What Do Your Governing Documents Say about Board Communication?

hoa board communication

One of the most important jobs that HOA board members have is communicating with the association community. Is your board following the right procedures?

As a property manager, one of your most important tasks is ensuring that the right procedures are in place so that communication between the board and association residents is straightforward and efficient.

Even if the board has a basic process in place, it’s always worth taking another look at your governing documents. They may outline procedures that you’re not aware of or haven’t incorporated. These procedures were established so that conflicts can be resolved faster and more effectively, and can often help resolve existing disputes.

Remember that the governing documents can help you since the established guidelines and policies can’t be argued. Here’s what you need to know when you start to review documents to establish better board communication procedures.

What’s included in the governing documents?

Governing documents include the covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs), bylaws, and other documents that set forth guidelines for the association. Note that if any provisions in these documents conflict with HOA laws in your state, the governing documents will generally prevail.

The CC&Rs outline policies and requirements that board members and community members must follow. For example, they outline rules of the HOA related to what residents can do to their property or if they can have pets. Penalties are also outlined in the CC&Rs if these rules are violated. Processes for dues and special assessments will also be included in the CC&Rs, so that everyone within the community knows what’s expected of them in specific situations.

Bylaws are typically more centered around how the HOA should function and operate, whereas CC&Rs more often outline expectations of homeowners. Bylaws will also detail how the election of board members should work, in addition to the specific duties of officers and how much power the board has in decision-making for the association.

Other considerations outlined in the governing documents include how to manage the budget and the process for maintaining the common areas.

The HOA’s governing documents will also outline how communications should be handled with members of the community. This is especially important so that conflicts can be handled and resolved efficiently and smoothly.

It’s crucial for both community managers and board members to be familiar with all these governing documents. Regular reviews may be required, especially when a process or rule is in question.

Common communication procedures for the board

Sometimes the way communications are handled between the board and HOA residents isn’t exactly in line with what was established in the bylaws and CC&Rs. It’s worth taking another look to ensure compliance.

Communication considerations that are commonly outlined in governing documents include the following:

  • Board meetings. Governing documents often outline the procedure for allowing residents to bring up issues at these meetings and how the board should handle this process.
  • Letters from residents. Sometimes members of the community will send letters or emails to the board to voice a complaint or make a suggestion. Make sure that the board understands how they’re supposed to handle these letters, whether bringing them to board meetings or involving the entire board in the response.
  • Making an announcement. Governing documents also may outline the precise steps to take to communicate something to the community, whether an amendment to the bylaws, a change in policy, or other updates.
  • Enforcing rules. Another form of communication that is outlined in the CC&Rs or bylaws is how the board enforces policies and rules. How does the board issue fines or notices of violation? 

The specific board communication requirements outlined in the governing documents are important to understand and follow so that you can do your job correctly as manager. Take another look at the bylaws and CC&Rs, which can make your job easier since you’ll have proof that certain procedures must be in place. Conflicts will be easier to resolve when everyone knows the right steps to take.

You have a lot to manage as property manager of an HOA. One often time-consuming and complex process is vendor management. Use a platform like VendorSmart, which helps you find vendors that have already been vetted. You can manage all compliance documents in one place and continue monitoring for risks. Post jobs within the online marketplace and connect with the right small businesses. 

Contact VendorSmart to learn more about how the platform can help you improve vendor management for your HOA.