I don’t typically make New Year’s resolutions because I believe that if something needs to be fixed, it should be fixed at that time – not on an arbitrary date. However, many folks do like their resolutions, and I’ve heard several resolutions from my clients.
We resolve to adopt our policies. The responsible governance policies mandated by Senate Bills 100 and 89 have been required for nearly a decade! Adopt your policies, already!
We resolve to audit our insurance. Some communities carry insurance policies that differ from the policies required by their governing documents, and only realize the error when something breaks. Check out your insurance policies. Understand what they mean, what they cover, and what they do not cover. Shop around, and talk to insurance providers who specialize in HOA insurance. A little diligence today will help you be a better Board member, and can protect your community from exposure.
We resolve to play fair. Community association governance is not about who or what is right and wrong. Take care that you don’t become entrenched on one side or the other, because emotional attachment can make hard decisions more difficult. Good governance requires fairness and diplomacy. Of course, that does not mean the homeowner is always right, but it’s important to focus on the community aspect, and to make decisions that are in the best interests of the community.
We resolve to make our annual deadlines. Make sure your community is registered with DORA and in good standing with the Secretary of State. Make your annual disclosures within 90 days after the end of your fiscal year. If applicable, send out your budget information with plenty of time to ensure owners have the ability to attend the meeting, should they desire. Simple actions like these can help associations avoid accusations of improper secrecy and back-room dealings.
We resolve to get our records in order. When boards turn over, owners sell their properties, or strife in the community results in bad feelings between board members, records get lost. Later, when an owner makes a records request, the association has to scramble to try to find documents it may not even have. Keep a central repository for all records, and make sure they are backed up. Electronic records are easy to locate and distribute, don’t take up a lot of space, and don’t (usually) disappear when a board member moves to Boca.
Good governance doesn’t require a resolution. It requires a little diligence and planning, but the goal result – a harmonious community – is well-worth the time spent.