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11 Valuable Tips To Attract HOA Volunteers

Homeowners associations run on the efforts of volunteers, but it is not always easy to get residents involved. If you want to attract HOA volunteers, there are some tips you can apply.


Why It’s Important to Attract HOA Volunteers

In many ways, homeowners associations work like governments. One stark difference is that the people who serve on the HOA board and the committees don’t receive compensation. They are volunteers who take time out of their busy schedules and put in the work to make the community a better place. As such, it is often difficult to entice homeowners to serve the association.

But, attracting volunteers for your HOA remains a top priority. Without volunteers, the HOA board would become vacant. It may also force current board members to keep extending their terms. Committees would also become short-staffed, leaving no help for the board members.

It will not take long before the association turns into a shell of its former self. With no volunteers running the show, the entire operation will collapse. No one will collect dues, maintain the common areas, keep up with insurance, communicate with residents, or hire vendors.

In some places, such as California, the HOA may be forced to enter receivership. When this happens, a court-appointed receiver will take on the task of handling all association matters. This is normally not ideal because receivers don’t tend to have the community’s best interests at heart. It also comes with a hefty price tag.

All in all, the domino effect of insufficient volunteers can be drastic. Curb appeal will drop, and property values will be affected. In the end, it is the community and its residents who will suffer the cost.


How to Attract More Volunteers in Your HOA

Given how important volunteers are for the association, boards should actively try to entice other residents to get involved. But you might ask, “How do we attract more volunteers?” If you’re having trouble getting residents to join the board or committees, here are some tips you can employ.


1. Organize Informative Events

Homeowners are less likely to join if they don’t know what goes on behind the curtains. Every HOA should have an annual seminar discussing what the job entails. It’s also a good idea to briefly describe what volunteers do during the orientation for new residents. This way, homeowners can better understand how serving on the board or a committee can help the association.


quick board meeting2. Hold Better Board Meetings

One of the more underrated ways to attract volunteers is to hold better board meetings. That means keeping board meetings organized, concise, and short. No one wants to sit through a three-hour-long board meeting, board members included. If homeowners know that board meetings won’t take up too much of their time, they’re more likely to be open to joining.


3. Ask for Input

If you want to know how to get people to volunteer, you must ask. Opening a dialogue will let you know how homeowners feel and what’s happening in the community. Perhaps they are dissatisfied with how things are being run. Maybe they will be more open to serving the HOA if certain things change. Asking for feedback isn’t a sign of weakness; it signals to owners that the board is not stubborn or set in its ways.


4. Communicate Volunteer Opportunities

To attract volunteers for your HOA, homeowners must first know there are volunteer opportunities. If you don’t advertise, you don’t get the word out. Don’t be surprised when no one runs for a position on the board come election season.

Include invitations to serve in every newsletter or community-wide announcement if you can. You might also want to develop a tagline immediately responding to volunteer efforts. In addition, you can highlight positive changes that past and current volunteers have contributed. This will inspire others to do the same.


5. Provide Training

More often than not, homeowners feel reluctant to join the board or a committee because they feel like they don’t qualify for the job. And, as much as an HOA would like to have a lawyer or accountant on the board, it’s not always possible. This is where proper training comes in. If you provide training for volunteers, they will feel better equipped to take on the many responsibilities of the position.


recruit HOA volunteers6. Adopt a Personal Approach

Even if you blast announcements through your newsletters, emails, or community website, nothing quite beats a personal touch. If you want to recruit HOA volunteers, consider approaching homeowners directly. Let them know how they can contribute to the association and that they possess the right skills for the job. This will allow owners to feel seen, making them more likely to participate.


7. Start Small

Homeowners don’t have to jump straight to board membership. Sometimes, it helps to begin small. Ask residents to volunteer for committees or assign them projects they can lead. This is a good way to help them get started on the right foot without scaring them with too many responsibilities from the get-go.


8. Allow for Flexibility

Getting people to volunteer can be difficult, especially if they have busy schedules. Many homeowners are wary of volunteering because they see it as a second job of sorts. Eliminate this notion by explaining to them what they can expect regarding time investment. Of course, make sure you give accurate information and set realistic boundaries.


9. Foster a Comfortable Working Environment

It creates a negative perception if your HOA board is constantly at war with committees, homeowners, or even just internally. And homeowners don’t want to volunteer if all they can expect from it is conflict and discord. To attract HOA volunteers, make sure to create a comfortable environment for everyone involved. Respect fellow board members and homeowners even when you don’t agree with them.


hoa volunteers10. Show Your Appreciation

Volunteer work is often a thankless job, but it doesn’t have to be. One of the ways to get people to volunteer is through simple acts of gratitude. Show volunteers that the community appreciates their contributions. Recognize them by name in weekly newsletters or announcements. This will not only attract volunteers but also help you retain them.


11. Keep Terms Short

Volunteerism involves commitment, but nobody wants to commit their time long-term. As such, bylaws permitting, consider keeping term lengths short. If your bylaws currently require longer terms, you may want to make amendments. With shorter terms, you won’t scare away potential volunteers.


Get More Volunteers

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to attract HOA volunteers. All it takes is some time and effort from board members.

Condo Manager’s HOA management software makes community operations much easier to handle. Call us today at (800) 626-1267 or contact us online for a free demo!



Who Can Serve On An HOA Board? How To Vet For Candidates

Who can serve on an HOA board? Can just anybody become a board member in an HOA community? We’ll talk about how to vet for candidates and evaluate them properly if they’re qualified for the position.


Who Can Serve on an HOA Board?

Homeowners associations are governed by a group of volunteers known as the board of directors. But who can volunteer to run for positions on the HOA board? Is it open to the general public or just a select few?

The answer is it depends. There are two things to consider when determining who can serve on an HOA board. First, we have state laws. Depending on where you are, there may be statutory requirements regulating board candidates. Some states have more comprehensive laws on homeowners associations than others, so state laws will not always contain explicit or implied directions.

California is one state with more detailed HOA laws. According to Civil Code Section 5105, only members of the association at the time of nomination are permitted to be candidates for board positions.

However, this requirement does not apply to spouses whose names do not appear on the title. While the purpose of this requirement is rather clear — it aims to limit board members to people who have the HOA’s best interests at heart — it has made it more difficult for small associations to find willing volunteers.

Many states don’t have this particular requirement, though it exists in most governing documents. Absent such a requirement, nothing would prevent a mere stranger or non-member from serving on the board. Some associations use language that restricts non-members from serving but allows lawyers and managers to do so. Whether or not that’s a good idea will depend on your association and your exact circumstances.

After reviewing state laws, the next place to look is your governing documents, particularly your bylaws. An association’s bylaws should contain specific HOA board member qualifications. If your bylaws are silent, consider amending them to create a more standardized matrix for board candidates.


Can an Owner With a Criminal Conviction Serve on the Board?

If an association’s bylaws don’t prohibit it, a homeowner with a past criminal conviction can serve on the board. Associations, though, are generally free to adopt a rule disqualifying an owner with a past conviction from becoming a candidate.

