As we continue on our journey to examine traits which make HOA residents happy, productive and reasonable members of their communities – let’s recap the first two traits we have examined:
When we delved into Trait #2, I mentioned that it’s not uncommon for residents of HOAs to react negatively to board decisions which affect their wallets and pocketbooks. Let’s face it – that’s just human nature. Trait #3 dovetails into this common reaction and calls on HOA residents to be realistic about the finances and obligations of their HOAs.
Trait #3: Happy and effective HOA residents understand that money doesn’t grow on trees.
Nobody living in an HOA wants to see an assessment increase or the dreaded special assessment. However, most folks also want to ensure that their HOAs are being properly maintained and services are being provided in a timely and effective manner.
Happy and effective residents of HOAs understand that the money to maintain their communities and provide services doesn’t grow on trees. Instead, they understand the primary source of revenue in associations comes from assessments – which are commonly known as dues. These folks also understand the costs of maintaining their associations and providing services will inevitably change and increase. As a result, the assessments they pay also have to increase. Finally, happy and effective residents understand that the boards which govern their associations have a duty to maintain their community and provide services as required in the governing documents. As a result, these residents anticipate and budget for an increase in their assessments.
On a final note, anyone who works in the community association industry has experienced instances where residents of HOAs make a huge stink about even small assessment increases. When boards buckle under this pressure, HOAs are inevitably set up for a rough fiscal road. Many times the boards of these associations don’t have the funds to cover normal operating expenses and begin deferring maintenance and cutting services they are required to provide under the governing documents. Eventually, tough financial decisions have to be made in these associations which typically will include a special assessment. Happy and effective residents understand that it’s generally preferable to accept small incremental assessment increases rather than to set their fellow residents up for a large special assessment.