A homeowners’ association (HOA) is a non-profit entity focused on maintaining, protecting, and enhancing a community and promoting harmony among its members. Living in an HOA can be rewarding, however, resident contributions and involvement can help improve community living for everyone.
Whether you’re new to association living or are a long-time HOA resident, here are a few things you can do to make your community even better.
1. Participate in and support community events.
Your HOA board of directors and other leaders are always working on ways to improve community engagement—and for good reason. It turns out that resident participation provides an array of community benefits, including:
- Increased pride and feeling of ownership in the neighborhood
- Opportunities to create bonds and friendships with neighbors
- Giving direct feedback and suggestions to board members
- Improved transparency into how HOA funds are being used
- Increased self-confidence and overall satisfaction with volunteering
There are several opportunities in an HOA for residents to participate. For example, you can attend the annual association meeting, open board meetings, and social functions to promote a sense of community. If you want to get even more involved, consider volunteering to join a committee or running for an open HOA board position!
2. Stay on top of HOA business.
To improve the community, it’s important to understand what’s happening in the association. Staying current on association affairs and board decisions can help you make more informed choices as a homeowner. Some ways to stay up-to-date on HOA business include:
- Reviewing your association’s governing documents. Every homeowner receives this packet of forms containing rules and regulations, responsibilities, and other important information you need to better support your community. If you’re unsure where to find your HOA governing documents, ask your community manager or board members.
- Reading association newsletters and website updates. You can get a ton of information from your HOA’s newsletter and websites regarding events, community improvements, upcoming projects, and more.
- Providing feedback. Participate in community surveys and offer suggestions on ways the board and committees can be more economically efficient.
- Educating yourself. Take advantage of educational sessions or other learning opportunities provided by the board. You might learn more about the reasoning of a proposed project, gain insight to valuable homeowner resources, or discover something new about your association.
3. Make your vote count.
Every HOA is led by a volunteer board of directors made up of association members elected by their peers. As a homeowner, you will be invited to attend a membership meeting to vote on association matters, including the election of board members. If you want to make a positive impact on your community and influence changes within the association, voting is a vital responsibility.
Typically, your association’s governing documents will outline voting rules, such as:
- How many votes each member has
- The length of board member terms
- The nomination and campaigning rules
- How votes are collected and counted
Choosing good leaders for your association is an excellent way to ensure you and your fellow residents are in good hands. Use this opportunity to voice your opinion and ultimately improve your community.
Not all board elections go as planned. Read HOA Board Elections: How to Get It Right to learn more about the HOA elections process.
4. Hold HOA board members accountable.
Don’t understand a new rule or need clarity on a recent board decision? As a good-standing member of a community association, you are well within your right to ask questions. Hold HOA leaders accountable and respect the laws and processes of your community by sharing your concerns and opinions through the right channels. Most HOA residents can:
- Contact your community manager. Your HOA’s management company is your liaison to the board of directors. If you believe the association is not abiding by the governing documents or that the board is not acting in the homeowners’ best interest, put your concerns in writing and forward them to the management company.
- Reach out to the board directly. For self-managed communities, contact the board directly to share your questions or concerns. Check your HOA’s website to see what method of communication is best and how you can expect a response.
- Consider other options. If serious concerns go unanswered, members have the option to file a legal claim against the association. However, this should always be a last resort. In most cases, concerns regarding the HOA can easily be solved by communication and education.
Holding your HOA board to high standards and letting them know when something is not quite up to par can help the board stay on track and prioritize homeowner needs.
5. Pay your HOA assessments.
While HOA fees might feel like a burden to some homeowners, knowing how these funds are used can help you understand their impact on your community. Your membership assessments go into the association’s budget, which is used to:
- Maintain common areas and landscaping
- Improve community amenities
- Enforce HOA rules and covenants
- Adequately insure the property and association
- Address safety or legal issues
- Host community events for residents
There’s so much more to know about assessments. Read our ebook, “Everything HOA Residents Need To Know About Assessments,” to learn more!
Paying your HOA assessment is necessary for the community’s success, as this is what directly contributes to the overall wellbeing of the people, structures, and amenities within it.
Getting to Know Your Homeowners’ Association
To improve their community, homeowners should first know the ins and outs of HOAs. Read our ebook, “A Beginner’s Guide to HOAs,” for expert guidance on association living. In it, you’ll learn what an HOA is, how it’s run, and what you can expect when living in one.