Being an HOA board member is a great way to serve your neighbors and actively participate in your community. A proactive, attentive board is a valuable asset to the association.
The responsibilities of HOA board members are divided into two areas, what they owe each other and what they owe the members of the community.
Let's explore the responsibilities of their positions first.
The President is captain of the ship. The position requires equal amounts of delegation, ambassadorship, negotiator, and leadership. The primary duties are:
- Preside over all board meetings
- Approve and sign contracts on behalf of the membership
- Establish committees and committee chairs
- Oversee the day-to-day administration of the board, usually with a management company
- Be the spokesperson for the HOA board and membership
The Vice-President stands in for the president when he or she cannot be present at meetings. The VP will also head up important committees for the board, such as architectural changes, landscaping, or other big-ticket items.
The primary role of the VP is to be prepared to step up for the president at a moment's notice. The VP must be knowledgeable about all issues facing the board.
The Secretary is the custodian of records for the HOA. At board meetings, the secretary, or somebody they have appointed, must take notes and record votes. As custodian of records, the secretary has to ensure the files are safe and accessible to all board members at any time.
The Treasurer is responsible for:
- Being the custodian of the funds
- Producing accurate and up-to-date financial records at meetings
- Presenting a treasurer's report at meetings
- Preparing and submitting an annual budget
- Submitting an annual report on the financial health of the association
- Establishing and maintaining healthy financial reserves
- Working with the management company on daily expenditures and records
The Responsibilities Of The Board To The Membership
The HOA board is the representation of the members of the association. As a group, they have obligations to fulfill on behalf of the members.
- Comply with state law and the association bylaws and CC&Rs. The association has to ensure all of their actions are in compliance with state law and the bylaws of the association. All members should have a basic knowledge of the regulations and have easy access to them. The association ensures compliance with anti-discrimination laws and the Americans With Disabilities Act.
- Maintain the common areas. Associations are responsible for exteriors, landscaping, and maintaining common facilities such as pools, gyms and common rooms. There should be regular inspections of the property, scheduled repairs, and routine maintenance performed on all common areas.
- The collection of dues, assessments, and establish budgets. An annual budget should be prepared and voted on by the association. The HOA must assess the members for their dues and proactively pursue people who do not pay. The association should also establish reserve funds for emergencies, for major upcoming repairs, and to handle shortfalls in monthly revenue.
- The HOA needs to uniformly and fairly enforce their rules. This should be as informal as possible and proceed to more formal warnings and fines if the resident does not comply. The goal is to get compliance from, and not punish, a resident.
- Take emergency action when necessary. The board needs to have the power to take emergency actions such as entering empty apartments, shutting off utilities, or removing cars. The board should also be prepared to make those decisions individually if required. You cannot expect to hold a board meeting to approve emergency actions.
- Maintain and provide access to records. Anybody in the membership has a right to have proper and reasonable access to the HOA documents. There should be a policy and procedure for granting access.
- Establish and maintain a fair, equitable, and regular voting cycle for board membership. This process is usually spelled out in the original documents of the HOA, but the board makes sure the elections are handled regularly and fairly. This includes a regular board meeting schedule. Depending on your state, an annual meeting may be required. Even if it is not, it is always a good idea to have one.
- A responsibility to exercise prudent judgment with expert advice. This is sometimes called the Good Judgement Rule. It simply says the board will act in representation of the membership and not act out of personal interest. This responsibility includes hiring proper professionals to assist the board; including, accountants, attorneys, buying insurance, hiring a management company or any other professional service the board feels is necessary.
These responsibilities may seem like an overwhelming amount of work, but when delegated it is entirely manageable. Thousands of HOA boards operate successfully every year, and yours can also, as long as the board works as a team. A board with the mindset of serving their association will have a fruitful and impactful year.