When you purchase a home that involves a homeowner’s association, did you know that you have a legal and financial responsibility to the community?  HOAs essentially function like a co-op where everyone joins in sharing the common spaces and amenities, as well as to share equally in the cost to maintain those amenities.  Therefore, you have a voice, as well as share in the liability that might be imposed upon it.

A Board is elected to manage these concerns, to represent the interests of all homeowners, and to act as the calming voice of reason.  It’s a hefty position with tons of responsibility.  Board members volunteer their time and are expected to act as stewards for the association.  No matter what their private opinion or personal biases are, homeowner association members should expect them to:

• Act in a fair and consistent manner

• Refrain from voting on issues or making decisions that present a conflict of interest

• Maintain confidentiality and integrity

• Treat homeowners and other Board members with respect during discussions and throughout any dispute resolution

Expectations from an HOA manager

To offset the tremendous burden of liability and the time to process all the business functions imposed upon a Board, HOAs are contracting with third-party management services.  This new mindset sees the benefit of using a professional manager as a shield from liability, but also as a tool that allows the Board to focus more energy toward their community’s culture, rather than hide behind the enormous task of administration.

However, the Board should not let their HOA management company establish any rules or regulations.  That is not their scope of practice.  Or, should they allow them to independently run your community.  Instead, a third party provides a service to manage your community through the Board.  A manager’s role is to implement the guidelines set forth by the governing documents.   Their services should ensure that the HOA is governed in accordance with state and national laws that protect homeowners and their property.

How should an HOA manager help the Board?

The manager should be the Board’s closest and most trusted business relationship.  They are there to provide a service and operate within the intentions of the agreement that was signed.  They should always work to protect property values.  They do this by implementing resources such as:

• Ensuring the common areas are maintained in accordance with the Board’s direction

• Ensuring the association’s liability exposure is low

• Ensuring that the account manager who is working with the Board is the right fit

• Helping to engage neighbors and build a sense of community

• Provide ongoing mentoring, resources, and assistance to the Board

Understanding roles                                      

HOA Boards and management companies have two completely different roles.  Managers provide a service to better facilitate an association’s operation, and a Board provides the necessary leadership to their membership.  By clarifying responsibilities and understanding roles, residents can address their concerns with the appropriate party and avoid confusion about how each party supports the other.

Looking for a professional HOA manager? 

MGM Association Management has been serving Idaho for over two decades and has locations in Meridian, Twin Falls, and Idaho Falls.  They are an active member of the Community Association Institute, national advocacy and legislative organization that provides guidance and oversight to over 340,000 members and 64 chapters across the world.  MGM is a strong advocate that HOAs belong to the people who live there.  Their service style embraces the belief that engaged neighbors result in a more thriving community and produce higher home values.

For more information, contact MGM at (208) 846-9189 or visit www.gomgm.com.