Living in a community with a homeowners association has certain advantages. However, these advantages can be observed only if the HOA’s Board of Directors addresses problems properly. The reality, though, is that most HOA boards consist of members who do not have a background in association management.
Fortunately, with the help of a property management company, your HOA can effectively address the common problems of the association. Let’s take a look at some of the issues faced by HOAs:
#1 New Laws
The HOA has the authority to create and enforce rules and regulations, but they are still bound by federal, state, and local laws. Since legal considerations are constantly changing, your HOA needs to stay up-to-date in order to abide by the law. However, abiding by the law is easier said than done. Your HOA may have rules that need to be revised in order to adapt to these legislative changes.
If your HOA doesn’t have an in-house attorney, you may be able to benefit from hiring an association manager. This will allow your HOA to stay in the loop as well as avoid lawsuits.
#2 Poor Property Maintenance
One of the responsibilities of the HOA is to maintain the common areas of the community, such as parks and playgrounds. Not maintaining these areas can result in several problems, including pests, mold, and more. These do not only affect the aesthetic appeal of the neighborhood, but they also negatively impact property values.
The solution? Have a network of vetted vendors that you can count on to provide proper care to these areas. It’s best to entrust this task to an association management company that has a list of contractors that they can hire for a reasonable rate.
Here’s who you might have to hire:
- Pool cleaners
- Street sweepers
#3 Common Areas and COVID-19
Due to the pandemic, HOAs across the U.S. have had to create rules regarding the safe use of common areas. For example, HOAs have closed their pools and recreational centers to ensure the safety of their residents. Unfortunately, not all homeowners are aware of the “why” behind these rules. This has increased the number of complaints.
To ensure that your homeowners stay up-to-date, you should constantly communicate these changes through a platform like AppFolio. Simply state the reasons behind the new rules. You won’t please everyone, but what’s important is that you communicate with the community.
You can also allow residents to reserve the common areas. For instance, residents may reserve the clubhouse as long as they agree to abide by COVID-19 safety protocols. Similarly, you can allow the use of certain areas as long as everyone, vaccinated or unvaccinated, masks up.
#4 Biased Enforcement of Rules and Regulations
The HOA board is supposed to be unbiased, but unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. While rules should be enforced fairly, some board members practice biased or selective enforcement. This is when a board member purposely changes the procedures when it suits their interests. An example is when a board member turns a blind eye to an HOA violation that is committed by a friend.
That’s why it would be wise to hire an association manager. Since they aren’t members of the association, they will be able to enforce rules fairly. They can also settle disputes among residents without favoring one side over another.
#5 Pet Problems
Over 85 million households in the U.S. have a pet, so it’s highly probable that your homeowners have pets, too. Although pet-friendly properties attract more homeowners, having too many pets in one neighborhood can result in additional problems, such as:
- Noise complaints are one of the most common complaints that HOAs have to deal with. When someone’s dog barks until midnight, this can cause tension among neighbors.
- Pet waste. There’s always that one neighbor that never cleans up after their dog. In this case, you should consider hiring a “pooper scooper” company.
Remember, many residents consider pets as part of their family. If you receive complaints regarding pets, you should remind them of their responsibilities as pet owners. The HOA management company may also intervene in this situation.
#6 Low Member Engagement
The HOA board acts on behalf of the homeowners. For the board to do this, the homeowners must voice out their concerns. This is why the board holds regular meetings.
Unfortunately, low member engagement is one of the common problems faced by HOAs. Members don’t see the need to attend assemblies. They’re either uninterested or have other things to attend to.
To encourage engagement, your HOA should try to be more tech-savvy. The truth is that homeowners want to be involved — you simply need to make it convenient for them. For instance, you could consider hosting virtual meetings instead of meeting in person.
#7 Guest and Service Truck Parking
Parking is one of the most common causes of neighborhood spats. This is especially true in condominium communities where parking spots are reserved for residents. If the HOA doesn’t provide alternative parking, guests may insist on parking in non-guest areas.
Similarly, service trucks (excluding mail services) may park in reserved parking spots. This can result in a dispute between the one who hired the service truck and the one who “owns” the parking spot. Homeowners that have commercial vehicles may also park in spots that aren’t theirs. To prevent this, it’s important to put up parking signs around the neighborhood.
When homeowners step up as board members, it’s implied that they’re ready to face the problems listed above. But since board members aren’t exactly “pros”, they’re bound to make mistakes. If your HOA board is having a hard time dealing with the many issues that come with HOA management, it may be time to hire an association manager.
Luxury Property Care is a full-service property management firm that offers association management in South Florida. We’ll help your HOA board handle the hard stuff.