Rules are simply part of running and an HOA, but rules can create drama. If you are in the position of creating the rules for an HOA, make sure you create rules that are enforceable and, at the same time, flexible. This will improve your chances of running a stress-free HOA and a community that people love to live in.
1. Make Rules that Community Members Can Follow
When establishing rules, make them reasonable. Creating rules that community members will struggle to follow will make it almost impossible to get compliance. Instead, consider what your community members need, and create rules that will deliver those needs. Also, be certain that you consider the seasons when citing homeowners for failure to follow a rule. For instance, if your community requires members to pressure-wash their houses, and someone has not complied, do not require this in the dead of winter. Be willing to be flexible to provide the time to comply when it’s possible to do so.
2. Listen to Community Members
In many states, community members are allowed to start petitions against rules and have them changed. If this is happening, or you are noticing a majority of members fighting against a rule, listen. Be willing to change the rules as needed to fit the changing needs of your community, and you will avoid unnecessary drama. Remember, the rules are in place to serve community members.
3. Use Site Inspections Fairly
Site inspections are a great way to ensure that properties are adhering to guidelines, both inside and out, but they can create drama. If you only inspect select homes, you may find your homeowners feel that you are targeting them. Instead, inspect the entire community, and be fair in your citations if you have any infractions. If a homeowner is upset, you can tell them that everyone was inspected, and help ease concerns.
Remember, an HOA’s goal is not to lord their power over residents, but rather to make the community a comfortable place for homeowners to live. Keep your rules feasible and flexible, and you will enjoy a drama-free community.