Though it makes for a funny anecdote, we actually had a fairly common experience attending our first Homeowners Association (HOA) Meeting. How many people first attend an HOA meeting still flush with the euphoria of having just bought their first home? Those feelings of euphoria apparently fade pretty quickly, if one of our vocal fellow HOA members is any indication; he spent the better part of 15 minutes complaining vehemently about sticks lying strewn across the hiking and jogging trail that encircles our development.
Having one of the very first issues raised in an HOA meeting be the immediate necessity to eradicate all the threatening sticks from the lovely forest does something to you: it makes you never, ever want to attend an HOA meeting again. Kudos to that guy for showing up, but this is one of the cardinal DONT’s of HOA membership.
Don’t just sit there and complain. Don’t complain about things the HOA or the HOA management company has no control over. Don’t, like so many homeowners, become apathetic toward your HOA simply because of one member who, in your opinion, goes too far.Another hurdle some people encounter in participating is that understanding your HOA can be difficult; Homeowners Associations are governed by laws specific to each state, and those laws can be quite confusing.
You need to familiarize yourself with state laws regarding HOAs and with the laws and bylaws of your own HOA. Talking with the HOA board members and with other homeowners in your HOA is one of the best ways to do soothed importance of communicating with other HOA members cannot be overstated.
And while you’re surely going to be doing that on your own street, attending HOA meetings or, in case you are not able to make it, obtaining the minutes from them, can save you a whole lot of time and trouble- not to mention money. So, how to go about attending HOA Meetings? Here are 5 Do’s and Don’ts: DON’T.
- Just complain, especially if you have not spent any time or effort volunteering.
- Contribute to an argumentative atmosphere.
- Monopolize meeting time so that others don’t have time to voice their concerns or present their ideas.
- Assume the HOA is useless or power-hungry.
- Waste everyone’s time protesting a fine you incurred because you were ignorant of the rules DO:
- Politely protest overly aggressive enforcement of HOA codes, if you feel it’s warranted
- Expect good things from your HOA. Assume the best of intentions
- Educate yourself on your HOA rules and your state’s laws governing HOAs
- Keep in mind that you’re only alternative to abiding by HOA laws is changing them by becoming actively involved in the HOA. With good reason and enough community support, you can do this. You’ll need your neighbors’ goodwill, though, so being a bully at meetings will only hurt your cause.
- Remember that association fees are required. They are not somehow the whim of your particular Hayat the end of the day, your HOA is, like so many other things, what you make of it. If you find yourself resentful that the same people are always put in charge of HOA issues, ask yourself whether that’s because they volunteer more often.
While it’s true that in any group of people, some will be more naturally inclined to take leadership roles and others to follow, too many homeowners become apathetic about their HOAs because of one bad experience, because they’ve received a fine and resent it, or because they make assumptions based on stereotypes of the typical HOA.