Effective Ways to Improve Your HOA’s ARC (Architectural Review Committee) Process
An architectural review is an important feature of a homeowners association. This system allows the Board to approve or reject renovations in your community. This process can become tedious and ineffective if not implemented appropriately.
Homeowners who submit renovation requests are usually on particular timelines. Renovations and renovation planning require contractors, labor, and materials. This means your ARC needs to respond quickly to homeowner requests. This also means that the governing documents, which chart the rules and guidelines, must be accessible to all homeowners. Furthermore, the ARC must be consistent and fair in its decision making, following governing documents.
Below Grant Property Management outlines some important considerations to implement or improve an architectural review process and committee for your south Florida HOA. Once you’re familiar with the steps, reach out to learn how we can help your HOA.
WHAT IS AN ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW?
An architectural review board is an integral part of a homeowners association. This is a committee that reviews the requests for structural modifications to a home or yard that are submitted by homeowners. The ARC must give final approval before renovation can begin.
During a typical architectural review, the committee assess homeowner submissions for proposed property renovations. The committee audits the proposal against the HOA governing documents and accepts or rejects the proposed changes. The decision often includes commentary or feedback.
To facilitate this process, the governing documents should be accessible to all residents and serve as a reference for residents during renovation planning phases.
DEVELOP A MISSION STATEMENT
Homeowners must be informed of the ARC and the policies and procedures for this system to work. Furthermore, they will understand the ARC’s overall function.
The first step for the architectural review committee board should be to develop a clear mission statement.
Then, inform your homeowners. Explain the purpose of the committee and why it is important. Delineate how the process works. Express that each resident must adhere to the policies for the aforementioned reasons.
HOA ARC’s must operate with a clearly defined mission statement and further, keep the homeowners well informed of regulations and processes.
Now that residents understand the HOA ARC and its function, they are more likely to adhere to the policies. This way the entire process will be less stressful for everybody involved.
MAKE IT SIMPLE
If you want to ensure all residents will follow architectural review protocol you must keep the process simple.
Assure that all the information on renovations or structural changes, especially policies and restrictions, are clearly stated in the HOA governing documents.
Always direct homeowners with renovation inquiries to gather detailed descriptions from the governing documents. In this way, every resident is privy to the same information.
In addition to governing documents as guidance, homeowners should be directed to a quick step-by-step guide for the ARC request process.
In this guide, the committee can outline clear, easy-to-follow directions from start to finish, according to the process of your HOA ARC. Be sure to include common questions, issues, or other caveats that are noteworthy.
Another way to make the process simple is to use clear language. Be sure that governing documents and step-by-step guides are written in layman’s terms. Remove legal or technical jargon. As Associa says, ‘If your papers contain complicated language that requires a dictionary or lawyer to understand, then you’re doing your association a disservice.’
A final option to simplify is to update your forms. Make sure governing documents and other essential forms are accessible digitally and as print outs. Ensure that the instructions are clear on ARC specific documents.
Make the process simple, and residents will abide by the rules.
Remember that consistency is important in the ARC’s approval or rejection of requests. If both the committee and the homeowners are following the same clearly stated policies and restrictions there will be no discrepancy among ARC rulings. This eliminates bias and renders decisions fair. Thus, averting potential legal repercussions.
The ARC is likely to constantly be processing and ruling on submissions. Help homeowners help themselves by being proactive.
Make question submission forms or links readily available. Use an easy to navigate website to make this even more simple!
Check that answers to common questions are available online.
Set time regulations for how long the ARC can deliberate after receiving a submission.
Choose a system or platform to receive questions and communicate with homeowners.
Regularly brainstorm ways to make the ARC process more simple and effective for your HOA. Everyone involved will appreciate it.
Share previous requests along with their rulings. If they were approved, point out why. If they were not approved, point out why not.
Show images, provide samples, and links to the accurate materials, vendors, or other approved options. Just remove any identifying information like names or specific address numbers.
IMPROVE YOUR HOA ARC PROCESS WITH GPM
Continuously work with your residents to develop a review process that meets the needs of your community. Offer residents clear guidelines, steps, and a simple process. Then, residents and the committee adhere to the outlined policies. And, you’ll alleviate stress and legal ramifications along the way.
For further insight, contact us at Grant Property Management. Our service in the south Florida property management industry has helped us simplify the architectural review process for many communities over the last 30 years. How can we help you achieve your community’s vision?