There are two reasons why an HOA might want to enact such a restriction. The first is due to insurance. If a person with a past conviction is elected to the board, the association’s insurance company may discontinue its current fidelity bond coverage or refuse to renew the policy.

The second reason is track record. Associations tend to deal with a lot of money, some even reaching millions. If a nominee has stolen money from an HOA in the past, it makes sense to disqualify them from serving on the board, especially if they’re seeking a treasurer role.


How to Vet and Evaluate Candidates

Considering the roles that board members play, associations should adopt a vetting procedure to check the qualifications of candidates. Here are some tips that can help both homeowners and current board members alike.


Set Up a Nomination Committee

The function of a nomination committee is to screen candidates for election. This committee is essentially in charge of checking whether or not nominees are qualified to run for a position on the board under state laws and the HOA’s bylaws. Of course, committee members should have no conflicts of interest with the nominees that may sway their judgment towards one way or another.


Establish HOA Board Member Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility requirements can vary from one association to another. State laws permitting, common requirements typically dictate that candidates must:

  • Be a member of the association for more than one (1) year at the time of nomination;
  • Have no delinquent dues or unpaid fines;
  • Have no outstanding violations;
  • Not be in ongoing litigation with the association; and,
  • Not serve on the board at the same time as another person from the same household.

Again, it is essential to check the laws in your state. While many associations don’t allow candidates to have outstanding violations or fines, such a requirement is not always enforceable. For instance, California law does not permit an association to disqualify a nominee even if they have unpaid fines.


Homeowner Involvement

Homeowners should not only rely on the nomination committee. They should do their part as well by getting involved in the community. Homeowners should do their own research and get to know the candidates. In doing so, they can vote for the right people. After all, in the end, it is the homeowners who will be greatly affected by the decisions of the board.


Traits and Skills to Look for in HOA Board Members

When deciding which candidate to vote for, it is important to evaluate the characteristics and skills of the different people running. Here are some of the best qualities of an effective board member:


1. A Willingness to Serve

A board member must be willing to serve their community. Even with an impressive resume and an unrivaled skillset, a board member simply can’t do a good job if their heart isn’t in the right place. A good board member must always put the association’s best interests first, even if it means making a decision that would personally affect them in a negative way.


2. Honest

Money flows in and out of associations all the time, so there’s always that temptation. Board members should be honest and transparent. They must have an upright moral compass that compels them to do the correct thing every time.


3. Fair

Boards make decisions every day. They adopt resolutions, make rulings on violations, and select vendors — it’s all part of the job. Therefore, board candidates must exercise consistent and fair judgment in every aspect of their service. They must not give in to personal bias or emotion. And, when a conflict of interest arises, they must know to recuse themselves.


4. A Team Player

hoa board member qualifications

Far too many HOA boards fall victim to infighting, which can bring down not just the board but the entire community. Board members must know how to work with each other.

They must possess a collaborative spirit while still being open to professional discourse. The HOA board must always present a unified front to the homeowners, even if not all board members agree on something internally.


5. Accounting and Management Skills a Plus

Due to the nature of the responsibilities of board members, it would be great to have someone with accounting experience or a management background. Of course, while these skills can greatly help with operations, these alone should not be the basis of qualification.


Guiding You on the Right Path

As you can see, two things tell you who can serve on an HOA board: state laws and your governing documents. It is important to familiarize yourself with both to avoid confusion and potential liability. When in doubt, it is always best to consult a lawyer.

Condo Manager aims to make the lives of HOA board members easier with automated management solutions. Call us today at (800) 626-1267 or contact us online to learn more!



What Happens When An HOA Board Member Resigns?

When an HOA board member resigns, very few homeowners associations know how to proceed. While the specifics will largely depend on the individual HOA, there are a few things all associations should do to make the process smoother.


HOA Board Member Resigns: What Happens Now?

Homeowners associations are run by a group of volunteers who are normally elected into positions. This group is known collectively as the HOA board. The HOA board is responsible for managing the community, sometimes with the help of committees and an HOA manager.

Associations typically need to have a set number of directors on the board as dictated by their governing documents. Every board member plays an integral role in the success of the association. As such, when one resigns, it can hinder the board’s ability to operate and make decisions.

To ensure your association can continue to function smoothly, it is imperative to know what to do in case an HOA board member resigns.


1. Make Sure the HOA Is Prepared

Preparation is the key to a proper response to an unanticipated situation. If a board member leaves their post, it can throw a wrench into the normal direction of the board. By planning ahead, HOAs can act quickly and avoid losing critical time.

But how can an association make preparations? To start, it is important to have the board review the governing documents of the HOA every year. The board should check the guidelines for board member resignations and see if they require updating. It is equally important to ensure these guidelines comply with state and local laws. When in doubt, it is always a good idea to consult an attorney.


acceptance of board member resignation2. Ask for a Resignation Letter

Prior to the acceptance of a board member’s resignation, the HOA board should ask to put everything in writing. The resigning board member must submit a formal letter of resignation. The letter should explicitly include the board’s intention to resign and the effective date of the resignation. This way, there is a paper trail.


3. Formalize the Resignation

After receiving the resignation letter, the board should add it as an item on the agenda of the next open board meeting. The board should follow Robert’s Rules of Order for accepting the resignation, which requires the board to formally make a motion to accept the resignation. Make sure the item also appears in the meeting minutes. After that, the board should file the letter for safekeeping.


4. Let the Residents Know

Homeowners have a right to know what’s going on in the community. And while some owners may find out about the resignation at the board meeting, you can’t say the same for all other residents. It is important to put out a formal announcement notifying the community that a board member has resigned. To ease the owners’ worries, the announcement should also explain the next actions of the board, such as how it intends to fill the vacancy.


5. Conduct an Exit Interview

Even though serving on the HOA board normally does not come with pay, it is still best to treat it as if it were a real job and go through all the formalities. This way, the association can maintain professionalism and avoid potential liability. Apart from formally accepting the resignation, the board should also consider conducting an exit interview.

The exit interview will help the remaining board members understand the reason behind the resignation. Common reasons typically fall under one of the following categories:

  • The board member can no longer fulfill their duties and responsibilities;
  • The board member is moving; and/or,
  • There are irreconcilable differences with the other board members.

If the reason is due to personal conflicts with the board, conducting an interview may be uncomfortable. But, it is still necessary as it may provide valuable insight that may prove helpful to the board in the future.

When conducting the exit interview, make sure to use a standard set of questions. The remaining board members should never get personal or use this as an opportunity to berate the resigning member.

Some questions you can ask include:

  • Can you expound on the reason you’re resigning?
  • What did you like best about your position?
  • What did you like least about your position?
  • Do you have any suggestions to improve the board and community?
  • Is there anything the HOA can do to prevent similar resignations in the future?
  • Are there any other issues you would like to discuss?


6. Restrict Access to Privileged Data

Board members usually have access to privileged information and accounts. Because they are no longer part of the board, the resigning member’s access should be cut off. As such, make sure to remove the resigning member’s user credentials or change their password on all programs and websites. Restrict access to email accounts, internal documents, and other confidential information. Retrieve any hard copies of sensitive documents from the resigning member, too.

