Roles Within Your Association
Roles of Board Member Officers
Congratulations, you’ve just been elected to serve as an officer within your HOA Board! Volunteering to serve your time in the community where you live can be an exciting and overwhelming experience. When accepting an officer position, it’s essential to know that you are taking on a lot of responsibility, which can be extremely fulfilling to serve your community. Use CAMS as your guide to breaking down the various roles and duties of each officer within the Board.
The duties of each officer depend on the person’s title. What brings them all together is their obligation to make decisions and actions in good faith for the best interest of the community. Here is an overview of the different responsibilities of each HOA officer. For specific information about your HOA’s officer requirements and powers, see your Associations by-laws.
The association President serves as the CEO of the community, taking on very similar responsibilities and powers. Most of the time, HOA Presidents are expected to preside at all Board meetings and execute orders, contracts, and documents in the name of the association. The President is also in charge of the association’s day-to-day administration and makes sure all duties are carried out. The President is the spokesman for the Board in most matters. They can also be removed at any time with or without cause from the officers by majority vote.
Get additional information from CAI about Board President.
If the HOA President must be absent for any reason, the Vice-President is tasked with taking on all powers assigned to the President. The Vice-President only possesses these powers in the absence of the President.
The Secretary’s responsibilities include keeping and maintaining all Board meetings, membership, and official HOA records. It is important to note that the Secretary is more than a clerk for the association; they also file corporate annual reports and act as custodians of the records. Legal documents executed on behalf of other HOA often need the President’s signature and to be attested by the Secretary.
The Treasurer’s duties include acting as the HOA’s custodian of securities, funds, and financial records. All reports and financial records are the responsibility of the Treasurer. They also coordinate how the proposed annual budget will be developed and the preparation of the annual financial report on the HOA’s financial status. They cannot bind the HOA or directors in deals with third parties unless given authority. Preparation of monthly financial reports and many financial transactions, such as collecting assessments and paying the association’s expenses are often assigned to a professional management company; however, the Treasurer and Board retain the responsibility.
Roles of the Board of Directors
Board members are elected by the membership within an association, and this typically occurs at the annual membership meeting. Board member term lengths are determined by the association’s bylaws and usually run anywhere from one to three years and may be re-elected if the bylaws allow.
The main goals of the Board of Directors are to:
- Maintain the common elements of the community
- Ensure compliance with governing documents
- Conduct the business of the association
While property owners are responsible for the maintenance of their individual property, the Association’s Board of Directors is responsible for the maintenance of common areas such as private streets, entrance signage, and amenities such as a clubhouse, pool, playground, or fitness center. Common areas are maintained by developing and enforcing rules for the use of the amenities, repairing and re-paving streets, entering into a contract with a vendor, and addressing other issues as they arise.
Ensuring compliance with governing documents is another component of successful association management. Board members have an obligation to be familiar with not only their association’s governing documents but also with local, state, and federal statutes as they pertain to association management and community governance. The requirements held within an association’s governing documents should always be clearly communicated to the association’s members.
Some tips for ensuring that communication is handled appropriately are:
- Inform new residents of the existence of governing documents – personally meet with them to verify they have received copies of the documents and answer any questions they may have
- Encourage owner participation in a compliance committee so the Board doesn’t have to shoulder the entire responsibility
- Use due process when rules are violated by implementing a Compliance Policy and Process:
- Courtesy Notice
- 1st Notice
- 2nd Notice
For further information on ensuring compliance with your Association’s governing documents, please see the articles below:
Guidelines for Creating Community-Friendly Association Rules
Yet another function of the Board is managing the Association’s finances. Financial Management includes collecting assessments, paying the Association’s expenses, and a myriad of other possible tasks.
Those who are tasked with managing the Association’s finances may be responsible for some or all of the following:
- Financial Planning
- Disclosing financial information to Association members
- Establishing financial policies
- Record Keeping
For more information on managing your Board’s finances as well as conducting other Association business, consider the following resources:
Property Taxes and Homeowner Associations
- Your primary role should be to protect and enhance the value of your community.
