One of the great things about living in a community is the opportunity to get involved and attend Homeowner Association meetings. Attending meetings allows residents to ensure that they have a voice and understand what is going on with their community, but for some, attending meetings isn’t always easy.
A Florida State Senator is hoping to make it a state law that Homeowner Association meetings must be held somewhere anyone can attend. The new bill is a result of complaints by some who have struggled to attend HOA meetings due to physical disabilities. Bill 1450 would require that all homeowner association meetings be held in areas that are handicap accessible.
When it comes to community living, it’s important for HOAs and property managers to understand that resident interests need to be taken into account. A community only thrives as a result of the residents living in it. Allowing and encouraging volunteer participation brings a different perspective to meetings and ensures that the needs of residents don’t get swept under the rug. Whether your board is made up of only volunteers, only professionals or both, it is essential to keep in mind that the interests of the residents are just as important, if not more, than the interests of the board. For tips on how to recruit volunteers to your HOA board, click here.
Stay tuned for more information concerning Bill 1450 and homeowner association meetings.
We are happy to announce that PeytonBolin, PL has been named a Community Association Service Provider (CASP) Designated Member by Florida Community Association Professionals (FCAP) (http://fcaponline NULL.net/). The CASP designation is offered by FCAP, LLC. for organizations that offer products and services to the community association industry.
We recently went through the strenuous vendor program to become a CASP Designated Member, the highest level of recognition for vendors who offer services to the community association industry in Florida. As a part of the requirements for the professional designation, members of PeytonBolin recently attended advanced training through Florida CAM Schools in Orlando. We also agreed to conduct business according to the CASP code of ethics and underwent a business risk analysis of our organization, among other things.
“There has been a need for a statewide organization that offers services to the community association industry,” said Lisa Whitson, Director of FCAP. “We feel that FCAP and the vendor program we offer meets that need offering statewide training and networking for those in the community association industry. We are pleased that PeytonBolin is a part of this new offering for Floridians who are tasked with the responsibility of managing the communities in which they live. Board members and managers can now choose to do business with vendors who are trained in how community associations operate and how they are governed here in Florida.”
PeytonBolin, PL is a Florida-based law firm focused on the practice of Community Association Law, providing legal services to associations and individual owners. Partnering with condominium and homeowner associations throughout Florida, PeytonBolin PL provides collections services, covenant enforcement, and guidance to boards to successfully manage their community affairs. Representation for both associations and individuals encompasses the key areas of insurance, construction, contract disputes and debt collection. To learn more about PeytonBolin, visit www.PeytonBolin.com.
If you’re a part of a homeowner association, you’ve probably had a conversation concerning the need for volunteers. Many times, it is based on size, but that isn’t always the deciding factor. Some large communities are successful without a manager, while some small communities have professionals aiding them.
If you’re not sure whether your association is better off run by a professional manager or volunteers, the following tips will help you decide.
Hire a professional if:
- Residents don’t have time or don’t want to volunteer
- Residents don’t have the necessary skills
- A management company can receive better rates from contractors or service providers like insurance companies
- Your HOA is responsible for managing many building systems, properties and amenities.
- Your community has complex systems and/or amenities which require technical expertise
Use volunteers if:
- You don’t have the money to hire a professional manager
- Residents are willing and able to commit and take on required responsibilities.
- Homeowners are skilled in finance, operations, public relations, law, construction, and project management,
If your HOA doesn’t fit perfectly into either of these categories, you may want to take the middle ground and use a mix of professionals and volunteers. The overall goal of a Homeowner Association is to ensure solid property values, and this may only be achieved through a mix of volunteers and professionals. Splitting responsibilities helps ensure that you’re getting necessary work done efficiently and at a lower cost than if the board was run fully by professionals. Figure out what roles volunteers can take on and use professionals for the ones that require more technical skills and knowledge.
Volunteers can be an important part of any Homeowner Association, but they can sometimes be hard to recruit. While they aren’t always easy to find, they are an important part of an HOA because they bring a different perspective to the table. You may know what’s right from the business point of view, but the resident point of view can be quite different, and you want a happy medium between the two. Management AND residents should be happy, and though it can sometimes be difficult to find the perfect arrangement, having voices for both sides of the spectrum can help.
- Advertise the need for volunteers: You may not have volunteers because your residents don’t know that you need them. Send out an email or notice that the HOA has a shortage of volunteers and explain the potential consequences of this shortage. Many people would love to be involved, but don’t know that they can be or don’t know how to go about the process.
