A homeowner association (HOA) consists of members within a community who have come together to regulate activities in their neighborhood. You automatically become a member of an HOA after purchasing a property within their jurisdiction. As such, it is required by all residents to honor some obligations, such as paying HOA dues and following regulations. The association is led by the HOA board members elected into office to oversee the organization’s activities.
Managing an HOA can be very difficult since members have different personalities, with some refusing to pay dues. This article will guide HOA Managers with:
- How to collect association dues
- What to do when members don’t pay dues
- Why an HOA Management Company is beneficial during this process
Before discussing those mentioned above, let’s go through some of the HOA basics for those new to an HOA community.
The Basics of Homeowner Associations
An HOA is an organization usually backed by federal laws and entails members within a particular community or neighborhood. To become a member of a community, you need to own a property within that jurisdiction.
The association sets and enforces rules and regulations to be followed by every member of the neighborhood. Consequently, members elect their HOA board members to manage all the property’s maintenance and activities.
Every HOA has its set rules enshrined in a Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs). The document contains community standards, including how owners should maintain their buildings and other restrictions.
Any resident violating these rules can be subject to paying fines.
The Advantages of Homeowner Associations (HOA)
Being an HOA member comes with several benefits, including becoming part of a larger community that seeks the welfare of your neighborhood. The HOA does the following:
- Sets guidelines for all activities within the community
- Takes measures to enhance the value of properties
- Enforces community rules and regulations
- Ensures a uniform appearance of properties in the area
- Effectively manages the common areas (swimming pools, community center, sports facilities, etc.)
- Sets up proper waste management
HOA Board Members
The strength and vibrancy of any association depend on dedicated, competent, and visionary leaders. The same is required of homeowner association board members. For an HOA to live up to expectations, board members must fulfill the following responsibilities.
Enforce Rules and Regulations
As board members of an HOA, one of your utmost responsibilities is to ensure members comply with all set rules and regulations. Aside from the association’s rules, they must be aware of federal/state laws that directly affect their activities.
Members should have all regulatory documents to refer to when needed and provide each resident with a copy of the property rules and regulations to enhance compliance.
Maintaining Common Areas
Maintaining the common areas like walkways, entryways, hallways, swimming pools, fitness centers, entertainment centers, and other amenities is a prime responsibility of the board.
The hiring of landscapers, road maintenance, and replacing streetlights is also their responsibility. They must ensure the timely renovation/maintenance of such shared facilities as it adds value to the community and homes.
There should also be rules governing such areas to avoid litigations among homeowners.
Ensure Strong Financial Management
The financial wellbeing of an association solely depends on dues payments and other contributions as stipulated by the regulations governing it. HOA dues are the primary revenue source for every homeowner association.
Without it, you can’t fulfill the numerous financial responsibilities of the organization, including maintenance. Therefore, it is the mandate of board members to ensure that members pay their HOA due and on time.
This can be a challenging task because not all members may want to fulfill such obligations.
As board members, you should come up with various strategies to combat such happenings. In doing so, they should also ensure accountability and transparency. Recordkeeping is critical in financial management, and the board shouldn’t relent on that.
Collecting HOA Dues
HOA dues can be set up monthly, quarterly, or annually. Depending on the collection policy, the board needs to enforce the process for smooth running. In doing so, there should be a guideline to deal with residents who default.
Effective HOA dues collections can benefit from innovation and awareness. Sending out reminders via text messages, social media platforms, newsletters, or posted on a community website is an excellent way to reach all homeowners.
However, this may not be enough to get all residents to pay their HOA dues on time. Some homeowners may intentionally ignore the reminders, and further steps may need to be taken.
Suggestions for Collecting HOA Dues
Although this may seem outdated, it can still be an effective way of collecting dues. With this, an assigned member visits the various homeowner’s houses to collect the revenue in person.
2. Using Automated Methods
With the advancement in technology, electronic payment has become the order of the day. Most HOAs have joined such platforms to make dues collection easier and with less or no human intervention.
Automated collection is convenient, easy to use, monitor and track, and it’s highly efficient. Nonetheless, it also has downsides like being prone to hacking, requiring a constant internet connection, and may not be convenient for people who aren’t tech-savvy.
How to Deal with HOA Dues Violations
As already stated, some homeowners can be troublemakers and even refuse to honor their HOA dues payment. Such persons pose a financial threat to the association, and dealing with them can be exhausting.
HOA board members need to come up with strategies and punitive methods to deter such happenings. These could include:
Some homeowners may neglect to pay their dues because they are going through financial challenges. In such cases, having a payment plan can be a good remedy in helping them to pay.
If payment plans are allowed within your HOA regulations, use them accordingly to secure payments when a resident has issues paying. If you don’t have this stipulation in place, now is an excellent time to introduce it and take a vote.
Collecting from Renters
Once a homeowner decides not to pay their dues, the board may charge the renters. However, this can only be achieved when the renters previously agreed and signed such a condition.
Take Away Privileges
If the homeowner still refuses to pay HOA dues despite having a payment plan, the board can take away the privileges they enjoy. You can restrict their access to the community amenities and take away voting rights.
Hiring an HOA Management Company
HOA Management companies can manage your community with their experience and attention to detail to enhance the livelihood and development of the neighborhood.
You’ll get a team of competent and reliable experts who support general maintenance, regulations, property inspections, and various board activities.
If the residents are still not regularly paying dues after following the above suggestions, you may need to seek professional legal help. Remind them of their obligation to abide by the HOA rules and regulations.
When handling HOA dues and other regulations, hiring an HOA management company such as Silvercreek Association Management can seamlessly help you navigate these types of issues.
Contact us today for details on how we can help you manage your community and get the payments from any outstanding HOA dues.