- As directors and officers of a non-profit corporation, you have a legal fiduciary duty. Your actions and liability as a board member are generally protected by governing documents or state statutes governing non-profit corporations based on the duty of care, the duty of loyalty, and acting in good faith. The board should also be protected with director’s and officer’s insurance.
- The Board should adopt and adhere to a written Code of Conduct.
- The board must comply with federal, state, and local laws and ensure that the association’s governing documents are followed in a fair and consistent manner.
- Board members have no individual authority separate from the board and should not make any commitments on behalf of the board. Sensitive communications with other board members should be done by phone since emails may be introduced by the discovery in case of a lawsuit.
- Know the basics of parliamentary procedure; participate with etiquette and support the chair.
- The board president does vote on motions unless there is a conflict of interest. In at least one state, Florida, the president must vote and is considered to have voted in the affirmative unless he or she votes against the motion or specifically abstains.
- Communication with members is key. Do not govern in secrecy except when executive sessions are required. Treat residents with the same respect that you would expect. Provide residents with an opportunity to address the board. This is usually done in a resident’s forum at the beginning of some or all board meetings.
- The board should not become ‘condo commandos’ by overly aggressive enforcement or fining practices. There are first-time infractions that usually result from a resident’s lack of knowledge and misunderstanding. There are minor issues, major issues, and safety issues. There are repeat offenders. There are few that commit blatant rule violations, challenge the authority of the board, and stir up disharmony in the community. The challenge for the board is finding the right governing balance that includes objectivity, fairness, consistency, diplomacy, tolerance, and measured response.
- Always work to recruit new volunteers that have the time and skills to serve on the board and on committees. The board should also have an orientation or training plan in place for new members.
Duties of the Management Company
Much like hiring a professional contractor for household maintenance items, a professional management company is an integral part of ensuring that your Association is in good working order. There are several key components of any Association that can be made better by hiring the right management company.
The management company assists in:
- Financial planning and accounting
- Common area maintenance
- Project management and governing document compliance
…just to name a few, and they have connections with area specialists to make sure your Association receives the top-notch service it deserves.
Here are some of the service obligations a professional management company will have to your Association.
- Lead preparation of annual budget
- Send annual letter to membership with budget
- Prepare, review, and analyze monthly financial reports
- Ensure maintenance and availability of accurate accounting records
- Collect assessments and fees as appropriate
- Coordinate the collections process for past due assessments and fees including
- Sending reminders
- Sending notices
- Implementing lien process as necessary
- Coordinate approval process and payment of all expenses
- Track purchases
- Handle all correspondence regarding financial transactions
- Provide records to assist in the preparation of annual state and federal tax returns
- Coordinate filing of all legally required financial statements and returns.
- Maintain accurate homeowner records and updating homeowner information as necessary.
- Confer freely and fully with the Board of Directors in connection with the performance of their duties
- Assist in the efficiency and effectiveness of Board meetings with agenda preparation and attendance of manager
- Assist the Board in complying with the North Carolina Non-Profit Corporation Act (55A), Condominium Act (47C) or the Planned Community Act (47F)
- Assist the Officers of the Association in maintaining records of the Association
- Attend four Board meetings per year for two hours (begin prior to 6:00 p.m.) Review all invoices and properly code for inclusion into correct spending category
- Attend one annual membership meeting and prepare materials, supplies, necessary proxies and other information needed for a successful meeting.
- Produce periodic variance reports to inform the Board of material variances to budget
- Recommend and acquire insurance policies as required by governing documents
- Negotiate all maintenance and service contracts necessary to support the community
- Assist with preparation and distribution of letters/bulletins to conduct association business
- Maintain relationships to facilitate the hiring of attorneys, accountants and other experts required
- Assist Board/Committees in the interpreting and enforcement of the governing documents
Conduct property inspections every two weeks
Arrange for maintenance and repair of the limited common elements, common elements and other maintenance and repairs as required by the associations governing documents
- Issue work orders
- Track work order performance and completion
Review vendor performance and ensure contract compliance
- Provide quality feedback to vendors
- Ensure association receives value for expenditures
Assist in the enforcement of the Rules and Regulations of the Association
- Send violation correspondence and track historical information
- Assure compliance with Condominium Act or Planned Community Act
Maintain staff for live answers to homeowner phone calls
Answer homeowner questions on:
- Billing and account information
- Work order status
- General questions about the community association
- Association communications such as bulletins, mailings, and newsletters
Follow-up on collections issues and concerns
Process individual mailing and group mailing pieces
- Assess and file insurance claims
- Act as association witness in legal proceedings
- Assist CPA in annual audits and taxes
Interview, hire and oversee personnel, if required or requested, on behalf of the association to work on-site.