- Make board responsibilities clear: If residents don’t know what the board accomplishes and the processes they take to do it, they aren’t going to want to join. Make it clear that the board is responsible for making decisions that will affect residents.
- Remember that your volunteers have lives: Don’t plan board meetings for in the middle of the day while volunteers are at work. Make sure meetings are run professionally and with an agenda, so that you aren’t all sitting for hours on ends without any progress. Residents may want to be a part of meetings, but if you make it difficult for them, they may not always be able to participate.
- Acknowledge their participation: It’s important to take volunteer participation seriously. Listen to what volunteers have to say. Their opinion is just as important as that of other members and they will bring a new perspective you may not have thought about. Recognize the effort involved in volunteering for an association board and make volunteers feel appreciated.
- Socialize the membership: People are more likely to volunteer if they know their neighbors. Hold social events that are promoted by the association so that volunteers have a chance to get to know the people they are representing.
- Use their skills: Do not just give volunteers mindless tasks. Use them to their potential. If they are volunteering, then they want to help. Give them real responsibilities and they will be more likely to take it seriously.
- Offer 1-time volunteer opportunities: Some people want to get involved, but just do not have the time to be a full volunteer. Offer opportunities for residents to volunteer for just one project or part-time.
Association volunteers are an important part of any HOA board, so it’s important to recruit them properly and treat them as an invaluable member of the team. Make sure all residents know how important the role of an association volunteer is and make it clear how they can become one. Your board and the community will both benefit from resident volunteers so make an effort to recruit them.
An article titled “Managing the Business of Your Association” written by our very own Jane Bolin, founding partner of PeytonBolin, PL, was featured in the KW Property Management & Consulting Newsletter!
Click here (http://sp1 NULL.actemarketing NULL.com/CampResource/5L15C6GHIDO4NV9S/2/text NULL.pdf) to read the full article or check out an excerpt below:
Managing the Business of Your Association- A Basic Overview
Traditionally, individuals who agree to serve on the Board of Directors for their association, whether as a result of their passion for their community or at the persuasion of others, rarely view their service for what it is – a collective effort on the part of three to seven individuals to manage a business with annual revenues between fifty thousand and three million dollars. Being that an association is a business, this article is being written to provide board members, current and prospective, with a solid foundation for understanding the fundamentals of running this type of corporation.
Let’s begin with the basics. The association is incorporated in the state of Florida as a not-for-profit business, therefore, the articles of incorporation have been filed as a legal document with the state, and they outline the business structure of the community. How the business of the association should be run, or in other words, how the association board conducts business, is normally outlined in the bylaws. The bylaws are often found as an exhibit to the Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions. Most bylaws contain quorum requirements, meeting notice provisions, and election information, however; it is important to note that Florida Statutes may control in these areas rendering the bylaws moot, and the opinion of any attorney may be necessary to protect the Board of Directors and the association.
The contract that governs everyone who purchases in the community, and often times their guests and invitees, is the Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions sometimes known as “CCR’s” or the “Dec.” The declaration contains the rights and restrictions that run with the land meaning that these rights and restrictions are applicable to all owners regardless of how they acquired the property. Often times, the declaration will include pet restrictions, screening provisions, sale approval provisions, and architectural restrictions among others.
A good starting point as a member of the Board of Directors is to verify that you have a recorded copy of the declaration and any amendments to the declaration. The copy you were provided at closing or by a friendly neighbor may or may not be the recorded copy. Why does recordation matter? Only recorded covenants and restrictions are enforceable. You can locate your recorded declaration in the public records of the county in which you purchased the property, or by contacting the public records office or clerk of court.
It is from the enforceable covenants and restrictions that the association is granted the ability to craft rules and regulations of the community. It is important to note that the rules and regulations are not recorded, and can change from time to time or from board to board. The rules and regulations are clarifications of the rights and restrictions. For example, the declaration may have a two pet provision but nothing about where the owner may walk the animals. The rules and regulations can provide this guidance.
Beyond the articles, bylaws, declaration, and rules, there are Florida statutes that mandate and limit the association’s authority. Additionally, Florida administrative code 61-B, arbitration decisions, and case law provide guidance in the day-to-day matters that the board manages in a community association.
Now this all may seem like a lot of information, and indeed, it is. There is a reason most associations hire competent managers and lawyers. The landscape is vast. But the most important thing to remember is that the board is running a business. Don’t approach board memberships like a social activity or simply a volunteer position.
Start with the foundation. Figure out what governs your association by locating the documents that are specific to your community, and then turn your attention to running the business of your association.