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Should an HOA Hire a Property Manager?

Top 3 Reasons an HOA Should Hire a Property Manager

A property manager oversees the care and maintenance of a specific property, including vetting tenants and ensuring renters follow regulations stipulated in the lease contract, if they were hired to oversee rental properties. Other than rental properties, a property manager may also be hired to oversee the general upkeep of a piece of property like a vacation or second home. What then, is the role of a property manager in a homeowners association?

Reasons why an HOA should consider hiring a property manager

An HOA is responsible for the community it serves, which covers both the homeowners and common areas. The HOA may be tasked to oversee corporate-owned properties or areas as well. This might not seem such a difficult task but when you break down these tasks into small details, that’s when responsibilities become overwhelming. This is where a property manager may come into play. Below are a few reasons why HOAs should consider hiring a licensed and experienced property manager:

1. Oversee care and maintenance of corporate-owned areas

Within an HOA-managed community, there could be several corporate or developer owned areas, which they need to oversee on top of performing their duties and responsibilities. A property manager can take over the responsibility of maintaining these corporately owned areas or properties to ensure they are always in the best shape and ready for use according to the owner’s discretion.

2. Contact vendors for repairs

Property managers usually have a good relationship with several vendors and suppliers, which makes it easy for them to contact specific services for repairs or parts replacements for the common areas they manage. Sometimes, repairs are delayed because the HOA is overwhelmed with tasks that demand equal attention. A property manager can prevent such delays and make sure common areas are functioning as they should and always available for use.

3. Assist the HOA Board

Last but not the least, an HOA should consider hiring a property manager because they ease the Board’s workload. By taking care of the common areas and everything associated with their upkeep, the Board can focus on other important tasks and still have enough time to also focus on their personal lives.

If you wish to learn more about HOAs and other related topics, please feel free to browse our blog page. You may also visit the community news page for more information on California homeowners associations.

Amending an HOA’s covenants and bylaws

First off, covenants, conditions, and restrictions or CC&Rs aren’t the same as bylaws, although a lot of people confuse the two as being one and the same. To clarify, CC&Rs are the rules and regulations that the HOA and homeowners must follow. These documents define the obligations of the homeowners association towards its members, and the members’ rights and responsibilities as part of the HOA.

Bylaws, on the other hand, basically cover the community as an entity and under this, you can find regulations concerning the HOA’s Board of Directors from the number of directors that can be on the Board to qualifications of homeowners who can serve on the Board.

The process of amending bylaws and covenants should be initiated by the Board of the Directors or any of its members. Here are a few things homeowners should know about making changes on the covenants and/or bylaws:

1. The purpose should be clearly communicated

First of all, covenants and bylaws shouldn’t be amended on a whim. There should be a clear purpose for it, and this purpose should serve the greater good of the community and the homeowners. Secondly, such undertaking should be shared to the homeowners. It will not do the HOA good if the homeowners learn about this through hearsay or worse, after the changes have been made and implementation of the changes is already underway.

Homeowners associations should also be transparent about their actions and activities.

2. Changes are usually undertaken to amend outdated laws

There are several reasons why an HOA Board may decide to amend its covenants or bylaws, but usually, it’s because some stipulations have become outdated or federal/state laws have changed and these must be applied to the HOA’s existing CC&Rs and/or bylaws.

There are also instances when covenants were amended because of an issue raised by majority of the homeowners. Issues may include lifting of restrictions on exterior paint or landscaping, or other such limitations.

3. Covenants have expired

Covenants have an expiration date although some HOAs may have overlooked this little bit of fact because the validity of HOA covenants is usually 30 years. If a board member is interested in amending the HOA’s covenants, they should look into the covenant’s expiration date; and if a homeowner wishes to check if an HOA’s restriction is valid, they should likewise research on their HOA’s covenant expiry.

For more on HOA CC&Rs and bylaws, you may visit our community news page.

Understanding HOA Dissolution: What Every Homeowner Should Know

There are various reasons why a homeowners association may get dissolved, and the process to start its dissolution may be initiated by either the Board itself, one its members, or by a homeowner. In general, a homeowners association or HOA is established to look after the welfare of its homeowners and oversee the upkeep and safety of the community. So why would anyone within that community ever want it dissolved?

Here’s what every homeowner should know about HOA dissolution:

1. It’s a process that should abide by federal laws and HOA covenants

Understand that dissolving an HOA is a long and tedious process, which means that if the Board initiated the move, they are likely aware that dissolution could take time. They should also be aware that such an act should be done within the legal bounds of federal laws as well as the HOA’s own covenants and by-laws.

If any homeowner is against the dissolution of the HOA, this is the time to research their rights as a member of the community. It is likewise advised they seek the assistance of a licensed attorney.

