Assembled from proactive volunteers, the board of directors is invested in the continued success of its community. Good intentions are important, but it is when those intentions are put into practice that really matters. In order to sustain good intentions, board members should look to core principles that help them execute the best version of themselves, as individuals and as a unit. This list of principles creates a board member code of conduct.
A solid code of conduct, also referred to as a code of ethics, will ensure that board members are familiar with board standards. Knowing and following a uniform code is essential to creating a more effective HOA.
Per the Community Associations Institute (CAI), a major responsibility for board members is “a commitment to fostering a climate of open discussion and debate, mutual respect, and tolerance between all who live in, work in, and visit our community.” This commitment nurtures an environment of respect and civility that board members can help cultivate. We encourage associations to consider a code and use our guidelines along with the CAI Civility Pledge as source material to create a code that works for their association.
So, what should an HOA Board Member code of conduct include?
Board members should understand that serving on the board is a time commitment. Factors such as work schedule and familial responsibilities should be taken into consideration for those wishing to serve their community. Individual accountability is vital to board membership and recognizing the commitment required allows for a more successful board, and association, overall.
What many board members lack in experience should be made up for in behavior. Treating homeowners, contractors, lawyers, and fellow board members with respect and professionalism, ensuring there is an open dialogue between board and association members, can go a long way in creating a unilaterally successful board. There needs to be unwavering civility despite any personal differences and cultivating a sense of mindfulness will help to resolve issues that may arise.
The code of conduct should make clear that any board member found guilty of discrimination of any kind against another board or HOA member will be removed from the board immediately. Fostering an open mind will help decrease prejudice and move toward a more inclusive atmosphere within the association.
Compliance with Governing Documents and Relevant Laws
This may seem to go without saying, but community members must be able to rely on their board members to abide by all of the rules and regulations associated with the HOA. While serving on the board, it’s vital that you become familiar with the HOA’s Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs), bylaws, and other pertinent documents.
Conflict of Interest
To avoid accusation of bias, if any board members have a conflict of interest with regard to the board’s decision, the code of conduct should direct them to excuse themselves from that vote.
Board business should be conducted only at scheduled meetings with all members present. It is inappropriate for board members to conduct HOA-related business outside board meetings, especially in an effort to omit other board members with differing opinions.
Board members should be bound by their code of conduct to maintain complete confidentiality of association matters such as board decisions or actions involving owner litigation.
Professional Contractor Services
When the board needs to hire outside professional services, the code of conduct should specify the procedure of selecting a contractor. This will make the process of obtaining bids, checking reviews, and voting as a board simple and consistent.
Communication and Engagement
As a board member, considering the voices of homeowners is important in fulfilling the role. Establish shared goals among the board and the entire association, which will in turn promote homeowner engagement. Additionally, sharing the code of conduct with homeowners will allow for visibility and accountability within the association.
Creating a solid code of conduct takes some work; however, ensuring that all members of the board perform their duties in a way that is in the best interest of the community is well worth the time and effort.
For HOA board members looking for assistance managing their HOA community, Spectrum Association Management can help. Our experienced HOA property managers and advanced technology make us one of the leading HOA management companies in Texas and Arizona. SpectrumAM strives to help our wonderful partners embody principles that promote decorum and mutual respect. Contact us today for more information and to see what makes us refreshingly different.