HOA board members in Tacoma, Washington, and beyond have a very difficult job. They have to run every aspect of their community’s day-to-day operations, finances, rule enforcement, and more, all as a volunteer donating their time to the community. Board members aren’t employed — they’re simply residents of the HOA that have volunteered and been elected as board members who run the very communities they live in. As such, not all board members know how to handle the many complex aspects of community association management. That’s why it’s so crucial to properly train your board members in all things HOA management.
1. Proper handling of funds
Board members are responsible for the association’s finances, which can be a massive responsibility. From planning the annual budget to recording transactions and preparing reports, the financial aspect of community management is a full-time job in and of itself. It requires accuracy, timeliness, and precise organization. If your board fails to adequately handle the community’s finances, it could have devastating consequences such as shortage or bankruptcy. Inexperienced or untrained board members put your community association at risk for large financial penalties and upset homeowners, so it’s always best to make sure that your board members have thorough training in the financial aspects of community association management.
2. Improved communication
Good communication is imperative for every community association. Without it, the community cannot function effectively. In order to ensure that communication flows well amongst your board members and between the board and residents, set out clear methods of communication and plans for notice dissemination, and make sure your board is familiar with these protocols. A breakdown in communication could result in fighting between board members, upset homeowners, unknowingly broken rules, and general frustration all around.
3. Effective conflict resolution
It’s inevitable that conflicts will arise within a community association. Each neighborhood is made up of diverse residents with differing viewpoints and opinions on a range of topics, and conflicts between homeowners or between a homeowner and the HOA will need to be resolved at one point or another. If conflicts are left unresolved and escalate, they can lead to personal attacks, physical violence, or lawsuits. In order to peacefully resolve disputes, board members should receive adequate training in best practices for conflict resolution.
4. Liability avoidance
By definition, community associations deal with a polarizing mix of local laws and resident livelihoods. This combination can, unfortunately, open associations up to legal liability somewhat frequently if the HOA isn’t careful. Board members need to be extremely familiar with federal, state, and local laws, so they can write and implement their own rules and guidelines in accordance with those regulations. They also need to unfailingly act in the best interest of the community, or the HOA becomes vulnerable to a lawsuit claiming breach of fiduciary duty. In order to avoid any legal ramifications, board members should be thoroughly trained in all legal matters surrounding community associations and their daily operations. Your community association management firm can also provide legal guidance to board members and notify the HOA as local laws evolve.
It’s understandable why board training falls to the wayside and isn’t a priority for many communities; as volunteers, your residents have a lot going on in their day-to-day lives and may not have enough time for the many responsibilities of a board member, including attending training sessions. Luckily, community association management firms such as The Management Trust can offer board education courses while simultaneously taking on many of the responsibilities normally left to your board members so that they have more time to focus on training and look at the community’s big picture. Whether you need assistance with daily operations, financial planning, legal guidance, or board training, The Management Trust is here for you and whatever your community association needs to thrive. For more information about our full range of HOA management services, call The Management Trust at (253) 472-0825 or fill out our online contact form today.