The Day-to-Day Politics of Serving on an HOA Board

While there are many aspects of serving your community, the position of a board member is an inherently political one simply because you’re constantly trying to create community cohesion and buy-in for your policy changes.

Today, we’ll cover the various ways politics intersects with serving on an HOA’s board of directors.


Positions and Duties

An HOA’s board is made up of many positions, and it’s important to understand each roles’ set of duties and tasks because that will affect how you work politically with your fellow board members as well as your community members.

These are the roles commonly found on an HOA’s board and their associated tasks:

  • President: The leader and management company’s primary contact. The president calls meetings to order and makes sure business is handled in an orderly manner.
  • Vice President: The president’s substitute. While there are few hard and fast tasks associated with an association’s vice president, members of this office can still be highly effective if they look for gaps in service and fill them.
  • Treasurer: The overseer of the association’s finances. Whether it’s developing the association’s budget or heading the Finance Committee, the treasurer handles the financial operations of the association.
  • Secretary: As the workhorse of the association’s board, the secretary has many official tasks. These include:
    • Setting the agenda
    • Recording the meeting minutes and sending them to the membership
    • Ensuring that quorum is met
    • Verifying compliance with state laws and governing documents.
    • Keeping track of certain documents, like the corporate seal, resolutions, and bank documents.

While each board member’s specific duties will vary from association to association, understanding your duties will also affect how you interact with the members of your community as you seek to create change and resolve conflict.

Resolving Conflict

At the nexus of all politics is working together to find solutions to everyday problems that everyone can be reasonably happy with.

To leverage conflict into opportunities for creating trust, follow these steps:

  • Acknowledge the person’s feelings and concerns. A simple, “I hear you and see you,” can go a long way to validating someone’s perspective and will help bring the real issues out into the open.
  • Even if you’re not sorry for what you did, you can apologize for misunderstanding a portion of their perspective or for their frustration or anger.
  • Actively listen to their position. A good rule of thumb to follow is to repeat what they said and how they appear to be feeling back to them and ask for clarification.
  • Consider long-term solutions and the long-term effects of accepting the individual’s offered solution. Good questions to ask include, “What will it cost the HOA to make this person happy?” and “What’s the long-term value of their suggestion to the community as a whole?” These questions will help you decide how to proceed.
  • Communicate the problem’s resolution quickly. Letting them know you took them seriously through action will help build long-term trust in the association’s leadership.

While you can’t completely escape the negative connotations regarding politics and its influence on the HOA’s day-to-day affairs, working with each other and other board members to create meaningful conversations and creating solid relationships.

Reduce the Likelihood of Conflict

Running an HOA effectively requires working proactively to reduce the chance of conflicts arising between your board members and membership.

To help reduce the likelihood of conflict, we recommend you follow these steps:

  • Be sure to follow your state’s statutes and your governing documents. Following all guidelines is the easiest way to avoid conflict.
  • Work to include as many perspectives when you’re first brainstorming solutions. Encouraging discussion will help you find solutions for concerns and will help your initiative reach a higher level of acceptance.

No individual has all the answers, but when thinking of ways to avoid conflict, following the above suggestions will go a long way to leading a peaceful and productive HOA.


While the human component of working in an HOA will always be the most complex part of your volunteer service we hope we’ve given you a solid blueprint to follow for navigating the twists and turns of politics in an HOA. To receive even more guidance, consider signing up for our blog today!
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