The Aurora Sentinel published a story yesterday entitled Know where to turn when you have HOA nightmares. The story chronicles the troubles of a handful of residents of an HOA in Aurora. The complaints range from allegations of unfair late fees to retaliatory board members to inconsistent enforcement of covenants. Management for the HOA responded that the Board of Directors is following the governing documents in a consistent manner and homeowners are invited to address the Board as long as it’s done respectfully.
Unfortunately, these dynamics play themselves out every day in HOAs across the country. But it doesn’t have to be that way! The one thing we know for sure is boards of directors and homeowners must work together to create vibrant, healthy, livable and harmonious communities. Here are examples of how this works:
Enforcement and Compliance with Governing Documents
Directors have the duty to enforce the governing documents of their association – which includes the collection of delinquent assessments and enforcing use restrictions. In order to fulfill this fiduciary duty, directors must understand the provisions of the documents and enforce them in a consistent and appropriate manner.
Homeowners have the duty to comply with the governing documents of the association. In order to do this, owners must be familiar with the governing documents and take steps to comply with them. If an owner doesn’t understand a particular use restriction or is having a difficult time paying assessments, it’s up to the owner to ask questions and work with the management or board to get the answers and find workable solutions.
Homeowners have a right to respectful, honest and fair treatment by the directors in their association. This includes the right to be heard and to provide input on issues that are significant to them and the community. Is also includes the right to not be personally attacked by directors.
Directors have a right to respectful and honest treatment by homeowners. This includes the right to not to be personally attacked by homeowners and not be subjected to the dissemination of misinformation throughout the community.
HOAs can and should be a great place to live. This is accomplished when everyone works together and avoids finger-pointing and anger.
Community Associations Institute has published Rights and Responsibilities for Better Communities which is an excellent and comprehensive guidepost for the role board members and homeowners must play to create great communities.