HOA 101: Understanding the Role of the Vice President
A critical part of any homeowners’ association (HOA), the board of directors ensures community guidelines are followed, the neighborhood is maintained, and improvements are funded and supported. In short, the HOA board is there to better the community on behalf of its residents.
These boards are typically composed of four distinct officer positions: president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. If you’re considering running for a position on the board, the role of vice-president is versatile, rewarding, and pivotal to the board’s success. Here’s what you need to know about the job of an HOA VP.
What Does the Board Vice President Do?
The HOA vice president is second-in-command to the president, so this person will have some parallels and similar duties. In fact, it’s crucial that vice presidents familiarize themselves with the president’s role and be prepared to step in. On occasion, they may need to act in their place when the president is unavailable.
However, VPs also have responsibilities unique to the role that no other board members fulfill. Depending on your community, some of these duties may include:
- Presiding over meetings, signing contracts, and other presidential duties when the president is absent
- Ensuring the president’s directions are implemented and followed through
- Heading committees and liaising between the board
- Communicating between the board and the management company
- Speaking to community vendors on behalf of the HOA
- Completing tasks delegated by the president
Why Is the Vice President Important?
The HOA vice president is so much more than simply an assistant to the president. Although part of the VP’s responsibility is to support the president, the vice president plays a vital part in running an effective HOA. While the president presides over meetings, the VP must ensure these meetings run smoothly and communication between attendees is productive.
Also, the vice president’s role is one of balance and flexibility. This person must have strong leadership skills while building trust and connections with neighborhood residents, management representatives, and vendors. The VP often leads committees, bridging the gap between HOA board leadership and the voice of the community.
How Do You Become an HOA Vice President?
To become a homeowners’ association vice president, you first must run for the HOA board. After being elected as a general board member, the other members of the board will appoint the officers based on their internal votes—not a membership vote.
Although the president and vice president positions are closely linked and both have integral leadership duties, they are completely separate during the nomination and voting process. Candidates for these positions do not campaign together. They receive votes individually rather than as a unit. However, it’s always important to look at your association’s governing documents to confirm the elections guidelines specific to you.
What Makes a Good Vice President?
Because the responsibilities of an HOA vice president revolve around supporting the president, this person needs many of the same qualities that make a good leader. Therefore, a solid board vice president is expected to have the following traits.
A good vice president must be dependable and somebody that can be trusted to get the job done. If the president is unavailable, the VP must be able to seamlessly step in and take over any projects already in the works without hesitation. That requires a level of leadership, reliability, and knowledge of overall HOA goals.
Vice presidents must be flexible and know the job of the president in case they need to temporarily assume that role. They’ll also need to carry out specific tasks delegated by the president. That may involve heading committees, mediating disagreements, or enforcing certain rules.
3. Effective Communication
Good communication skills are key to the success of a vice president. Much of the job involves coordination with other people and listening to what community members have to say. You’ll need to speak to other board members, vendors, and residents to clearly share recommendations, concerns, and instructions for efficient HOA management.
4. Ability to Delegate
When vice presidents take over for the president, part of their duties will include delegating to other board members. The VP should know how to effectively manage projects, assign responsibilities, and lean on teammates. They should be able to empower other board members and trust their strengths in completing duties.
5. Mediation Skills
HOA meetings can sometimes get heated, especially when residents don’t agree. There may be ongoing disputes between residents who are looking to you for answers, too. In these circumstances, it’s essential that the vice president can keep calm, look at the situation objectively, and make unbiased decisions based on the good of the community.
In the case of the vice president, nothing is more important than having a good working relationship with the president, who is relying on you to serve as their proxy, if necessary. However, VPs also need to know their fellow board members, what motivates them, and how best to work together.
Understanding Other Board Roles
Each officer plays a vital role in the operation of the association, and understanding each key player is essential to the success of the community. To learn more about the HOA board secretary, read our previous post, “HOA 101: Understanding the Role of the Board Secretary.”