When HOA Board Elections Send You Running for Cover
Sometimes we glamorize rogues, from James Dean’s iconic 1950s turn in “Rebel Without a Cause” to Judas Priest’s 1980s metal anthem, “Breaking the Law.” But throwing caution to the wind – and rules out the window – is something better left to the entertainment industry.
In a homeowners association, especially something as potentially complicated and contentious as an HOA board election, following a clear-cut set of rules is the very thing that can save your sanity!
Why? Elections are important – they’re an annual event that helps decide who gets the responsibility for managing an HOA’s major financial matters and property maintenance issues. As a board, not following the rules could lead to serious problems, from minor misunderstandings with a homeowner to major infractions like inappropriately levied fines and misplaced decision-making power. The potential for those problems because even bigger, and the stakes higher, during an election process. One of the best ways to keep your election process on the straight and narrow – and you from running for cover – is to review your board’s rules and bylaws, and your state’s laws, well in advance of the election. Pay special attention to areas including:
- Communicating with homeowners. Refresh yourself on what you’re required to communicate, and then go over and above. Make it your mission to get your residents details (Bulletin boards! E-mail! Notes on the door!) surrounding the election, including all important dates, information about each candidate, and any important issues to be discussed.
- Counting votes. This area can be tricky if you’re not careful. Depending on the size of the community, or even your state, you may actually be required to have an outside vendor tabulate your votes. It’s also important to understand the process for voting by proxy.
- Righting wrongs. If, in your review of the HOA and board election guidelines, you find you’ve been doing something wrong, it’s your responsibility to make it right. Correct course, and let the appropriate parties know what’s being done to keep it from happening again.
So before you book that ticket abroad, spend a little time individually (and as a board) reviewing the rules. It just might make for a productive election that you’re proud to be part of.