As a board member, you strive to make the choices that protect your community and create a neighborhood that homeowners are proud to be a part of. You follow your obligations to complete your duties in good faith and with due care, and you act in the best interests of the association.
To assist you in making the right decisions for your association even when faced with ambiguous situations, we’re going to cover tips for responding to potential conflicts of interest.
Defining Conflict of Interest
A conflict of interest occurs when a board member may benefit financially from a decision made or action taken in their role as a representative of the HOA. A conflict of interest also occurs if a board member’s close relation may benefit financially from the board member’s action or decision.
Simple examples would include a board member hiring their spouse’s or daughter’s pool maintenance company to take care of the community’s pool, waiving HOA fines or violations for their father, or accepting gift cards from the association’s vendors for personal use.
Responding to a Conflict of Interest
When faced with a potential conflict of interest, board members must be transparent. These tips can help:
- Communicate the potential conflict of interest with the other board members. The rest of the board can vote on whether the conflict of interest is real or not.
- Recuse yourself from voting if you believe you have a conflict of interest.
- Research thoroughly before making decisions for the HOA, and document that research as evidence that decisions were made based on facts.
- Keep clear notes for board actions and votes in the meeting minutes.
- Educate new board members about what conflicts of interest are and how to avoid them.
- Ask your community manager for guidance on potential conflicts of interest.
By keeping the HOA’s best interests in mind and being transparent with the rest of the board and the association, you can avoid any potential conflicts of interest. Thoughtful, open decision-making is just one more example of how a unified board of directors is a great asset to its community!