You should also notify the HOA manager, lawyer, and vendors of the change. This way, they will no longer include the resigning member’s email or contacts in distribution lists.


7. Fill the Vacancy

hoa appointing a new board memberDepending on the circumstances, the HOA board will likely need to fill the open seat. Sometimes, a board can wait until the next election cycle. However, in other cases, the board will need to fill the vacancy to reach a quorum of board members and continue to conduct association business.

When it comes to filling open board seats after resignation, the board should look to both state laws and the association’s bylaws. More often than not, the HOA board can appoint a new board member to fill the resignation. In California, Corporations Code Section 7224 allows the board to appoint a new board member through unanimous consent, a majority of directors, or by a sole remaining director. If the board fails to appoint a new board member, members can petition for a special meeting to fill the vacant seat.

The board can choose to interview potential candidates prior to the HOA appointing a new board member. While the board can interview candidates in private, the vote to appoint the new board member should typically take place at an open board meeting.


8. Announce the New Board Member and Update All Materials

Following the appointment, the HOA board should make a formal announcement introducing the newly appointed board member. This way, all residents know about the change.

The HOA board should also make sure to update all association materials. Remove the name and contact details of the previous board member and replace them with the new one. Places to check include the HOA website, newsletters, letterheads, and distribution lists. Don’t forget to inform the HOA manager, attorney, and vendors as well.


The Final Word

Many boards find themselves at a loss when an HOA board member resigns. With this guide, associations can hopefully continue operations with minimal to no disruption. Of course, when in doubt, it is always best to consult a lawyer for guidance.

Condo Manager provides automated HOA management solutions to associations and management companies. Call us today at (800) 626-1267 or contact us online for a free demo!



What Does An HOA Committee Do?

Committees often play a significant role in a homeowners association. But what exactly does an HOA committee do? And are there different types of committees?


What Is an HOA Committee?

An HOA committee is a committee of volunteer homeowners formed to fulfill a specific purpose. Committees support the HOA board by sharing a subset of responsibilities.

There are several benefits to committees. For one thing, they help the board juggle its many duties, which can be burdensome, especially for larger communities. Committees are also great for fostering engagement among association members; homeowners can volunteer their talents and allow them to contribute.

Finally, committees act as a gateway for future board members. Many homeowners feel apprehensive about joining the HOA board, and starting small — like joining a committee — can help nudge them in the right direction. If your community has difficulty filling open board seats, encouraging owners to join a committee will allow them to build enough courage to eventually step up to a larger role.


Types of HOA Committees

There are three general types of committees in homeowners associations: executive committees, standing committees, and ad hoc committees.

Executive committees consist entirely of the board. Standing committees are committees that have long-standing tasks and last indefinitely. Meanwhile, ad hoc committees are formed to carry out a specific purpose and dissolve after fulfilling that purpose. Both standing and ad hoc committees can have non-board members.

Committees can be further classified according to function. And while the types of committees associations have can vary depending on their needs, some committees are more common than others.


1. HOA Architectural Control Committee

HOA Architectural Control CommitteeThe HOA Architectural Committee ensures that the community’s architectural guidelines are met. This committee constantly reviews the guidelines to identify areas of improvement, inspects the community for any violations, and oversees the architectural approval process. Depending on the HOA, this committee may be able to make decisions or be allowed to make recommendations to the board, making the final call.


2. HOA Landscaping Committee

The Landscaping Committee shares similar responsibilities to the Architectural Control Committee but more about landscaping. This committee is more common in single-family communities due to the nature of such neighborhoods. Additionally, some associations need a separate committee for landscaping and, instead, have the Architectural Committee perform this function.


3. HOA Finance or Budget Committee

The Finance or Budget Committee assists the board with budgeting and financial management. This committee’s responsibilities include helping the board with budget planning, expense tracking, bookkeeping, reserve management, and dues collection. Because of the nature of the duties, this committee usually works closely with or is led by the treasurer.


4. HOA Social or Events Committee

The Social or Events Committee instills community spirit and camaraderie among association members. This committee plans social gatherings, holiday events, and more. The HOA board typically sets aside a budget for this committee. Sometimes, this committee also takes on the role of managing the community’s social media presence.


5. HOA Welcome Committee

HOA Welcome CommitteeThe Welcome Committee is in charge of all activities related to new homeowners. This committee might throw a mixer or get-to-know gathering for all new owners (if there are plenty) or introduce them through various communication channels. The Welcome Committee may also be responsible for putting together a welcome packet, which usually consists of the HOA’s governing documents, merch, guides, and FAQs.

You will typically see a separate Welcome Committee for larger communities. But, for smaller communities, the responsibilities of the Welcome Committee are usually absorbed by the Social Committee.


6. HOA Newsletter Committee

The Newsletter Committee is responsible for scheduling, planning, executing, and distributing the association’s newsletter. This committee was more common back when the Internet was not as ubiquitous. Nowadays, Newsletter Committees can still exist, though homeowners will usually feel their presence online through e-newsletters.


7. HOA Covenants Committee

The Covenants Committee, also known as the Violations Committee or Compliance Committee, helps the board will violations enforcement. Sometimes, the HOA board can handle this task on its own. But, particularly in larger associations, violations enforcement and tracking can quickly become too heavy. This committee can ease some of that burden by helping monitor violations, keep track of hearings, and suggest necessary rule changes.


How to Establish an HOA Committee

If your community wants to form committees, you must follow some key steps.


hoa committees1. Confirm or Create Guidelines in the Governing Documents

The first thing you must do is check your governing documents for HOA committee guidelines. These guidelines will tell you whether or not you can form a committee, how you can go about the process, and any additional rules you may need to follow. You will have to create committee guidelines if you don’t have committee guidelines.


2. Determine Which Committees to Construct

The next step is to identify which committees to create for your association. This will depend on your community and board’s needs. A Finance or Budget Committee may be beneficial if your HOA board needs help with budgeting. If your board has trouble monitoring violations, then a Covenants Committee may be in order.

You will also need to write a charter for each committee you want to create. This charter dictates the following:

  • Mission statement
  • Budget
  • Responsibilities
  • Decision-making powers
  • Authority limitations
  • Timeframe of existence


3. Establish Structure and Roles

Committees can’t operate without structure. Similar to the HOA board, committee members should have designated roles. Each committee may require a chairperson who acts as the presiding member. It’s also good to have a secretary who can take minutes.

As for committee meetings, associations generally choose whether or not to allow owners to attend, depending on state laws and the HOA’s governing documents. The Open Meeting Act in California does not apply to committee meetings, though there may be an exception if most board members participate in the forum.


4. Recruit Members

types of hoa committeesThe final step is to recruit members. Determine how many members can serve on a particular committee, then entice owners to join. While you can welcome any owners, it’s good to have a matrix of sorts when selecting committee members. Apart from skill, members should be willing to serve, maintain an open mind, and work well with others.

Board members can also join committees, provided your governing documents permit it. Typically, board members who serve on a committee act as the chair.


