Five Things Your Board of Directors and Neighbors Won’t Tell You.
March 23, 2014
5 Things Your Board of Directors Won’t Tell You.
- “We don’t all like each other.” This should come as no surprise but many boards fight amongst themselves. Unless the directors run in a block (which creates a problem in and of itself) chances are your board is made up of different personalities not all of whom will play nicely with each other. Bottom line is that many people don’t like other people so why should volunteer boards be any different?
- “We haven’t really read the governing documents.” Ask most board members and they will cite chapter and verse of the association’s governing documents; problem is that some of them haven’t actually read those chapters and verses but have just heard from other members that’s what the documents say. There is a wide disparity in the knowledge base amongst the directors on this topic. Some diligent directors actually do read every word of the entire set of governing documents; others just think they did.
- “Some of us don’t pay our assessments on time.” A delinquent director is the classic case of “do as I say, not as I do.” Fortunately, delinquent directors are now automatically removed from office if they go beyond the 90-day mark but far too often some directors still pay late and/or violate rules to which other members are bound.
- “We prefer you not show up for meetings.” We’ve all seen how nettlesome and long-winded some members can be at meetings but still, the whole point of such meetings is to keep the members involved and informed about their community’s operations. Boards would be well advised to take the approach of “if you love something set it free” by making every effort to encourage members to attend-chances are they still won’t show up (see #2 below).
- “We think we know more than our lawyer, accountant, engineer, fill in the blank.” We have all seen how well decisions made by overly confident board members usually turn out. There is a reason that attorneys, engineers, accountants and other professionals make a livelihood out of representing private residential communities. A specialized set of skills is often needed to solve complex association problems. Boards who decide to go it alone either as a cost-saving technique or as a result of hubris often learn costly lessons the hard way.
5 Things Your Association Neighbors Won’t Tell You.
- “We never read the governing documents.” How many times must we go over this one? Please do not buy a property inside a mandatory association unless and until you have read (or retained someone to read) the governing documents to determine that you can live without that St. Bernard or monster truck. You will save yourself and your neighbors a lot of headaches and legal bills if you do.
- “We don’t really want to miss CSI to attend a board or membership meeting.” Board and membership meetings are not the most scintillating way to spend your Tuesday night especially after a long day at the office or running your household. Still, you really do waive your right to complain if you never show up.
- “If you specially assess us for any reason including necessary maintenance we will grumble and/or try to recall you.” Granted, the words “special assessment” are two of the dirtiest in a community association but how does one expect the roof to remain watertight or the pool to pass the Health Code if things are not maintained? Rather than threatening to revolt, a commitment to fully funding reserves might be a more attractive alternative to the special assessments which become inevitable when those reserves are waived year after year.
- “We will likely need an emotional support animal at some point.” Certainly, there are individuals who benefit emotionally and physically from a furry companion. However, if you are otherwise of sound mind and body, you must ask yourself if you are willing to “game the system” to get what you want. Perhaps it would be better to purchase in a community where pets are not only permitted but welcomed?
- “We think we can do a better job than you even though we don’t feel like actually running for the board or showing up for meetings.” See # 2 above. You may very well be a better candidate for the board but how will you ever know if you never show up or contribute your time and energy to making your community a better place to live?