A condo or homeowner’s association is the cornerstone of a building community. The condominium of HOA maintains order and continuity by preserving architectural integrity, maintaining the common elements, protecting property values, and often providing for recreation and community engagement among neighbors. To be effective, a condo or HOA needs a strong board of directors or managers, who both individually and collectively understand the role and mission of the association. Operating a condo or HOA involves many of the same responsibilities as any other business, although board members are volunteers and generally serve without compensation.
While some board members may have pertinent experiences from their personal lives – accountants, attorneys, brokers, and managers – most are only armed with a desire to serve their building communities. A newly elected board member will need solid instruction and training to fully understand their role and fiduciary duties. Serving as a board member can be a valuable service and a rewarding experience, but like any other position, proper training and instruction is a must.
Part of training a good board is starting with good candidates. Most pros suggest looking for prospective future board members among individuals currently serving on committees. Likely candidates could be invited to sit in on a board meeting to observe the board in action, see the nuanced and timing of an actual meeting, and consider which board positions might be a food fir for her talents and interests.
Raymond Dickey, president of the Atlantic City, New Jersey-based Brainerd Communications and publisher of AssociationHelpNow Media, also believes in a proactive approach to board member development. “If you know someone who interested in running for a board position, include him or her as much as possible in board activities prior to being elected into their position,” he says. “This way, when and if that person is elected, he or she can hit the ground running. Also nominate potential board members from those who are regularly at meetings. These people already know a great deal about current issues in the building or association.”
Dan Wurtzel, president of management firm FirstService Residential New York, the largest property management company in North America, with offices throughout Florida, believes that some of the responsibility for educating new board members might lie with the manager themselves.
Greg Carlson, a property manager and the president of the National Association of Housing Cooperatives (NAHC), does not mince words when it comes to educating boards; “No training is not acceptable.” He acknowledges it takes some time for a new member to get up to speed, and the learning curve can bog down a meeting when new members frequently ask for clarity and explanations. That’s where Florida board members can go to the head of the class.
Industry veterans also strongly advise utilizing the professional expertise of community association managers, the board’s attorney and accountant, among others, to keep both new and veteran board members in the loop and on top of important legal and financial issues.
Private real estate educators, management companies, professional organizations like CAI, and most law firms regularly offer board certification classes giving newbies an overview on federal, state, and local laws, emergency planning, financial management, and just about every other aspect of association administration.
The homeowners’ association attorneys at Stevens & Goldwyn, P.A. are experts in condominium law, contractual disputes, and HOA litigation. They specialize in representation for homeowners associations, assessment collection, foreclosures, civil litigation, and more.Stevens & Goldwyn, P.A. is located in Plantation, FL and provides services throughout Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Palm Beach, Plantation, Pembroke Pines, Miami Beach, Pompano Beach, Hollywood, Aventura, and more.
Arrange a free, no-obligation consultation, where you can discuss your legal concerns with a partner of our firm. We look forward to answering your questions and seeing how we can meet your legal needs. Call us at 954-476-2680 or contact us online today.
Through a free, no-obligation consultation, you can discuss your legal concerns with a partner of our firm. We look forward to answering your questions and seeing how we can meet your legal needs.
Call 954-476-2680 or contact us online today.