Which Committees to Have

An HOA committee provides benefits to homeowners associations and their boards. The exact responsibilities of such a committee will depend on its function. Assessing the needs of your community will help you determine which committees are worth your while.

Condo Manager offers advanced software solutions to HOAs and management companies. Call us today at (800) 626-1267 or contact us online for a free demo!



Can Homeowners Be Asked To Remove American Flag In HOA Communities?

If homeowners have been asked to remove the American flag in HOA communities, trouble can follow. For homeowners associations, it is important to act with caution when it comes to flag rules, especially on appropriate holidays.


Can the Board Ask to Remove the American Flag in HOA Communities?

There is no denying the importance of military service in the United States. In fact, it is so important that there are specific days dedicated to celebrating those who have served or are currently serving in the United States Armed Forces. Military personnel and veterans have fought and continue to fight for the nation’s freedom. And one of the ways Americans can show their support is to fly the U.S. flag.

Some Americans display the U.S. flag only on certain holidays, such as Veterans Day, Memorial Day, or the Fourth of July. And then there are others who choose to display the flag all 365 days of the year. But, whether it is a Veterans Day flag or a year-round flag, many homeowners get slapped with a violation letter from their HOA. The letter almost always includes an order to remove the display or face a fine for each day the flag remains up.

When this happens, homeowners understandably feel angered or frustrated. Is flying the American flag really something that warrants a fine from the association? Can homeowners associations even prevent residents from displaying Old Glory?

While HOAs generally have the power to enact and enforce rules, these rules must always be consistent with federal and state laws. Outright prohibiting homeowners from flying the American flag would be in breach of the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005. However, this does not automatically mean HOAs have no authority to ask an owner to remove the flag. It really depends on the variables at play.


The Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005

The American Flag Act specifically regulates homeowners associations, condominiums, and cooperatives. According to this Act, HOAs “may not adopt or enforce any policy, or enter into any agreement, that would restrict or prevent an association member from displaying the U.S. flag on residential property within the association with respect to which such member has a separate ownership interest or a right to exclusive possession or use.”

But, the Act also goes on to say that the display of the American flag must be done in a proper manner (consistent with the U.S. Flag Code). Moreover, the Act gives HOAs the ability to enforce reasonable restrictions on the time, place, and manner of display, provided these restrictions are necessary to protect property values.


Proper Display of the Flag

If a homeowner wishes to display the American flag, they must do so in a manner consistent with the U.S. Flag Code. While the Flag Code contains several provisions, some of the most important ones include:

  • Display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and stationary flagstaffs in the open. If an owner wants to display the flag 24 hours a day, they must ensure to properly illuminate the flag in the dark.
  • The flag must never touch anything below it nor touch the ground.
  • Owners must hoist the flag briskly and lower it ceremoniously.
  • The flag must be free of any drawings, markings, or insignia.
  • Owners must take the flag indoors during inclement weather unless they are using an all-weather flag.
  • On Memorial Day, owners should fly the flag at half-mast until noon to honor fallen military veterans. After that, they must raise it to the top of the staff.

It is worth noting that the Flag Code encourages owners to fly the U.S. flag on all days but especially on special days such as:

  • Veterans Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Constitution Day
  • Armed Forces Day
  • Labor Day
  • Flag Day
  • Inauguration Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day
  • And more!


Reasonable Restrictions Allowed

The Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005 allows HOAs to place reasonable restrictions. Reasonable restrictions are those that help protect the character and interest of the association as well as the property values within the community.

Common restrictions include restricting the height of flag poles, the placement of flag poles, and the architectural style of the flag poles. Many associations also require owners to seek approval from the HOA board or the architectural review committee before displaying the American flag. The general objective of such a process is to make sure that the location and manner of flag placement align with both the community’s guidelines and the U.S. Flag Code.

If the governing documents permit, associations can also charge fines to owners who violate the flag rules of the community. The exact dollar amount of such fines can vary from one association to another. That being said, it is normal for HOAs to fine owners for each day the flag display remains in violation of the rules.


Advice for Homeowners Associations

veterans day flagWhen it comes to flag rules, HOA boards should act carefully because there is a lot of room for liability. In fact, several lawsuits have emerged from this very dispute — from Florida and Texas to Ohio and Kansas. And the last thing any HOA wants is to deal with expensive lawsuits. There’s also the backlash that comes with being featured in headline news.

Boards should keep in mind that they cannot prohibit homeowners from flying the U.S. flag. While reasonable restrictions are allowed, it is not easy to come up with rules that follow federal and state laws while simultaneously keeping a tight rein on architectural standards. As such, it is always best to seek the help of a lawyer to draft the community’s flag rules.

Once an HOA has completed its flag rules, it is imperative to communicate these rules to all homeowners. This way, everyone knows what they can and can’t do. It is also a good idea to re-distribute these rules right before patriotic holidays to remind owners and help minimize violations.


When In Doubt

Displaying the U.S. flag is one of the simplest yet meaningful ways to show patriotism. Homeowners associations should, therefore, tread cautiously when it comes to enacting and enforcing flag rules. When in doubt, it is best not to ask homeowners to remove the American flag in HOA communities, unless the display is clearly in violation of the Flag Code and the HOA’s lawful flag rules.



HOA Board Meetings: Types, Planning, And Purpose

Homeowners association board meetings are where important decisions are made. There are different types of HOA meetings depending on the purpose or matter at hand. For efficient and productive HOA board meetings, here’s what you need to know.


What Are the Different Types of HOA Board Meetings?

Not all HOA board meetings are the same. There may be different players depending on the type and purpose of the meeting. Here are the most common types of meetings you will encounter in an HOA community.


1. Annual Meeting

The annual meeting is open to all members of the HOA community. It usually takes place at the beginning of each year. The purpose of this meeting is to inform homeowners of what has been going on in the community and what to expect for the year. HOA board members often give a recap of the previous year before presenting the annual budget, upcoming projects, and committee reports. The election of new board members also takes place during the annual meeting.


2. Board Meetings

Meeting in progress, words printed on a blackboard | types of hoa board meetingsHOA board meetings are held throughout the year. Depending on your governing documents, board members may be required to meet monthly or quarterly.

The purpose of board meetings is to discuss HOA-related matters such as new policies, maintenance projects, and committee reports. Unfinished business from the previous board meeting may also be discussed.

HOA board meetings also have an open forum where homeowners can voice out their concerns and suggestions. However, they should give advance notice as only topics in the HOA meeting agenda can be discussed.


3. Executive Sessions

Unlike other types of HOA meetings, executive sessions are strictly for board members only. The purpose of these closed-door sessions is to discuss sensitive or confidential matters such as contracts, delinquent assessments, personnel issues, and legal matters. Accordingly, the HOA board meeting minutes are not released to the public.


4. Committee Meetings

For larger HOAs, board members can delegate some of their duties and responsibilities to committees. As such, the purpose of committee meetings is to discuss matters related to their objectives and duties.

For instance, an architectural committee may use the meeting to review architectural applications and appeals. Committee meetings may include some or all board members. These HOA meetings are also open to the entire community.


