Living in communities with homeowners associations (HOAs) can create a sense of belonging and improve residents’ living standards. Communities can choose between running self-managed HOAs and working with community management firms. Each option has unique benefits that make it attractive for community developers. Here are some FAQs about organizing a self-managed community:
What Is a Self-managed Community?
A self-managed community relies solely on members of the HOA. The members are responsible for making decisions about the community, enforcing community rules, and managing finances. Such communities don’t have professional help from management companies.
How Can Self-managed Communities Be Organized?
Members of a self-managed community should develop guidelines and rules for running their community for smooth operations. Here are some steps you can take:
1. Create bylaws
Develop bylaws to guide members on how the community will be run. The bylaws should cover aspects like how members will make decisions, how often meetings will be conducted, how finances will be managed, and how conflicts will be resolved.
2. Choose a board of directors
Involving everyone in the community in the running of the HOA can be challenging since it’s harder for large groups to make decisions. This makes electing officers of the HOA highly important. The officers will be responsible for making decisions that benefit the entire community.
3. Establish committees
Create committees to handle specific tasks in the community. You can establish committees for tasks like managing common areas and overseeing landscaping. Committees can be elected by members of the HOA or appointed by the HOA’s board of directors.
4. Collect dues
HOA fees help pay for common amenities. Members of a self-managed community should develop a system for collecting the fees and establish guidelines on their use.
5. Enforce rules and regulations
Communities can only run efficiently when everyone follows established rules and regulations. Members should develop a system for enforcing community rules. Penalties for non-compliance should be clearly stated in community guidelines.
What Are the Benefits of a Self-Managed Community?
A well-organized self-managed community can present the following benefits:
- Cost Savings: Self-managed communities run by voluntary HOA members can save money as they don’t incur professional management costs.
- Greater control: Members are responsible for decision-making. They can make decisions that best align with their priorities.
- Fast decision-making: Self-managed communities can solve crises quickly. Board members are usually community members, so they can be available 24/7.
- Increased community involvement: Self-managed communities often involve members in their daily operations. This can foster a greater sense of community and shared responsibility.
How Can a Self-managed Community Maintain Proper Financial Management?
Proper financial management allows a community to meet its obligations. Here are some financial management tips:
- Create a budget: Forecast each financial year’s expected income and expenses.
- Create a security fund for unexpected costs. Budgeting can help run operations smoothly and protect community members from random HOA fee increases.
- Be timely when collecting dues: All community members should know when their fees are due and the penalties for late- or non-payments.
- Keep records: Records can help you stay transparent. Keep accurate records of invoices and receipts and make your financial information accessible to members.
You can hire a community management company to handle your finances. This is recommended if members don’t have financial expertise.
How Can a Self-managed Community Enforce Rules?
A self-managed community should enforce rules and regulations for order in the community. Here’s how you can implement rules:
Take time to educate community members about your guidelines and the importance of compliance.
Give non-compliant members a chance to rectify their behavior before imposing fines.
Impose penalties like losing privileges and fines to non-compliant community members to help correct behavior.
What Should You Focus on When Organizing a Self-managed Community?
Work on achieving consensus when making decisions to enhance the satisfaction of all members.
Proper communication can facilitate the smooth running of a self-managed community. Develop clear lines of communication, schedule regular meetings, and give members constant updates to keep them in the loop whenever the board makes big decisions.
Make sure all community activities comply with local laws and regulations. Get legal assistance whenever necessary to avoid conflicts with the law.
Invest in Proper Community Management
Proper community management can improve residents’ comfort. You can go the self-managed route if your members have the expertise to run your community effectively. Look for legal and financial knowledge for proper financial management and rule enforcement.
You can hire a professional community management company to handle the management tasks. This can be ideal if members don’t have the expertise required for the smooth running of a community, or if community members would prefer not to be burdened with the busyness of self-management. Contact a community management company for more information about their processes.