Should Volunteer Board Members Enforce HOA Rules?

Living in an Idaho homeowner’s association has become common occurrence, because of our current pandemic, it is expected that more out-of-state homeowners will move into our community.  Their beliefs and ignorance will challenge our values, as well as the Board members who are tasked to enforce an association’s rules. 

With new State regulations, which provide greater protections for homeowners, all Board members should become familiar with the duties and powers given to them within the association’s governing documents. These documents are registered through the State of Idaho and legally bind all property owners within an association.  They are or should be the road map upon which a Board enforces their rules.  Moreover, a Board member’s personal agenda or zealousness doesn’t favor an HOA in a court of law.

The governing documents give the HOA and the acting Board, the duty to enforce their rules.  HOAs are given power to impose fines on homeowners and can also levy additional assessments for unforeseen maintenance or community property that has been damaged. The HOA might also have the power to impose property liens on members who don’t abide by the rules.  However, an enforcement-heavy Board may actually do more harm to their community’s culture than good. Overwhelming research shows a higher correlation to adherence to the rules when homeowners feel a part of their association. 

Why subject a group of volunteer Board members to be put in uncomfortable situations to confront neighbors who violate their rules?  Shouldn’t Board members be advocates of community engagement, rather than charged with division and punishment?  Alternatively, a third-party service can be better at mitigating confrontations, and allow a Board to effectively keep their culture intact.  A manager’s function is to have best practices in place and to act as a liaison between a homeowner and a Board.  Furthermore, a manager is unbiased and may be able to foresee issues or better guide the HOA from further risks or liabilities. 

According to Mike Madson, who has run MGM Association Management for the past 21 years, “I have seen many Board members get elected to their HOA’s Board, only to enforce a rule that personally involves them.  Once they get their way, they fail to understand that there are certain procedures to governing an association.  Many Board members lack the necessary skills to negotiate conflict or cannot handle addressing varying viewpoints. It is essential that Board members positively interact with their membership and nurture their association’s culture.”

For more information on how to correctly enforce HOA rules or how to apply HOA best practices, contact MGM Association Management at (208) 846-9189 or visit