For those of you who follow our blog, you know that last spring I posted a series of blog entries outlining the Traits of Highly Effective HOA Directors. This popular series focused on those traits of HOA directors that contribute to the successful governance and operations of the associations they serve.
As I reflect back on all of the feedback and conversations that sprang from this series of blog entries, it became clear to me that directors governing effectively is only one piece of the puzzle in building vibrant and livable associations. Owners and residents of HOAs play an equally important role in ensuring that their communities are well-maintained and are a great place to live. As a result, this series of blog entries will focus upon the traits of happy and effective HOA residents.
Trait #1: Happy and effective HOA residents understand that they must be familiar with and comply with the governing documents of their HOA.
Residents of HOAs are legally obligated to comply with the governing documents of their association. These governing documents typically include the:
● Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (in condominium associations, this document might simply be called the Condominium Declaration.);
● Responsible Governance Policies (commonly referred to as “SB 100 Policies”);
● Architectural Guidelines (sometimes called “Design Guidelines”); and
● Rules and Regulations
It is important for every owner or resident of an HOA to become familiar with these governing documents, to understand their rights and obligations under the documents and to comply with them. Residents also must understand that the board of directors of their HOA has a fiduciary duty to comply with and enforce the governing documents. As a result, voluntary compliance with the documents saves everyone involved a lot of time, money, anger and even heartache.
Unfortunately, from time to time, we run across individuals who understand there are governing documents they are required to comply with and have absolutely no intention to comply with them. These folks are a nightmare for the board and management of an HOA to deal with. They also inevitably run up the cost of legal fees for the associations they live in, because they leave the management and board with no other choice than to take legal action to compel their compliance.
If you are contemplating buying a home in an HOA and do not believe the association has the right to place any restrictions on the use of your home or the common areas – please do not purchase a home in an HOA! You have a legal obligation to comply with the governing documents and fighting with the HOA over your perceived rights will become a nightmare for you and the HOA. The bottom line is some people should never live in an HOA. Just sayin’ . . .
Stay tuned to this blog for more traits of happy and effective HOA residents.