Having a great board of directors for an HOA or condo association is vitally important to an association's success. Responsible for governing the association's budget and needs, members who are willing to serve and to work together is invaluable: just how long they serve is a matter for discussion. Are term limits good or bad for association board members? Is it better to bring in new ideas or is it better to keep those with experience. Several states have specific laws regarding term limits and whether they are allowed. Not all states have laws regarding this so when in doubt, consult your state's laws regarding associations and boards. Here's an easy guide to understanding the pros and cons of board member term limits:
Pros of Term Limits
- Term limits enforce turnover and reduce chances of dictatorship. While board members may mean well, term limits are a legitimate reason for a difficult member to step down.
- Term limits allow more association members to have an opportunity to serve. In fact, serving a term may be more appealing knowing there is a definite time required for the board position.
Cons of Term Limits
- Finding association members willing to serve is no easy task. Term limits set associations up for vacancies that must be filled. Even if a member is willing to serve, it doesn't mean they are the right fit for the board. Once elected, the member may find being a board member too time-consuming and resign. Having board turnover is disruptive to the oversight and running of the association.
- Losing board members with institutional knowledge about the association is a big con of term limits. Long-serving board members bring an invaluable knowledge about the association to the table that new members must learn. Experts say that it takes one full term to become fully acclimated as a board member.
Term limits may not even be an issue of preference, but an issue of legality. Several states have specific laws requiring term limits and whether they are allowed. Florida, for example, has recently updated their condominium laws with a new provision. The provision mandates term limits for board members, setting two-year terms, and members may not exceed serving four, two-year consecutive terms. An association's bylaws play a factor in determining some state laws, and several states do list exceptions. Remember, not all states have laws regarding this so when in doubt; consult your state law regarding associations and boards.
Board members who have served a long time have most likely done so because they enjoy their role. Having to step down due to term limits can be disappointing as they are still willing to serve. At the same time, introducing new ideas and perspectives is important to prevent the board from becoming stagnant.
Consider these options for finding a proper balance:
- If possible, research having different term limits for the president and the officers. Perhaps longer terms for officers and shorter terms for the president, ensuring a change in leadership every few years.
- Stagger term limits with three board members up for election every two years and two board members up every three years. This method rotates experience and new members without too much turnover and interruption.
The key factor to any HOA or condo association board is finding those who are willing to serve. Before deciding upon term limits, review your association's bylaws and research state law. Every association is different and it is important to do what is right for your membership moving forward. For more information regarding HOA or condo association boards and term limits, contact us today. Our professional and experienced staff will help you navigate the pros and cons of this important decision.