What Hat Are You Wearing at HOA Board Meetings?
If you ask folks why they ran for a position on the board of directors of their homeowners’ association (“HOA”), you would probably get a variety of answers. Many individuals will tell you they ran for the board because they are committed to ensuring their community is well-run, well-maintained and a great place to live. Some might tell you they are on the board because they couldn’t find anyone else to volunteer. Others ran for a seat because they are angry about how the association is being run or governed. Their anger might be focused on parking issues, covenant enforcement issues or concerns about raising assessments.
There is no right or wrong reason for choosing to serve on the board of your HOA. However, it’s essential for directors to understand that once they are on the board they owe, among other things, a duty of loyalty to the HOA. That means they must take off their homeowner’s hat and put on their board hat. They must put aside their personal interests and agendas and act in the best interests of the association.
Directors should feel empowered to address other board members who are acting in furtherance of their own agendas to the detriment of the association. This can be accomplished through a private conversation or at a meeting by constructively addressing their inappropriate conduct. If acting in a self-serving manner continues to be problematic, boards should consider adopting a Code of Conduct for Directors. In addition, boards may want to ask legal counsel to present a workshop on governance with a focus on the fiduciary duty of directors.