5. Special Meetings

All HOA board meetings require advanced notice, except for special meetings. A special meeting may be called due to an emergency or if there is an issue that requires immediate action from the board. The president or the majority of the board may call for a special meeting. It can be held over the phone or through email as long as all members have agreed and put in writing.


How to Plan HOA Board Meetings

Do your HOA board meetings suffer from low attendance? Do your meetings normally drag for hours and hours? If so, it might be due to poor planning. If you want to be efficient and productive, here are some tips to keep in mind when planning your HOA board meetings:


1. Refer to Your Governing Documents

Board members should refer to the governing documents to establish HOA board meeting protocols. You will be able to determine the HOA meeting rules and requirements when it comes to agendas, minutes, and quorum. Apart from having effective and productive HOA board meetings, it’s important to conduct these sessions according to the protocol stated under the governing documents.


2. Create an Agenda and Stick to It

Board members already have limited time to attend to HOA matters; their time shouldn’t be wasted on overly long and unproductive meetings. If you want to stay inside or near the ideal 45-minute meeting length, you need to create an HOA board meeting agenda — and stick to it no matter what. You can also assign time limits for discussing certain topics to prevent board members from talking too long. If the time runs out, table the issue until the next meeting.


3. Send HOA Meeting Notices Early

Board members must provide adequate notice ahead of a scheduled meeting. However, in cases where a quorum is needed — such as the annual HOA meeting — consider sending an HOA meeting notice as early as possible. Homeowners are very busy so it’s better to inform them before their schedules become packed. This is a great way to increase attendance during HOA meetings.


4. Set Up a Community Suggestion Box

Homeowners’ input is very important but not everyone has the time to attend HOA meetings. To address the many concerns of homeowners but also maintain structure and brevity, consider putting up a community suggestion box.

This way, when homeowners see their concerns listed on the agenda, they will make it a point to attend the scheduled meeting. By implementing a schedule or limit to the open forum, the board can prevent meetings from dragging on for hours.


5. Always Remember to Take HOA Meeting Minutes

HOA meeting minutes are not only mandated but they are also very useful, especially for homeowners who are unable to attend the meetings. The board secretary — or an authorized representative — is responsible for taking minutes during every HOA meeting. In case there are misunderstandings, issues, or potential litigation, HOA meeting minutes can help clarify the situation or serve as legal records.


How to Keep HOA Board Meetings Efficient and Productive

As a board member, it’s important to know how to run a homeowners meeting. Apart from abiding by your governing documents, proper planning is the key to having efficient and productive HOA board meetings. Make sure to settle the agenda ahead of time so that you can give as much notice as possible. If there are a lot of discussion points, it can be helpful to have an HOA annual meeting checklist. HOA boards can also consult their management company or use HOA tools to make the entire process stress- and hassle-free.

If you need help with your next board meeting or other HOA-related concerns, feel free to reach out to the Condo Manager team. Call us at (800) 626-1267, email us at sales@condomanagerusa.com, or contact us online to learn more about our HOA software solutions.




Frequently Asked Questions On HOA Loans

When faced with unexpected expenses or necessary repairs, not all homeowners have funded reserves or the capacity to levy special assessments. Instead, they will take out a loan. HOA loans require adequate planning and understanding the intricacies of association loans can increase your chances of approval as well as help you get the best rates.


Everything You Need to Know About HOA Loans


What Is an HOA loan?

An HOA loan is when you receive a sum of money from a bank, creditor, or financial institution in exchange for future repayment of the total amount loaned — called the principal — plus interest. The interest, which is a percentage of the loan, is the fee charged by the creditor for being able to use their money.


What Is the Purpose of HOA Loans?

hoa projects and repair | homeowner association loansOne of the most common reasons for taking out a loan is for financing HOA projects or repairs. These could be capital improvement projects that have been long in the making or repairs due to unexpected or emergency situations.

In both cases, the HOA may not have enough funds to pay for the anticipated expenses. HOAs will then take out a loan so that the homeowners won’t have to pay for the entire cost upfront. With a loan, the HOA can spread the total amount over the span of a year or more.


How Do HOA Loans Work?

Compared to personal loans, these loans are issued to the HOA as a non-profit corporation. Thus, creditors do not need to review the finances of individual homeowners.  Since associations do not own any property, loans are collateralized through the HOA’s right to assess.

Banks may require HOAs to itemize loan repayments in their annual budget as a sign of loan commitment or levy a special assessment in the amount of the loan plus interest to serve as collateral. In case an HOA is unable to make the loan repayments, the bank may ask for the right to collect from individual homeowners.


What Are the Different Types of HOA Loans?


1. Line of Credit

A line of credit is a flexible type of HOA loan where there is a preset borrowing limit. The HOA can borrow as much as they need until the preset limit is reached. The bank will only charge interest on the actual amount borrowed. Since the interest rate is variable, monthly loan payments are not fixed. A line of credit loan has quick-term periods; it can typically last from a year up to 5 years.

A line of credit is an interest-only loan. The HOA is only required to pay interest while repairs or construction are ongoing. Loan repayments start upon completion of the project or when the credit limit has been reached.

A line of credit loan is ideal for HOAs who have short-term funding gaps. It can bridge the gap until the time when the HOA can come up with sufficient funds. For instance, the HOA may take out a line of credit to repair property damage caused by a natural disaster.

Since repairs are urgent, the association can use the loan to pay for expenses while they are waiting for their insurance payout, which they will then use to repay the loan. A line of credit can also bridge the gap between homeowner assessments and the actual amount needed for repairs.


2. Standard Term HOA Loan

In a standard term loan, HOAs receive the entire loaned amount from their creditor. This is ideal for large-scale repairs or land acquisition. The term period can range from 5 to 15 years. The interest rate is locked so the association pays the same amount each month. Since the loaned amount can be high, HOAs can lower monthly payments by choosing a longer-term period. However, they will end up paying more due to interest charges.


3. Short-Term HOA Loan

low interest rate | types of hoa loansThis type of HOA loan is the same as a standard term loan, but with a shorter-term period. These loans can last from 3 to 10 years.

HOAs will have higher monthly loan payments but can become debt-free much quicker. You also pay less interest.


4. Line of Credit with Conversion

HOAs can also opt for a line of credit with conversion. This HOA loan has two phases. In the first phase, the loan exists as a line of credit. You will only pay interest on the actual amount borrowed.

At the end of 12 months or upon completion of the project, the loan is converted to a standard term HOA loan. The bank establishes HOA loan rates and the association will then start repaying the principal plus interest until the end of the term period.


What Are the Pros of HOA Loans?

An HOA loan is a long-term financial commitment, but it provides associations with the funds they need to complete necessary or emergency repairs. It is especially helpful for HOAs who have depleted reserves or those who are unable to levy special assessments. Even for HOAs who levy a special assessment, the amount is often not enough to cover all the anticipated expenses.

HOAs can benefit from the fast completion of projects but at the same time, have the payments spread over time. Even if the HOA incurs a debt, they can restore the quality of life of homeowners prior to the damage. Meanwhile, capital improvement projects can increase property values and attract potential homebuyers to the community.