2. Dissolution must be voted on by the community

Unless the dissolution was ordered by the state for whatever legal reason, dissolving a homeowners association requires the participation of the homeowners. In general, the vote to dissolve should comprise at least 80% of the community. When the ballot to vote for its dissolution has been approved by the Board, it is important that every homeowner participate because the result will directly affect them.

3. When approved, the Board should clearly communicate succeeding steps

If the dissolution has been approved, the Board must clearly communicate to the homeowners the steps they will undertake for the smooth transition. This means they must present to the homeowner documents stating where the common funds are and how they will be used, what happens to the common areas and who will oversee their maintenance, and other such important matters.

Homeowners should also find out if the dissolution of the HOA means the community will no longer be under the jurisdiction of any HOA or if a new one will be formed.

If you wish to learn more about homeowners associations, please feel free to browse our blog page. You may also visit the community news page for more information on California homeowners associations, from covenants and by-laws to HOA management and more.

4 Skills Every Board Member Needs

The success of a homeowners association (HOA) depends on the HOA board’s ability to manage its community. In other words, for a community to thrive, the HOA board members must possess the skills that’ll allow them to improve the quality of life in the community.

While there are currently no state laws governing who can or can’t become an HOA board member, many HOAs have bylaws requiring candidates to possess certain skills before they can be eligible for a seat on the board. With that in mind, here are 4 skills you’ll need if you want to become an HOA board member.

1. Communication

Serving on the board means being in constant communication with fellow board members, the HOA manager, community members, and vendors. Therefore, it’s essential to have strong interpersonal skills if you want to become a board member. This includes being proficient in both written and oral communication.

2. Computer proficiency

The use of computers allows for the efficient management of the community. As you’ll be writing emails, attending or hosting online meetups, and using the internet to access important information, strong computer skills are a must for a board member. Knowing how to take advantage of available technology will also let you to automate tasks and receive updates on essential details such as the collection of fees.

3. Management

Strong management skills will allow you to juggle a variety of responsibilities, from the filing of yearly taxes to the enforcement of rules. To ensure the HOA runs smoothly, you’ll also have to delegate tasks, follow administrative procedures, and manage important documents.

4. Bookkeeping and accounting knowhow

One of the most important responsibilities of the HOA board is the handling of the HOA’s finances. Expect to plan the annual budget, calculate HOA fees, stay updated on vendor payments, record all pertinent transactions, and produce financial statements to show your HOA’s fiscal condition. For these reasons, bookkeeping and accounting knowledge will serve an HOA board member extremely well.

Because all the above skills require high levels of technical expertise, many associations require a candidate for the board to have a high school diploma at the minimum. Larger HOAs may only accept college graduates.

There are also HOAs that will accept you as a board member if you’re a graduate of a local HOA management course. Make sure to take advantage of such courses, as they’re often offered by HOA agencies for free.

If you’d like more information about HOAs and HOA boards, kindly contact us through our corporate website, or give us a call at (888) 828-9444.

4 Qualifications You Need to Serve on an HOA Board

The benefits of becoming a board member of a homeowners association (HOA) are numerous. You can develop rules and regulations that improve the quality of life in the community. You can organize events that bring people together and enhance their sense of camaraderie. You can even make new friends and learn important skills that’ll help you in every aspect of your life. It’s for these reasons it’s a good idea for an HOA member to consider becoming a member of its board.

Of course, to ensure the HOA board remains competent, there are specific criteria you must meet before you can become eligible as a candidate for board membership. We list some of them below.

1. HOA membership

Because you must be a part of the community to help it, you have to be a member of the HOA if you want to join its board. In contrast to someone living outside the community, an HOA member will have a good idea of the community’s strengths and where it needs improvement the most.

2. No delinquencies or violations

A community member who pays all their association dues in a timely manner and takes great care not to violate any governing documents is someone who respects the importance of rules and regulations. As such, they make great candidates for board membership.

3. No legal troubles

Anyone currently or persistently involved in legal disputes against members of the community or the HOA board won’t be seen as responsible or trustworthy enough to handle the duties of a board member. Similarly, convicted felons will very likely be denied a seat on the board. It’s essential to have a clean record if you aim to be in a position where the betterment of the community and the enforcement of laws will be your major concerns.

4. No familial relationship with other board members

In the interest of fairness, many HOAs require candidates must not have familial ties with any of the serving board members. Being a co-owner with a board member may also be seen as an issue.

While there are currently no laws stating who can become an HOA board member, many HOA bylaws make the above qualifications a requirement for those serving on the board. Thus, having said qualifications will significantly improve your chances of becoming an HOA board member.

If you’d like to know more about HOAs and HOA boards, please contact us through our corporate website, or give us a call at (888) 828-9444.