Roles of the Community Manager
As we discussed in the Duties of Management Company section, the purpose of the management company is to ensure that your Association is in good working order and functioning as smoothly as possible.
Your individual community manager is tasked with making sure this objective is carried out on a daily basis. Your community manager is your point of contact within the management company for anything and everything related to your Association according to the specifics of your contract.
The community manager is responsible for your Association’s general administrative tasks, making sure standard area maintenance is kept up with and that you have access to the best contractors for the best price possible, and managing the financial aspects of and insurance policies for your Association.
- Update the association database with key information
- Attend board meetings
- Review policies and make recommendations for policies regarding
- Common area rules
- Governing document compliance
- Amenity operations
- Facilitate completion of action items
- Intimate knowledge of common areas and working closely with service providers to ensure all common areas are:
- Well maintained
- Properly insured
- Routinely visit the association property for inspections
- Ensure service contracts are appropriate, competitive, and performed according to specifications
- Ensure services are performed within budget
- Inform the Board of forecasted budget overruns and provide options to deal with variances
- Implement an effective preventative maintenance schedule.
- Understand the association’s financial position
- Provide monthly financial reports to the Board
- Monitor budget and forecast income and expenses
- Explain positive and negative variances of actual vs. budget expenses and provide suggestions on how to deal with cost overruns.
- Approve invoices for payment
- Follow the association’s collection policy
- Ensure year-end financial reports are obtained from tax professionals as approved by the Board.
- Ensure the Board seeks and obtains insight and feedback from insurance professionals
- Assist in obtaining viable insurance bids, preparing the applications and presenting options to the Board
- Compliance with governing document insurance requirements.
- Document insurable assets of the association.
Roles of Committees in Associations
One key to the success of any association is the formation of committees. Through committees, work can be specialized so that essential tasks are able to be accomplished more efficiently versus depending on the Board of Directors to handle all issues that may arise.
Committees are comprised of non-board association members. Committee participation allows for new ideas and a broader sampling of community opinions; the greater number of association members who actively participate in committees decreases the workload for each individual and, thus, the likelihood that association members will get burnt out with community decision-making.
Typically, each committee will have a Board Member liaison, and each committee will have a chairperson who reports the committee’s activity to the Board. Written reports regarding committee activity are often circulated to Board Members alongside the agenda and are more expeditious than verbal reports given during meetings.
Though the authority over the association remains with the board, committees are very helpful in creating community activities and providing feedback and recommendations to the Board.
Two types of committees that may be formed in an association
1. Standing Committees
Responsible for performing ongoing tasks such as handling financial matters, social activities, and maintaining facilities.
2. Ad-hoc Committees
Are formed for specific purposes and periods of time. Some of these purposes may include nominating Board Members or providing an in-depth study of a community issue.
It is essential to be sure that your association’s insurance covers volunteers and to recognize those volunteers – everyone wants to feel appreciated!
Selling Your Home?
If you are preparing to sell your home, make sure you get all the association details that you will need to complete your real estate transaction.
To simplify the process, Spaces Management has partnered with HomeWise Docs to offer an effective process for ordering and delivering all of the information needed to complete a transaction, including resale disclosures, statements of accounts, lender-required documents, and other closing documents required for your community.
Please refer your Realtor, Lender, or Closing Attorney to the Service Providers section of our website to use the HomeWise Docs links for all document requests for communities managed by Spaces. Creating an account is easy, and they can start utilizing the system immediately. HomeWise representatives are also available to help with any questions they may have by calling 1-866-925-5004.
Helpful HomeWise Documents
Get Help 1-866-925-5004
Did You Know?
Most neighbors say their association plays a vital role in preserving the value and integrity of their individual investments.