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Question: What are the possible repercussions when a board throws out a membership decision voted on at the Annual Meeting?

Answer: If member approval is required to do what you describe, the board must follow the dictates of the vote. If the vote was advisory only, the board could go a different direction but that clearly would invite well deserved challenge from the member majority who expressed their preference. Smart boards would not do such a thing.

Question: Our HOA is half sold and is being managed by the developer who charges us for it. The outside maintenance is terrible. The sprinkler system doesn’t work and weeds were out of control. Thoughts?

Answer: You need to review your governing documents to see if there is a deadline for the developer to turnover the HOA to a board of owners. There usually is a trigger based on number of units sold or a certain time that has passed, whichever comes first. If there is, you and other owners can demand turnover to the owners. Get an attorney to make the point if necessary. Once an owner board is in place, it can act on behalf of all owners.

If the developer is not yet required to turn over control, you are certainly within your rights to point out the developer’s management shortcomings. You’re paying for the service and failure to maintain the common area diminishes your property value.

Question: We have an upcoming election for directors and two of the candidates are not full time residents. They are from a troublemaker group and plan to participate in board meetings only by phone. Is there anything that the present board can do to prevent this from happening?

Answer: Candidates for the board are not required to be residents. And if all board meetings are handled by phone, no big deal. But if they are saying they won’t attend in-person meetings, this is a big deal and such information needs to be conveyed to the voters. As to what you can do about it…You can encourage and nominate others that are willing to fulfill the board job as intended. If the dissidents don’t get voted in to begin with, the rest of the board won’t have the challenges of dealing with them.

Question: We are nearing completion of our HOA website and getting ready to launch. The board intends to use email for meeting notices, dues notices and event reminders. Right now our governing documents state notices must be sent by US Mail. Is this going to pose a big issue? Also, should we get each member’s written consent to communicate via email?

Answer: Since a high percentage of citizens now regularly use email and it’s free, fast and efficient, many HOAs are now communicating that way. However, since your governing documents require use of mail, the members need to vote to approve a change. I suggest holding a special meeting including distribution of proxies to ensure a quorum to handle this issue as soon as possible.

Yes, you should get written approval from each member to use email. Some don’t have computers or rarely use them. Also, you should consult with an attorney about communicating certain kinds of information like rule violations, delinquency notices and legal notices solely by email. While it may be okay, it’s still a good idea to mail such notices as well.

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