Helpful Resources for New Board Members in an HOA or Condo Association
Useful Tools for Every Association Board Member – Helpful Resources for New Board Members in an HOA
Typical concerns for HOA Board members
Association governing documents: what they are and how to use them
Legal guidelines for running an HOA or condominium association and where to find them
Common local services that are needed for regular property maintenance
Welcome to the Board of your Association!
It’s always exciting to start a new position or serve in a new role. Being on the Board of your Homeowners Association is no exception. Although it can sometimes be challenging, it can also be very fulfilling to contribute to the greater good of your property.
Members of the Board are responsible for making both short and long-term decisions for their Association. From choosing the right property management company for your condominium or homeowners Association and how to allocate the Association budget, to approving paint colors and landscape designs, the impacts that Board members make on a property are influential.
For this reason, it’s important to make rational choices that are best for the entire Association and all of its residents and homeowners. It’s not just important, it’s the law!
In order to run a presentable, well cared for, and lawful Association, all Board members should be familiar with a few essential documents and rules. These include:
- Association governing documents
- Local (city and county) and state regulations for HOA’s or Condo Associations
- Government and private sector services commonly needed on the property or by individual residents and homeowners
In this article, we’ll review some of the things you should know as a new Board member (or if you’re considering running for the Board of directors of your HOA/Condominium Association.) This should help make the onboarding process easier and make your preparation time more efficient.
Most of these resources are general but are useful for almost every Association in Florida. If you’re interested in getting more information or seeking help as you prepare for your new role on the Association Board, give us a call. We’ll answer any HOA management questions and provide you with further resources to support you in your new position.
What will an Association Board member need to know to effectively direct the property?
As a Board member, you’ll be responsible for answering homeowner questions and responding to tons of requests. This includes granting (or denying!) approvals, providing documents or data, and administrative duties.
You and your fellow Board members will make choices on behalf of the entire Association. Together you’ll vote on, and later implement these choices, so it’s important to be unbiased as well as forward-thinking. HOA membership means you’re seeking to establish long-term benefits (like increased property value) and not just provide short-term solutions to issues. This means adopting a strategic plan or familiarizing yourself with the existing strategic plan for your Association.
Board members make decisions that impact the three main facets of property management:
- Administrative management
- Financial management
- Physical property management
Association Boards often opt to work with a property management company in south Florida in order to ensure that they make sound decisions and comply with state and local law, as well as operate within governing guidelines of the property. Because a property management firm specializes in these services and has the experience, they’ll help minimize common risks for the property like bankruptcy, corruption, or legal issues. This way, there will be no HOA problems.
If you’re new to the Board of your property and property management in general, it’s a good idea to work with an HOA property manager to get advice and counseling on the best ways to manage the administrative, financial and physical property at your Association.
Your Association’s governing documents
The governing documents from your Association are a previously established set of rules and guidelines for the community or condominium. According to Florida state laws, these documents are a declaration of covenants for a community and all recorded amendments, and supplements. The declarations stated in the Association governing documents must be provided to your municipality or county in the official record system.
Board members must abide by the rules set forth in the governing documents, which is why it’s important to familiarize yourself with them upon taking office. The Association must also maintain transparency with governing documents and ensure they are available to homeowners and other Board members or prospective Board members.
These documents offer the Board and homeowners the opportunity to follow consistent practices for decision making and ruling applicable to any actions or permissions regarding the property management.
Some examples of what the governing documents address include:
- Financial responsibilities of the Association and homeowners
- Association protocol for property maintenance and management including budgeting, landscaping, and other common property management practices.
- Procedures for Board meetings and elections
Upon appointment to your Board membership role, it’s a good idea to read and review these documents so that you can make educated decisions about how to handle the various situations that present themselves, as well as ensure you’re following permissible protocols that have been established.
Legal Resources: Florida statutes for condominium and homeowners Associations
Aside from the Associations’s own governing documents, it’s crucial to follow the Florida State and city or county statutes and guidelines for Association management.
The regulations set forth by the state of Florida for HOA’s is found in Title XL Real and Personal Property. These legislations govern the formation, management, and powers of operation of HOA’s (and specifically those of residential homeowners Associations.)
Homeowners Association information is available in Chapter 720.
Condominium Association information is available in Chapter 718.
One critical stipulation is that HOA’s must be established as not-for-profit organizations, as governed by Florida Not for Profit Corporation Act, Fla. Stat. § 617.01011. So, HOA’s and Condominium Associations in Florida are considered non-business entities, offering a service for homeowners and residents, and are tax-exempt. The sole purpose of this type of organization is to fulfill the organizations (homeowner’s) objectives, in this case, running and maintaining the residential property in South Florida.
The Florida Cooperative Act, Fla. Stat. § 719.101, also provides legal frameworks for the cooperative ownership of the real estate in Florida. This facilitates shared decision-making and establishes that inducted Board members have decision-making authority.
It’s also essential that all Board members operate and make decisions from an unbiased place. This is to say that Board decisions should always be in the best interest of the entire Association and its homeowners. So, Board members cannot vote only for things that lean towards their personal opinion or serve to benefit them individually. As stated in the Florida Statutes & Constitution of Homeowners Associations: ‘The officers and directors of an association have a fiduciary relationship to the members who are served by the association.’
Being adequately versed in HOA laws and keeping up with new HOA legislation is not always easy. That’s why working with an HOA property management company near you can be helpful. We’ll work with your Board to ensure you’re following the proper protocols and procedures and abiding by all HOA regulations.
Taking care of your Association, other common services, and tools you may need as a Board member
As a newly elected Board member, you’ll also be a voice of support for fellow homeowners, residents, and neighbors. This means being versed in local resources and providing information about the city, county, and state services. In some cases, this is as simple as being aware of trash pick-up days for your Association, other times it may be more complicated as when fair housing or eviction information is needed. Below are resources that HOA residents commonly refer to for information.
These websites provide information about specific cities or municipalities.
City of Boca Raton
City of Delray Beach
City of Parkland
Town of Highland Beach
Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce
Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce
Parkland Chamber of Commerce
These websites provide information about COVID-19 testing sites
These websites provide state or federal legal information related to HOA’s or other residential settings as well as local services that homeowners frequently need to contact.
Animal Services and Rescue
Comcast / Xfinity
Federal Fair Housing Act
Florida Fair Housing Act
Homeowners Protection Bureau
State of Florida HOA Constitution and Statutes
State of Florida Condominium Constitution and Statutes
These websites provide information about Florida property management services
CAM Licensing Information and Requirements
Florida Real Estate Laws
State of Florida Property Management Association
You’re ready to serve on the Association as a Board member!
Serving on your residential HOA or condominium Association Board is an honorable role. You have the responsibility to abide by the governing documents set forth by the Association, Florida State, and city guidelines and legislation. You will also help connect homeowners with commonly used local and state services.
With the above outline and resources (now easily at your fingertips,) you’re ready to get started!
When it comes to carrying out administrative, financial, and physical property management, working with HOA property management companies can go a long way. Our professional experienced team will be glad to assist you and your Association to make good long-term decisions, increase property value, and make your Association a truly great place to live.