As the year comes to a close, Condo/HOA boards need to assess which issues are going to face their organizations in the upcoming year. The Condo/HOA boards that plan well will be able to avoid many common pitfalls that disorganized associations will face. When trying to pinpoint what the top pressing issues will be for Condo/HOA boards in the year to come, consider the information below:
Election Law Procedures
Many states have begun to create legislation about how HOA boards must conduct their elections. The objective behind many of these new policies is to enable new candidates to run even when an association is well-established with strong relationships within the community. Condo/HOA boards should carefully review the new legislative policies that are coming into effect in the upcoming year. This way, board member election policies can be modified and in compliance with any legislation change.
Common Area Maintenance Issues
Homeowners Associations have been scrutinized about how they are utilizing funding in the past. One such example is how common areas are maintained and whether the association is maintaining them as often as they should. Homeowners Association must be careful to maintain their common areas as frequently as is needed. If residents are injured and can show negligence on behalf of the HOA due to incorrectly utilized funds, then the association may be subject to a lawsuit. The boards are advised to assess how often they are inspecting common areas and to draft a schedule of inspection and repairs for the upcoming year. By doing so, the boards will protect themselves from legal issues.
Issues Related to Whether Electronic Votes Can Be Accepted
Due to the advances in technology, electronic voting has become possible for the board members that perhaps rotate their residency from different cities each year. Electronic voting is something that is becoming more common across the country. HOAs need to invest in the right technology to conduct electronic voting that is fair for their elections or meetings. Each state has different regulations on these practices, and associations need to be aware of their state’s particular laws to avoid any potential disputes with members of their communities if the election results are not satisfactory to participating community members.
Shift to Virtual Meetings
Another aspect of technology that has greatly developed in recent years is the shift from in-person meetings to virtual meetings. Virtual meetings are heavily regulated for the board members in some states. Some states do not permit board members to vote when they are virtually listening to a meeting. Be sure to make these regulations clear and in compliance with your HOA board’s policies. If community members find out that these rules were not followed, they may be able to bring a lawsuit against your HOA. The key is to constantly be reviewing how these technology regulations are shifting and to make sure your association board is always in compliance with the changing rules.
Risks Associated with Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity for HOAs has become a hot issue that will continue to evolve in the upcoming year. HOAs often do not want to invest in cybersecurity issues since the technology required is costly to invest in and complicated to integrate. What HOA boards need to realize is that it is vital to set aside capital to invest in the proper cybersecurity for their organizations. The reason for this is that HOAs have access to personal information. If the personal information becomes exposed, residents will be angry and also may have ground to bring a lawsuit. If an HOA can show that they invested in the proper technology to protect private information from hackers, then it will be useful if a dispute should arise with residents.
Navigating the Workforce Housing Shortage
Another concerning for the year to come is how state governments are dealing with housing shortages for workers who cannot afford to house. There have been some reports of requiring certain units within communities to be accessible to a lower salary bracket or a portion of community parking facilities. While this area of law is new, it is something HOA boards should follow closely as it has the potential to cause conflicts with their existing community members.
Allocation of Member Dues
Each year, HOA boards need to evaluate how they are spending dues paid to them by community members and assess whether the money is going to the right places. HOA boards should shift their policies towards promoting transparency with community members. In an era where HOAs are viewed as a nuisance by many prospective buyers, HOAs have to work extra hard to show their value and how they are using funds ethically. HOA boards must present a united and transparent front to their residents for success in the upcoming year.
Review of HOA Rules
At the beginning of the year, HOA boards are advised to review policies and assess whether they need new policies to improve practices in the new year. HOA boards should also eliminate rules and policies that may no longer be relevant to the best interests of their communities. HOA boards should let their community members know which rules they intend to shift ideally before the end of December so that residents have ample time to make any required modifications. HOA boards that are organized about their implementation of new regulations will provide a higher quality of life to their residents, which will result in a higher opinion of their HOA board in the community as a whole.
How Clark Simson Miller Can Help
Clark Simson Miller is a professional organization that provides remote management, financial services, accounting, and support to community associations and managing partners of all sizes within the United States. Our direct association services enable HOAs to provide better services to their residents.