for the Builder of the Subdivision. They were also intended to be living documents that would be amended to accommodate the life style and way of life for that association within the legal limits assigned to them.
What happens in reality is that the model CC&R's available for the new subdivisions usually get adopted and without further action they remain that way, often at the consternation of most who reside there. When I inquired about how that happens , I was told that the legal work and expense required is often the harbinger to the desired change. Unless the articles are simply onerous, they remain that way , year after year,after year.
Role of REALTORS Associations
Since REALTOR associations usually provide basic training in Roberts Rules and the fundamentals of how associations operate to their new elected directors , it might be a very useful community service if the REALTOR Associations could design a basic training for the Homeowner Association Directors in their community. It could also be a nice additional revenue stream offsetting some of the other programs an association might like to provide its members. It might be worth looking into. What say you?
Courtesy of William Johnson GRI CRS e-PRO author of The Real Estate Text Book and The Voice of San Diego Real Estate
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