What Are the Cons of HOA Loans?

Perhaps, the main con of HOA loans is the increased financial burden on homeowners. Even though the increase is significantly less than what they would have paid with a special assessment, homeowners will still have higher monthly assessment dues.

If your homeowners become delinquent, the HOA will have a hard time paying back the loan. Incurring debt may also be disadvantageous if your HOA board lacks experience when dealing with loan repayments and capital planning. These scenarios can put your HOA in a precarious financial situation.


Can Condo Associations Take Out Loans?

Both HOAs and COAs can apply for loans. However, it’s important to consult your governing documents to see if HOA loans are allowed. If so, what are the requirements or stipulations? For instance, most HOAs will require approval from the majority of the homeowners before the board can take out a loan.

HOAs should also check their state laws regarding HOA loans. For instance, some states prohibit HOAs to borrow from their reserves or use the reserve fund as collateral for the loan. It’s best to consult an HOA attorney to ensure that everything is okay from a legal standpoint.


How Do I Qualify for an HOA Loan?

HOA loan requirements will depend on the financial institution you are borrowing from. However, in order to assess your HOA’s credit risk, they may ask for the following:

  • Delinquency Rate and Total Amount of Delinquencies: If an HOA has a high delinquency rate, the bank may question your ability to make loan payments.
  • Total Number of Units and Percentage of Owners vs. Renters
  • Reserve Study: Banks may require an HOA reserve study completed in the last 2 years.
  • Current Amount in Reserves: Banks prefer HOAs with funded reserves so even if homeowners do not pay their dues, the HOA can still make loan repayments.
  • Scope of Repairs and Estimated Cost of Repairs
  • Capacity of HOA Board for Loan Management
  • Homeowners’ Support for Borrowing
  • Monthly Assessment Dues: Banks may be less likely to approve HOAs with already high assessment dues. If loan payments are further added, there is a higher chance of delinquencies.
  • Professional Team of Contractors: Banks will also assess the skills and capabilities of the team you are planning to hire for repairs or construction.


Are HOAs Eligible for PPP?

Paycheck Protection Program | association loansThe Payment Protection Program (PPP) is a federal loan to help keep small businesses afloat, particularly in difficult times such as the coronavirus pandemic.

HOAs may apply for a PPP loan as long as funding is still available and the association meets the requirements.


How Do I Plan for an HOA Loan?

HOAs often underestimate the amount of planning required when applying for a loan. Adequate planning is a must if you want to increase your chances of approval. Do not wait until the last minute before consulting your bank. Talk to them early on so that you know which requirements to prepare. Many banks will even work with you throughout the process.

Another way to plan for an HOA loan is to establish the scope of repair and identify your team of professionals. The bank will use this information to determine the size of your loan and your credit risk. Choosing a highly-qualified team of professionals to conduct repairs can increase your chances of loan approval.

HOAs may also choose to levy a special assessment ahead of an HOA loan. The funds raised can be used to resupply your reserve account. This shows the bank that the HOA has several options for repaying the loan. Levying a special assessment can also help you flush out delinquent homeowners.


Are HOA Loans Right for Your Association?

After reading the FAQs about HOA loans, you have a better understanding of what is an HOA loan, how they work, and how to increase your chances of approval. Based on the information, you can also gauge if taking out a loan is reasonable for your HOA. If the HOA foresees any difficulties, it may be worth sticking to other funding options such as increased assessments or a special assessment. Ultimately, the decision will depend on your association’s needs and capabilities.

If you have additional questions about HOA loans and other financial requirements, feel free to contact the Condo Manager team today! Call us at (800)-626-1267, email us at sales@condomanagerusa.com, or contact us online to learn more about our HOA software solutions.




What Do The HOA Board of Directors Do For A Community?

A successful homeowners association requires a strong board of directors. It’s important to have HOA board members who can fulfill their roles and responsibilities to the community. Here’s what homeowners should expect from their HOA board of directors.


HOA Board of Directors: An Overview of Their Roles and Responsibilities

An HOA board is comprised of homeowners who volunteer to assist in the day-to-day operations of their community. The association grants these board members authority so that they can fulfill their HOA responsibilities to homeowners.


Fiduciary Responsibility of HOA Board Members

Board members are placed in a position of trust and authority, which they need to effectively govern their HOA community. However, to prevent board members from abusing their power, the association imposes a fiduciary duty on the board. It is an essential component of the board member code of ethics.

As fiduciaries, board members have a legal duty to act in the best interests of their HOA. Their fiduciary duties can be broken down into three parts: duty of loyalty, duty of care, and duty to act within the scope of their authority.

  • Duty of Loyalty: Those who hold board member positions must act fairly and in good faith to promote the well-being of the entire community. Board members must not make decisions that promote their personal interests or result in personal gain.
  • Duty of Care: HOA board members must make informed decisions. They must have sound judgment and do the necessary research before making decisions on behalf of the community.
  • Duty to Act: Board members must also act within the scope of their authority. They must follow the scope and limitations of their authority, which are outlined in the HOA’s governing documents.

These fiduciary duties of HOA board members ensure that they fulfill their roles and responsibilities.


A Complete List of HOA Board Member Responsibilities  

Here is a list of the roles and responsibilities of the HOA board of directors.


1. Compliance with Governing Documents and Laws

Compliance with Governing Documents and Laws | hoa board member responsibilitiesBoard members are tasked with ensuring that all homeowners comply with the governing documents at all times. This entails strict and uniform enforcement of HOA rules and regulations.

For instance, homeowners must follow the architectural standards of the association. Failure to do so will require appropriate action from the board — such as the imposition of violations and fines.

Board members also ensure that the HOA community abides by federal, state, and local laws. HOAs must comply with federal laws such as the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as other state and local laws that apply to HOAs.

By ensuring strict compliance with the governing documents and laws, HOA board members can maintain a high standard of living for homeowners. Compliance is also crucial in preserving the property values of the entire community.


2. HOA Budget and Assessments

The annual budget is one of the main responsibilities of the HOA board. To create the budget, the board must determine necessary expenses including operating costs, utilities, insurance payments, and reserve contributions. They then look at the estimated income from homeowner dues to check if it is enough to cover expenses. Apart from creating the budget, the board must ensure that the budget is maintained throughout the fiscal year.

Board members also have a responsibility to collect assessments. They must take reasonable action to ensure that all homeowners comply with their collection efforts. Otherwise, the board has the authority to impose fines, liens, or foreclosures on delinquent homeowners.


3. Maintenance of Common Areas

The HOA board of directors is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of common areas. Board members must create plans for meeting their maintenance responsibilities. Maintenance plans are essential so board members can keep track of assets and determine which ones need to be prioritized.

Board members perform routine inspections to ensure that shared assets are in good working condition and to avoid unnecessary breakdowns and extensive repairs. For instance, the board schedules monthly roof repairs to ensure that there are no leaks. This is cost-effective as emergency roof repairs can be very expensive.

