HOA Service Providers – Trust Them?

 

Homeowners associations are comprised of people from all walks of life, and for that very reason their boards of directors often consist of individuals who bring various levels of knowledge to the administration of the association. Some community associations will elect members to the board of directors based on their ability to offer specific areas of expertise, such as attorneys, accountants, or other trades considered to be of importance to their community. Still other association members will elect board members based more on their dedication to the community and a strong desire to serve their fellow homeowners. While these individuals may not have direct expertise in any particular area, they will often have the ability to expend the time demanded of a board member.

Regardless of the method in electing the board of directors, it is vitally important that the board members recognize that they are volunteers charged with overseeing the operation of what can sometimes be a very large organization consisting of perhaps millions of dollars in assets and affecting the daily lives of a few or hundreds or thousands of individuals living within the community. Their decisions as board members will have a direct impact on the policies of the association, upkeep and appearance of the common areas, and, ultimately, the quality of life and value of everyone’s home in the community.

In addressing their fiduciary duties to the homeowners, board members will inevitably need to retain certain trades to offer advice and perform services, and to carry out the board’s directives. These providers will likely include attorneys, accountants, insurance agents, and often association management agents. Based upon the complexity of the common elements within the community, other providers such as landscapers, pool companies, and various maintenance professionals may also be utilized. It is important that the board recognize that these service providers offer a degree of expertise in their particular area that is not expected of board members, and the board should be willing to thoroughly consider and act upon the advice offered by their professional service providers, even when that advice is not necessarily what the board members want to hear.

Published in Association Times: August 2008

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