Five Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before Serving on Your Association’s Board
Posted in Board Eligibility, Elections Florida Condo & HOA Law Blog
Before agreeing to serve on your community association’s Board of Directors, please do yourself and everyone else a favor and run through these five questions first.
1. Do I have time to serve on the Board?
Running and being elected to your community’s board of directors can be an exciting experience as it is an affirmation of sorts. However, once the election is over there is that little matter of actually attending meetings and handling the work that may be delegated to directors. In self-managed communities, your successful service on the Board is likely to be even more dependent upon your ability to carry your share of the workload. If you have certain circumstances in your life which would prevent you from being an active and responsible director, you should reconsider your decision to serve.
2. Can I make unpopular decisions?
Being a community association director should not be a popularity contest. As a director, you will be asked to make decisions which can upset your neighbors. These decisions can range from having to lien and foreclose on the nicest guy in the community as well as passing a costly special assessment to make necessary roof repairs. You cannot play favorites and you should not abstain from casting your vote because you want to be liked. Also, trying to “fly under the radar” by allowing a dominant director or directors to make all the decisions or abdicating control entirely to a manager is a choice that will likely come back to haunt you.
If you cannot bear the thought of making someone unhappy (including yourself), then serving on the Board might not be for you.
3. Do I have an ax to grind with anyone?
Do you see serving on the Board as an opportunity to help your community or is it a chance to use the position with a less than noble goal in mind? While there is nothing wrong with new Board members joining with a goal towards correcting a former board’s mistakes, there should be concern if the battle is a more personal one with a neighbor or vendor. Board service requires a neutral stance where you are making decisions based on the overall good of the membership and not for personal gain.
Be honest with yourself about your intentions for serving on the board because if they aren’t good, you won’t fool anyone for long.
4. Am I willing to read and comply with the governing documents?
I have been reading governing documents for two decades and I have yet to come across a set which would qualify as a thriller. When you include amendments passed over many years, some governing documents can be comprised of hundreds of pages of legalese so reading them is not on most people’s “Wish List”. Still, if you agree to serve on your community’s Board, you have an obligation to read those documents. No, you do not have to perfectly understand them-that is what your association attorney is there to explain. You do, however, have to be prepared to comply with them along with everyone else. Also, attending a class each year will not only make you a better director, it might make you happier serving on the board.
5. Do I have skills that would assist the community?
Despite what some owners might think, association directors are not tied to a standard of perfection. These volunteers are human and they will make mistakes. Community association directors are tied to a reasonableness standard so one of the greatest skills you can bring to your Board of Directors is that of being a reasonable person willing to listen with an open mind, eager to seek assistance from experts when an issue is beyond your skill set and mindful of the tone and content you use when communicating with members, fellow directors and vendors.
I served on my HOA Board for a two-year term and during that time we undertook some major community projects, we made a few mistakes and I found myself on the losing end of more than one vote. I applaud everyone who volunteers and serves on a community association board with the right intentions. It is not an easy job but it does give you a different perspective from that point forward!
This material was suggested by Eugenia Volchek. Additional articles on Condominium Association legal aspects may be found by clicking HERE where this paper was originally posted
The article above is a description of the work of a good superintendent, not the BOD.
The practical things should be done by a very professional and very transparent management company with hired workers.
Through the management company, the BOD should use professionals of high level and without conflicts of interests.
Board members are not managers, superintendents,secretaries and are not hired workers, in the best case they are amateurs or just good people, even if they have good professions and intentions.
They are all volunteers and must have no compensation, or the compensation must be disclosed. Owners should not demand from them multiple chores, this is the function of management.
BOD does not have to impose their opinion without high level hired professionals and the explicit opinion of majority of owners
The presence and skills and hustles of BOD members are much less important than an ability to make strategic independent and beneficial decisions.Bad decisions can cost individual unit owners from 10,000 and 80000 and destroy the building and destroy the sustenance of people.
This is my personal (Albert’s) opinion and it is different from Eugenia’s