Why Board Training is Important
HOA board members are valuable community volunteers with a very important job. As homeowners with various educational and employment backgrounds, it is critical that volunteer board members are trained and educated properly before they make decisions on behalf of the community.
Without this training, even the most well-meaning board member can unintentionally cause trouble for their association that can be both costly and damaging. Let’s take a closer look at the roles of HOA board members and how they can best prepare for their duties.
Do Board Members Need Special Qualifications?
Any HOA member can qualify to serve on their association’s board of directors. While there are no specific laws that establish requirements for service, a few valuable qualities that contribute to a successful board member include:
Education – Although a college degree is not required, it is preferred that board members have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Background in management, organization, finances, or communication can also be very beneficial.
Honesty & Reliability – Board members have a fiduciary duty to the association, and it’s critical that. as they serve, the decisions they make are with the HOA’s best interest in mind. Because they are unpaid, they must also be self-motivated and dependable.
Communication – Board efficiency depends largely on communication. Day-to-day operations, financial transactions, vendor, and homeowner relationships all hinge on board members’ interpersonal skills.
Are Board Members Personally Liable?
Potential lawsuits are a concern for even the most well-intentioned HOA board. Some state laws, as well as most HOA governing documents, protect volunteer board members from being held personally liable in the event of a lawsuit.
Additionally, the Business Judgment Rule grants board members immunity from personal liability with proof that their actions were done within their scope of authority and in good faith. However, this rule holds no validity if it is found that the board member acted fraudulently or in his or her own interest.
Actions to Avoid
There can often be a steep learning curve when it comes to serving on an HOA board, especially for untrained members. The biggest mistake board members can make is to assume their role without preparation or education on important aspects of their assigned duties.
New board members can avoid costly and time-consuming mistakes by simply relying on and making use of available educational resources. These may include previous board members’ experiences, online resources, and free educational offerings from services like attorneys, accountants, engineers, and other industry professionals.
Finally, a good HOA management company can be an invaluable resource in guiding and developing board members as they work to create successful, efficient communities. When you partner with a reputable HOA management company, such as SpectrumAM, you can count on your community manager to provide the professional guidance board members need to successfully serve their communities.