Part of being an effective leader of a homeowners’ association (HOA) is maintaining transparency with homeowners. By being transparent, you’re keeping residents—constituents who help fund HOA operations—informed of what’s happening within the community and the board that leads it. Board decisions affect both the association at large and individual owners, so it’s necessary to be communicative and responsive when people have questions or concerns about the goings-on of the community.
By providing feedback and support, you’re ensuring that issues are resolved in a timely fashion and residents have the knowledge they need to thrive in their day-to-day. Here are six easy ways to ramp up your board’s communication efforts and keep homeowners in the know.
1. Hire a community management company.
While serving on the board can be rewarding, it’s a significant commitment that comes with a lot of responsibility. To ease the burden and minimize stress, many boards hire professional management companies. These companies act as an extra set of hands, helping board members successfully fulfill their roles, complete requirements, and assist with duties. This includes resolving member disputes, sending meeting notices, answering homeowner questions, and much more.
2. Adopt approval policies for routine requests.
The rules and regulations of an association are outlined in the governing documents. Some changes to a home, such as an updated exterior paint color, may require approval from the board of directors. Creating a policy that walks a community manager through the approval process makes them more empowered to manage the request independently and provide a timely response to homeowners. In your policy, make sure to include the conditions of an approval, the process by which a request should be handled, and any necessary steps a resident must take after an approval is granted.
3. Hold consistent board meetings.
The frequency requirements for board meetings vary by community and governing documents. However, this is when the board can get together to discuss residents’ concerns and questions. Try to set a monthly board meeting and promote attendance by nailing down a regular schedule of dates and times. By holding regular meetings where you discuss homeowner requests, you’re demonstrating efforts to find a solution and providing timely communication either at the meeting or following it.
4. Encourage residents to attend—and speak out in—meetings.
Remind homeowners that they'll have an opportunity to speak in your meeting notices. Make sure that each person who wishes to address the board can do so—and hear them out with an open mind. When people feel heard, they recognize their value as a community member. An inclusive atmosphere at your board meeting not only drives participation, but also encourages involvement long-term within the HOA.
5. Make sure to reply quickly.
Community leaders and managers should be accessible and respond quickly to homeowner inquiries and requests. It might take some time to resolve a situation or answer a specific question, but best practice is to immediately email the homeowner and let them know that you’ve received their communication and are looking into the matter. If possible, include an approximate date when you’ll be able to provide additional information.
6. Establish and maintain a digital presence.
Whether through a community association website or a digital newsletter, provide updates for everything that happens—or will happen—within the community: upcoming maintenance projects, tips for preparing for a winter storm, or a story about a random act of kindness. Posting regularly will help keep residents informed and build trust in the board. Engage further by using social media as an active extension of your established site.
Improve the Homeowner Experience
While increased communication can go a long way in connecting with the community, a poorly run HOA may create discontent among homeowners. Residents in an HOA expect a certain standard of living, and it’s the board’s responsibility to meet that. Read our article, “5 Easy Ways Boards Can Improve the Homeowner Experience,” to learn how to foster a positive homeowner experience.