Policies the HOA Board Should Consider
Policies help set the tone for how an association is run. From pets to towing to how conflicts of interest are handled, HOA policies are the guidestones for daily association operations and management. So, what policies should HOA boards consider to ensure their association runs effectively and efficiently?
Rules and Policies: What’s the Difference?
Associations are governed by rules and policies; they both address common issues, but in different ways. Rules can be found in the Bylaws, Rules and Regulations, General Resolutions, or CC&Rs in the association’s governing documents. They establish expected behaviors and limitations of HOA members and are usually enforceable by fines or legal proceedings.
HOA policies give definition to community processes and standards, such as money collection, property maintenance, and conflict resolution. They also define which parties are responsible in certain situations. Policies should never contradict what is stated in the association’s governing documents.
Policies to Consider
The quantity and variety of policies will vary between associations, but the following are just a few of importance that boards should consider to help reinforce the value the association provides to each member:
- Pet Policy – Whether they own animals or not, all homeowners will benefit from a clear, consistent policy regarding pets, including how many and which types are allowed.
- Towing – Parking can easily become an issue, especially for guests visiting community members. Consider adding signs to emphasize a clear policy for visitors.
- Email – State legislature often dictates what email policies organizations need to have in place. These policies can help protect the HOA from costly legal liability.
- Social Media – Because it is so widely used, it’s important for HOAs to have a social media policy in place that establishes acceptable user behavior.
- Complaints – A consistent complaint policy will give members a clear understanding of the process by which they are to submit their grievances to the board.
- Enforcement – When a resident violates a rule or regulation, this policy will establish the process by which those violations will be enforced and penalized.
- Assessment Collection – This policy should detail the process of collecting homeowner dues, as well as what members can expect to happen should they fail to pay.
- Dispute Resolution – Because disputes are bound to arise, it’s imperative to have a clear process to which community members can refer as they navigate their mediation.
- Conflict of Interest – If a board member has a conflict of interest regarding an upcoming discussion or vote, this policy will direct them to excuse themselves from those proceedings.
- Committee Standards & Procedures – HOA committees need clear direction in the form of a policy establishing their roles and responsibilities, processes, and to whom they should report as they fulfill their assignments.
- Equal Opportunity – Although HOAs are governed by the Fair Housing Act, it is still a good idea to have an equal opportunity policy in place, further preventing the board from rejecting potential members based on race, religion, gender, or disability.
- Drones – Although often overlooked, the popularity of drones has prompted many HOAs to adopt policies regarding their use to protect the privacy of community members.
The role of establishing clear, consistent HOA policies in building and maintaining a successful community can’t be overlooked! Not only is the board responsible for developing numerous important policies, they are also tasked with implementing and enforcing them. This is where a good management company can help.
Spectrum Association Management can provide helpful insights into how best to implement your policies to meet all your community’s needs. We have offices conveniently located in Arizona and throughout Texas.