The HOA board has responsibilities to fulfill within the community. If your board is not doing its job, you, as homeowners, can take action. Here’s what to do when HOA is not doing their job.
Do You Know What to Do When HOA Is Not Doing Their Job?
As a resident within a homeowners association, you naturally put a lot of trust in the HOA’s board members for holding up the success of the association and being good leaders. But, what do you do if things don’t go so smoothly behind the scenes? What if some of your board members don’t see eye-to-eye — or worse yet, what if they start neglecting their duties altogether?
The HOA not doing their job can be disastrous for the community. As a homeowner, you need to know what kind of action, such as suing HOA for negligence, can be done.
Understanding HOA Board Responsibilities
HOA board members have vast responsibilities to the association. Taking on the board position means board members have a fiduciary duty to make choices that positively affect the association. It also means setting personal interests aside, protecting the confidentiality of owners, and always making decisions within the law and for the betterment of the association in every aspect.
First and foremost, it’s important for each board member to understand their duties at all times. This way, there’s no confusion about what’s expected. The problem happens when board members understand their duties and responsibilities yet choose not to fulfill them.
Examples of Board Member Problems
There are many possible problems with HOA boards that you may encounter. It might start with a board member wanting to hire contractors for the HOA just because they know them. That’s a conflict of interest.
Worse yet, the board member might choose the contractor even if the workers aren’t properly insured or don’t offer the best price for the association.
Perhaps another member complains about every decision made that wasn’t his or her suggestion until they get their way, wearing down their fellow board members. Or, heaven forbid, sometimes, several board members even band together to rebel against the association. For example, they might decide not to pay their monthly maintenance fee.
Another example is failing to enforce the rules consistently or at all. What happens when HOA rules are not enforced? It can create misunderstandings for the residents of the community. Failure to enforce the rules can also put the community at risk of deterioration.
What to Do If Your HOA Is Not Doing Their Job
The HOA board not doing its job well can result in serious consequences. It can lead to below-average maintenance and repairs, which can then result in diminished property values. And, as a homeowner, you understandably want your investment to increase in value as time goes by. So, when board members neglect their duties, everyone in the community suffers.
Needless to say, homeowners like you would want to remedy the situation. But, what can you do if your HOA is not doing its job? Let’s take a look at your options below.
1. Elect Competent Members
What can I do if my HOA is not doing their job? The best way to solve the issue with incompetent board members is to elect competent ones in the next election. Don’t reelect board members who don’t do their job well. Remember that homeowners get to vote on who will lead the association.
Consider your choices carefully, paying great attention to their platforms and work ethic. If you’re greatly dissatisfied and think you can do better, you can even run for the position yourself. Just make sure you’re ready to take on such a large responsibility.
If you and your fellow homeowners can’t wait until the next election, you can hold it earlier through a recall election. Check your governing documents to see if a recall is possible. You should also check your state laws, as not all states have provisions regarding recall elections. California, for one, allows it.
2. Talk to or Hire an HOA Manager
Talking to the board can sometimes solve the issue. But, what to do if HOA does not respond? Some HOA boards feel they can disregard their responsibilities because no one is there to keep them in check. A good way to counteract this is to hire an HOA management company.
With an HOA manager onboard, someone can make sure the board does its job well. If your association already has an HOA manager, consider talking to them about any complaints you might have against the board.
3. Hold a Mediation
Homeowners and board members don’t always agree with one another. Disputes arise — that’s only normal. But, before jumping immediately to legal action, consider performing a mediation first. That’s a good idea of what to do when HOA is not doing their job.
Mediations are a healthy way to resolve problems between parties. So, if you and your fellow homeowners feel that the board isn’t doing a proper job, try telling them face-to-face in a safe and controlled environment. Here, homeowners can express themselves and board members can explain their side of things. With a professional mediator to balance things out, you may very well get through to your board members.
4. Take Legal Action
If the first three options don’t manage to fix your problem, then perhaps it’s time to take legal action. Homeowners can sue their board, provided there are grounds to justify the act. For instance, suing for an HOA not enforcing rules equally requires proof.
Hire a lawyer to represent you and your fellow homeowners’ interests. Then, have that lawyer get in touch with the board. Through the lawyer, let the board know of any concerns you have that you think should be addressed.
What Homeowners Can’t Do
Although it doesn’t happen to a lot of associations, some homeowners hatch the crazy idea of choosing not to pay assessments.
In their minds, by refusing to pay HOA fees, they can catch the attention of the board and get their way. While this option might seem enticing, it’s not recommended.
Homeowners have an obligation to pay regular assessments. It’s an agreement you made with the association from the very beginning. And, it’s not like renting from a landlord where you can withhold your rental fee until your landlord repairs your floorboards. Refusing to pay your HOA assessments is a blatant violation of your governing documents. And, you won’t solve one problem by creating another.
For the Sake of the Community
As a homeowner, you’ve hopefully experienced mostly great HOA board members who care about their association. But, if that’s not the case, learn what to do when HOA is not doing their job. The HOA board failing to do its job can be detrimental to the association as a whole. In turn, it can affect individual homeowners, as well as the property values in the community. As such, it’s important to make sure the HOA board is performing its duties to the best of its ability.