They must also ensure that maintenance expenses are well within the limits of the annual HOA budget. If the HOA has a limited budget, the board determines priority maintenance tasks and ensures that deferred tasks do not put the community at risk.


4. Protect the Community

It is the HOA board of directors’ responsibility to protect the general well-being of the community. Along with uniform compliance and enforcement, board members must also ensure that there are no discriminatory practices or behaviors happening in their community.

They make sure that HOA rules are neutral and that homeowners are not judged based on their status, sex, race, or religion. It’s also important to provide individuals with disabilities with the accommodations they need to achieve a standard of living that is on par with other homeowners.

The HOA board must also promote procedures that will protect the community from crimes or injuries. For instance, if a certain house is posing as an immediate health or safety risk, the board has the authority to enter the premises and rectify the emergency situation.


Specific HOA Board Member Roles and Responsibilities

Apart from general roles and responsibilities, board members also have individual responsibilities based on the position that they hold. Here is a list of duties for the different HOA board of directors positions:


HOA President

The HOA president serves as the leader of the board. He or she supervises other board members and oversees most of the board’s activities. An HOA president also presides over board meetings and establishes order and decorum; appoints committees and delegates tasks; represents the HOA in activities and events and serves as the authority on HOA rules and governing documents.


HOA Vice President

The HOA vice president assumes the roles and responsibilities of the president in his or her absence. This ensures a smooth flow of business even if the president is absent. As such, the vice president must have the same capabilities as the president. The vice president may also perform duties that are assigned to him or her by the board.


HOA Secretary

The HOA secretary performs a variety of clerical duties. They keep the minutes of board meetings and publish them in a timely manner, provide proper notice of meetings, keep official records and documents, maintain a master list of homeowners, distribute reports and documents during meetings or upon request, keep track of document deadlines and requirements, and certify documents that are submitted to third parties or authorities.


HOA Treasurer

treasurer | duties of hoa board membersThe HOA treasurer is tasked with maintaining the finances of the community.

This includes accounting and maintaining financial records; overseeing collections and monitoring delinquencies; receiving monies and checks; creating and maintaining the annual budget; creating financial reports for the board and homeowners. The treasurer may also receive assistance from an HOA management company or use HOA software to perform their duties.


HOA Board of Directors Qualifications

The requirements or qualifications for being a board member will depend on your governing documents. Though not all HOAs will require their board to have a degree or experience in community management, it’s important for aspiring board members who have the initiative to learn about managing an HOA. To fulfill HOA board member roles and responsibilities, it’s also important for aspiring members to know their governing documents by heart. Choosing a qualified board of directors can then prevent financial mistakes and other consequences that can impact the wellbeing of the community.


Serving Your Community as Part of the HOA Board of Directors

If you think that being part of the HOA board of directors is all about power and authority, think again. Becoming an HOA board member is not easy; you’ll be faced with what seems like a never-ending list of tasks and responsibilities. As a volunteer position, there’s no compensation for being a board member either.

However, if you have a passion for serving your community, joining the HOA board of directors may be one of the most fulfilling roles that you’ll ever have. So make sure to talk to your HOA about board member opportunities.

Does your HOA board of directors need help with community management? If so, feel free to reach out to the Condo Manager team today! Call us at (800) 626-1267, email us at sales@condomanagerusa.com, or contact us online to learn about our HOA software solutions.



Know Your Rights: Legal Rights For Condo Owners

Many condo owners feel like they are not in control. They must follow condo association rules to the letter or else, face steep fines and fees. While compliance is certainly a prerequisite for living in a residential community, that doesn’t mean that you have to endure injustices or incompetence from your association. Always keep in mind these legal rights for condo owners.


What Are the Legal Rights for Condo Owners?

When owners purchase a unit in a condo association, they agree to take on certain duties and responsibilities, such as paying association dues and complying with the governing documents. In exchange, they receive condominium ownership rights, which gives owners the authority to use their unit in a manner that affords them a high quality of life.

Here’s a brief recap of the different documents that govern a condo association:


Condo Bylaws vs Rules and Regulations vs Declarations

  • Condo bylaws outline the procedures for how the association is to be run, particularly by the board of directors. This governing document includes the number of board members, duties and responsibilities of the board, length of board member service terms, frequency of board meetings, and board election and quorum requirements.
  • Declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) establish the “ground rules” for the condo association. This governing document also establishes the obligations of condo owners to the association and vice versa.
  • Condo association rules and regulations refer to the “do’s and don’ts” in your community. The board of directors creates rules and regulations that are in line with the condo association’s CC&Rs. While CC&Rs are recorded with the county recorder’s office, the rules and regulations are not. Thus, rules and regulations have more flexibility and can be amended according to established procedures.


Condo Laws

  • Federal, state, and local laws will always prevail over a condo association’s governing documents. If there is a stipulation that goes against condo laws, they then become unenforceable HOA rules. Condo laws vary by state so it’s important to check your local laws when determining legal rights for condo owners.


7 Legal Rights for Condo Owners

Buying a condo affords you certain rights such as exclusive ownership of your unit, the authority to rent or lease the unit, and the freedom to use shared facilities without fees. To have a pleasant condo living experience, keep in mind these legal rights for condo owners.


1. The Right to Access Condo Documents

Condo owners can, at any time or for any purpose, request to see the association’s governing documents, as well as financial reports, annual budgets, board meeting minutes, vendor contracts, reserve account statements, and insurance policies.

The only exception would be for documents with confidential information such as delinquencies. Condo owners also have the right to inspect these documents and make personal copies. Following a written request, the board must provide the documents to the condo owner.


2. The Right to Equality and Non-Discrimination

Americans with Disabilities Act | condominium ownership rightsIt is against the law for condo associations to discriminate against their owners based on race or ethnicity, nationality, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, and disability.

Condo associations must abide by federal laws such as the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as state and local laws.

Condo owners with disabilities also have a right to reasonable accommodations such as ramps and handrails so that they can have full access to their unit and the condo’s facilities. Similarly, service animals and emotional support animals are allowed as reasonable accommodations even if the condo has a “no pet” policy.


3. The Right to Notice and Meetings

Condo owners have a right to receive adequate notice of upcoming board meetings. Notices must be placed on common areas, including the entrance and elevators, or announced through text, email, social media, or the association website.

Condo owners also have the right to requisition an association meeting and request items to be put on the board meeting agenda. While condo owners are free to attend board meetings (except for closed sessions), they are not allowed to comment — unless the board president has opened the floor for discussion.


4. The Right to Run and Vote During Elections

Condo owners have the right to run for board positions and vote during the annual board elections. You can vote in person or by proxy, as long as there is authentic authorization. The election process should proceed as outlined in the association’s bylaws. This includes adequate notice prior to the board elections, the date of the elections, quorum requirements, and candidate requirements.


5. The Right to Protest

Condo owners have a right to expect that their board will perform their fiduciary duties to the association. If not, you have the right to remove board members who abuse their authority or are unable to fulfill their duties. Condo owners also have the right to protest rules and regulations that are unfair, discriminatory, or onerous.


