Property managers play a crucial role in improving communication between the board and homeowners
As an association property manager, you take on many roles within your homeowners’ association (HOA). One such role includes the management of board communications, which is no easy task when residents become confused or frustrated and disputes arise.
So, how can you work to improve board communications?
Bridge the communication gap
Because you’re involved in many aspects of association operations, you’ll inevitably find yourself in the middle of tense situations. Often, you mediate when a homeowner wants to discuss changes with the board of directors, and emotions are running high.
This is where you can help dispel arguments before they happen. Listen to what the homeowner’s concerns are, and factor in how the rest of the community may feel about the issue. Does it involve this one resident, or will a change impact the community as a whole? Will everyone see positive results or just a few homeowners?
After you’ve assessed the situation and asked these questions, you can then present what you know to the board. Bridging the communication gap makes it easier for the board to hear an objective argument that will represent all sides.
Make sure there’s transparency
Another essential role you take on as a property manager is ensuring the board is transparent with residents. So any changes, assessments, or amendments to the governing documents are explained to homeowners. They should understand the reasoning behind the changes and how it will benefit the community.
Residents can become upset if a new rule is announced with little context or background, so this is something you can provide, or you can make sure that the board communicates with residents effectively.
Get homeowners involved
Because disputes can arise quickly between the board and residents, involve everyone in decision making, or at least the early stages. You can be the voice of the community in board meetings, representing the opinions of those who aren’t present and aren’t on the board.
This requires knowledge of each side of the issue, so it’s essential to ask for feedback from homeowners to nail down their concerns.
You can also encourage residents to get involved in any temporary or standing committees that are forming about a given issue and let them know they can attend board meetings and HOA events, as well as volunteer their time to the community. Another important thing to communicate is that if they’re unhappy with the board of directors, they can try to become a board member themselves when it’s time for the community to vote.
Improve internal board communication
In addition to bridging the communication gap between board members and homeowners, it’s also important to improve the way the board communicates internally. Are some board members communicating about issues without others? Are they talking via phone or email?
Encourage board members to email the entire board of directors. Doing so will keep everyone informed, and there will be a written record of the discussion. This could be important information to have down the line, and a board won’t be as successful if some members are leaving others out of conversations.
Make sure the board represents the community
On a similar note, the property manager is tasked with making sure the board is representing the desires of the community at large, and not just pushing their agendas. Because you will attend board meetings and run operations for the HOA, you have a unique position to keep everyone thinking objectively about what’s best for the HOA and not just a few residents.
You have a unique position in your association, and it allows you to improve board communications, both internally and with homeowners. But you also wear many other hats, including administrative and operations tasks.
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