Far too often, we are apathetic in our attitudes toward making needed change;
maintaining the status quo is most certainly the easier option.
So what does this have to do with your homeowners association?
Condominiums and Homeowners Associations are built on the ideal of self governance. Even in the simple framework of a homeowners association, apathy and complacency can plague your association with dysfunction. A shortage of willing volunteers often means that your board members will maintain the current situation because it is “good enough” and generally everyone is satisfied. This becomes dangerous when the complacency causes disregard for obvious or inherent dangers.
Board members must recognize when their complacency places the association at risk. Case in point: a homeowners association recently contacted an attorney for advice. An individual had been serving as their community secretary/treasurer for over ten years; we’ll call her “Jane”. Over time, Jane willingly and graciously took on a growing number of responsibilities. Other board members were pleased that she was willing to take on so much as it made their jobs so much easier. She had become, in effect, a one-woman board. Unfortunately, bad news travels quickly. Rumors were that Jane’s home was being foreclosed and that she had significant financial problems. When the board contacted Jane, she did not call back, soon her phone was disconnected. When the association was able to recover the community’s books, they learned that instead of the $80,000 they thought they had, there was less than $3,000!
It is certainly human nature to adopt the position that if someone else wants to do all the work, why not let them? Arguably it is easier to ignore the potential for future problems, rather than identify and implement check and balance systems to prevent them. In Jane’s community this was definitely the case. Jane was also responsible for maintaining the association’s fidelity insurance. Guess what? That’s right… no insurance. Say good-bye to the chance of seeing the community’s $80,000 balance returned!
As a board member you have a responsibility to stay engaged. If everyone does their share, honors their commitment and believes the extra steps will make a difference – your board will not fall victim.Share