6. The Right to Disciplinary Hearings and Arbitration

As a condo owner, you have the right to a disciplinary hearing before a violation fine or punishment is imposed. Condo owners can appeal the violation or explain their situation during the disciplinary hearing. Meanwhile, if a condo owner is in conflict with the board or another owner, he or she also has the right to arbitration or mediation to resolve the dispute.


7. File Legal Action Against the Association

legal action against COA | condominium owner rightsCondo owners have the right to take legal action against the association or other condo owners.  They can file for damages or injunctive relief on board members or owners who fail to comply with the governing documents and condo laws.


Legal Rights for Condo Owners: Fighting For Your Rights

Going against your association can be scary, especially since the board has the power to impose fines and other punishments. However, it’s important to fight for your legal rights as a condo owner. If you see that something is not right, speak your mind. In turn, though, condo owners must also fulfill their duties to the association. When both condo owners and board members work together, the entire condo community can live peacefully and harmoniously.

If you want more transparency for your condo association management, feel free to contact the Condo Manager team today! Call us at  (800) 626-1267, email us at sales@condomanagerusa.com, or contact us online to learn more about our HOA software solutions.



HOA Candidate Nomination: What’s The Process?

Behind every homeowners association is a set of board members, collectively known as the HOA board, running it. These board members are elected into position by the association’s members. With every board election, though, comes HOA candidate nomination.


Determining the HOA Candidate Nomination Procedure

It is important to know that every homeowners association may have different guidelines when it comes to the nomination process. State laws and an association’s governing documents usually dictate how candidate nominations should go. Thus, it is best to refer to your HOA bylaws to learn the exact details of your association’s election rules.

Typically, the nomination procedure will lay down how members can nominate candidates, what qualifications are needed in a candidate, and the general steps that the association must follow. The HOA board will normally start with a call for candidates. This is to invite members to send in their nominations through an HOA board nomination form. The board will also need to send a general notice to all members containing the nomination procedure as well as the deadline for nomination submissions.

Some associations might require candidates to write a letter of intent to run for the HOA board, while others may not. This letter simply confirms a candidate’s interest in running for the position. In most cases, candidates will also need to submit an HOA board of directors candidate statement. This statement consists of the HOA board candidate bio and how the candidate believes they can contribute to the community.

If you need board candidate statement examples, here is one:

HOA Candidate Nomination_HOA Board Candidate Statement

Download Your Sample HOA Board Candidate Statement Here


Candidate Qualifications

Who is qualified to run for the HOA board? It depends on the association. Your HOA bylaws should have explicit qualifications for candidacy. Generally, though, for candidates to qualify, they must first be a member of the association. This means the candidate must own a separate interest within the HOA at the time they are nominated. This is a mandatory qualification.

Another common qualification is that the candidate must be current on all payments, including dues, assessments, and applicable fines. If an association places such a qualification on a nominee, though, it should also expect as much from current board members. That means no existing board members should be behind on payments.

Some states, such as California, go into further detail about what kind of qualifications are allowed. For instance, a nominee may be behind on payments but has enrolled in a payment plan with the association. In this case, the board may not disqualify the candidate from running.

Apart from qualifications, associations may also have grounds to disqualify candidates. California law, for instance, allows associations to disqualify a member from running if, when elected, that member would be serving with another board member who owns the same separate interest. The same law allows disqualifications if the candidate has only been a member for less than one year or if the candidate has a past criminal conviction. You may also disqualify a member if they miss the deadline for nomination submissions.

If your association intends to disqualify a member for whatever reason, though, you must allow the member to engage in an Internal Dispute Resolution with the HOA. Associations may not disqualify members without conducting this first.


Methods for HOA Nomination of Candidates

Floor Nomination | hoa board nomination formThere are a handful of ways members can nominate candidates for the HOA board election, namely self-nomination, floor nomination, and write-in candidates.

Again, the specific methods for HOA candidate nomination should be written in your governing documents. This includes whether or not your association allows certain nomination procedures, such as write-ins and floor nominations.



Many associations allow members to nominate themselves to run for a position on the board. Although an HOA may disqualify a member from running with justifiable cause, it may not take away a member’s right to self-nominate.

If you intend to nominate yourself, you must answer the board’s call for candidates. Usually, this means submitting an application form or a letter of interest to the board prior to the deadline. Your HOA may have a specific format for such a form or letter, so it is best to check with your board first. Some boards will include a copy of the application form or letter with the general notice, while others have it up on their HOA website for easy access.

Here is a sample letter of interest for an HOA board position:

HOA Candidate Nomination_Sample Letter of Interest for HOA Board Position

Download Your Sample Letter of Interest for HOA Board Position Here


Floor Nomination

Floor nominations are typically not required of homeowners associations unless its governing documents say so. The procedure for floor nominations is simple. After the association meets a quorum, the board president will open the floor for HOA candidate nominations.

Members may then nominate individuals who meet the candidate qualifications. The validity of the nomination persists even if the board president fails to recognize it. Additionally, members need not second the nomination.

During floor nominations, members can nominate other members or even themselves, though there is a limit on how many nominations each member can make. Moreover, the nominated members also do not need to be present at the meeting. It is worth noting that those who have already sent their ballots through the mail may not vote for floor nominees.


Write-In Candidates

If your association’s governing documents permit write-in candidates, then you must allow members to do so. But, if your governing documents say no such thing, then you can eliminate write-ins altogether. In that case, if members do write candidates in on their ballots, the association or election inspector can disregard the write-in votes. Any other votes that were not written in remain valid.

You may wonder about the verification process for write-in candidates. If your association permits write-ins, then you must consider these write-ins even if no previous nomination took place. Should the write-in candidate accumulate the votes necessary to secure a position on the board, you must then contact the candidate and confirm if they want to accept the nomination.

It is essential to make it clear in your governing documents whether or not to allow write-ins (and even floor nominations). Consider amending your governing documents if ambiguity remains.


Closing Nominations

Either your association’s governing documents or your HOA board will set a deadline for nominations. In the case of floor nominations, the HOA board may close nominations for the duration of ballot preparation and mailing. Once the annual meeting takes place, the board can then reopen floor nominations.


The Final Review

Write-In Candidates | hoa board of directorPrior to distributing the ballots, the association must finalize its list of candidates and disseminate it to the candidates. The timing can vary depending on the location or the HOA’s governing documents.

For instance, in California, the association must make this list available at least 30 days before distributing the ballots.

The association must allow its candidates to review this HOA candidate information sheet. For any errors spotted, the inspector of elections must make the necessary changes to correct the inaccurate information. The inspector must make this correction within two business days of any reported errors.


Make Election Season a Breeze

It is imperative for every association to know and practice its HOA candidate nomination procedure properly. This will ensure a smooth nomination and election process, thus, avoiding wasting time and money. Always check your governing documents and state laws for any provisions relating to candidate nominations. When in doubt, consult with an HOA attorney.

Condo Manager can make the election season easier for homeowners associations everywhere. Our software can track homeowner information, print customized ballots, and send notices with the click of a button. Contact us today at (800) 626-1267 to learn more or fill out an online form for a free demo.