If you live in an HOA community, you might have become very involved in neighborhood issues. You could even be considering serving on the HOA board, or maybe you already are a board member. One of the biggest decisions to be made is whether to have an outside management company run the day-to-day or to self-manage. It would seem like there’s no harm in self-managing an HOA. After all, how hard could it be to balance a budget, keep residents happy, and organize events while enforcing rules and regulations?
What You Need To Know How To Self-Manage
It turns out, pretty hard to manage a community. Many self-managed HOAs experience a laundry list of issues as they strive to serve their residents and communities. While each community will want to decide for itself how to manage their HOA duties, here are some of the risks of self-managing your homeowner’s association rather than hiring a professional management specialist or company to do it.
Breaking Laws or Being Noncompliant
No HOA ever sets out to deliberately break laws or rules that govern how HOAs can behave. But unfortunately, many self-managed HOAs accidentally find themselves on the wrong side of the law simply as a result of ignorance. If you don’t know all of the rules, regulations, and codes that dictate what HOAs can and cannot do, you run the risk of breaking the law, and not even realizing it until it’s too late. This includes issues such as reporting rules, transparency, and other carefully regulated aspects of HOA management.
Hiring a dedicated HOA management professional can protect you against these compliance and legal issues.
Risk of Lawsuits
Not knowing exactly what your responsibilities, duties, and liabilities might be can have another consequence. It can leave you open to lawsuits. Many self-managed HOAs have found that they’ve inadvertently acted inappropriately, despite the best intentions. This has resulted in countless lawsuits from residents or other individuals in or near the community, and the residents are often successful.
So if you don’t want to endure the stress of a long, drawn-out lawsuit and the financial implications it might bring, consider hiring an HOA manager. The added cost will be well-worth the protections you receive against legal action in the future.
Let’s face it—not everyone on an HOA board will have experience running an organization. Even with the time commitment and energy required, you might find that your HOA board simply lacks the expertise to execute effectively on all matters. This can lead to inefficient operations, plus a whole other list of problems. Budgeting might be less than satisfactory, or you may find yourself with a lack of volunteers.
Sometimes time can become an issue—volunteer HOA board members must also split time with their lives, families, and careers. That tension can sometimes lead to HOA duties falling by the wayside, leaving the community exposed to problems.
Risk of Self-Serving Policies
When every member of the board has a vested interest in the community for your own sake, there can sometimes be conflicts of interest. While many board members will make decisions based on the good of the entire community, others may not be so altruistic. HOA board members might be tempted to impose policies or ideas that serve their own agendas over what’s right for the community as a whole. When these issues are confronted, tensions can quickly develop. And when the members of a self-managed board are all neighbors, that tension can very easily spill over into the community.
No One to Mediate Disputes
Conflict is always going to be an aspect of the HOA-resident relationship. By design, the HOA exists in part to enforce rules that might not be heeded by the community members. And sometimes residents aren’t always willing to comply, even after light prodding. Without a dedicated HOA manager who is a third-party without a connection to the community, there’s no mediating presence in these conflicts to ensure that both parties are satisfied.
This impartial third-party can be a very powerful tool when it comes to mediating any disputes that arise. You’ll be grateful that you don’t end up caught in the middle of a difficult discussion.
Lacking Dedicated Point of Contact
Without a professional HOA manager, you might find yourself spread a bit thin when it comes to resident requests, questions and contact. You could find yourself fielding calls at all hours of the night, trying to keep residents happy while also trying to manage your own life.
A dedicated HOA manager can provide a single, unified source for your residents to get information. Any complaints, requests or other matters can be filtered directly through this point of contact. That will spare you the stress of handle it all yourselves.
Handling the management of your HOA can be a time-consuming, difficult, and sometimes risky process. By hiring a dedicated HOA manager, you can insulate yourself against that risk and enjoy your community more than you might otherwise.