Joining your HOA board is a great way to take more responsibility. However, many new HOA board members will make mistakes, ranging from minor to serious. The board itself often runs into errors, especially in areas such as rule enforcement. Here are some of the most common HOA board mistakes and some things you can do.
Each year many owners want their beautification efforts to extend beyond their private yards. Without a gardening policy for common areas, an HOA is likely to experience one of two undesirable outcomes. The HOA board has to take on the time-consuming task of approving plantings on a case-by-case basis. Since there's no policy, the board runs the risk that owners will complain decisions are arbitrary. The other possibility in the absence of a policy is owners will plant whatever they desire in common areas. Then disputes arise among neighbors. What one owner considers beautiful is seen as an eyesore by another. Clearly, every HOA needs a gardening policy for common areas.
Considerations for Your Policy
An HOA may choose to ban owners from planting in common areas. While that is a legitimate option, each HOA has to decide if an outright prohibition is consistent with the environment it's trying to cultivate in its community. A ban may send an unintended message that this is just a place to live rather than a community.
To give your owners adequate guidance, the gardening policy needs to be explicit on what can or cannot be planted in common areas. The HOA may decide on a few general guidelines such as:
- Forbidding the planting of trees, shrubs, or edible plants
- Only allowing plants that grow to a certain height
- Restricting plantings to annuals
- The community will remove plants that aren't being cared for
- The community removes all plants at the end of the growing season
However, the HOA may want extremely specific regulations to maintain the look of the community. For instance, a gardening policy may list permitted annuals and perennials. Some policies indicate what color plants are allowed.
All policies should include a section on enforcement. A common way to enforce violations is to fine the homeowner for what it costs the HOA to repair the damage his or her policy violation has caused. Being specific can avoid future misunderstandings and complaints of arbitrary enforcement. For example, if a homeowner will be fined for the replacement of the entire weed barrier for breaking it by planting in a prohibited area, the policy should say so.
Building a social committee for your HOA is a great way to increase interaction among members. From garage sales to book clubs, such a committee can plan and promote a variety of social events. Establishing the committee is serious work, however, and before the fun comes committee structure and assignments. If you're planning a social committee for your HOA, here are a few tips to get you started:
The value buyers and residents place on luxury amenities are shifting as people seek conveniences that help make their lives easier. One precious commodity for everyone these days is time. Luxury amenities that save residents time are well worth the investment for developers, association boards, and buyers. Let's take a closer look at some of the hottest luxury community trends shaping the 2019 market:
Active seniors and retirees have different needs from those of the younger generation, which suggests that the environment they live in should be in line with their requirements. Active-adult communities are an ideal residential option for most seniors because of the convenience they offer.
Active adult communities are developing creative ways to keep residents happy and healthy by maximizing the use of onsite pools. The buoyancy of the water provides a low-impact way for residents to exercise and to relax. Whether your community has an indoor pool, an outdoor pool, or both, stepping up use of the pool creates fun for everyone.
No one likes having their ability to host guests limited by an authority. Especially when they own their home and feel they should have full control over who comes and goes. It's understood that rental homes need every adult resident on the lease as a matter of legal accountability. However, most people don't realize that HOA communities also have some very good reasons to write a guest policy limiting some guest activities of community residents.
Home Owners Associations have always been in an interesting situation when it comes to parking management. While it may be obvious that every residence gets at least one reserved parking space, what about the extra spaces that every condo building or neighborhood has left over. For a condo association, extra spaces might be prized locations in the parking garage or lot. For a neighborhood, extra spaces are street parking and shared lots.
When it comes to outdoor decorating for the holidays, not everyone has the same taste. An HOA yard display of seasonal decorations may appear tasteful to one member and tacky to another. HOA community managers and board members often find neighborhood-wide decorations based upon a unified theme helpful in controlling this issue. A unified theme based upon each holiday allows for individual creations that compliment the community and showcases member creativity. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Moving to a new home is often a stressful experience. Learning to meet new people, and in the case of an HOA, learning new rules can easily overwhelm anyone. When the new neighbor is renting, welcoming them is just as important as if they had purchased the home. Renters can become invested members of an HOA when they are made to feel welcomed, kept informed, and included within their new community. Here are several ways to assure your new renters are happy with their decision: