A code of ethics usually referred to as a code of conduct, is much more than a set of rules. The code of conduct of HOA board members explains the key elements you must follow and informs you when you have crossed the line.
In addition, it gives a benchmark against which you may measure your activities and habits. Remember, board members are unpaid volunteers who aren’t always sure how to manage difficult circumstances.
A code of ethics also assists your board in preserving civility and the perception of decorum. Even the tiniest indication of wrongdoing from the outside might enrage a horde of homeowners.
So not only will adhering to a code of ethics safeguard your board and the HOA, but it will also provide homeowners with peace of mind.
Consider putting the following in your HOA’s code of ethics:
Board members should be bound by their code of conduct to keep all association matters completely confidential, such as board decisions and actions concerning owner lawsuits.
That implies you should never address these issues outside of your board meetings’ executive sessions. Examples are litigation between the HOA and an owner, disciplinary hearings, delinquent accounts, and other sensitive topics.
Treating homeowners, contractors, lawyers, and fellow board members with respect and professionalism and establishing an open line of communication between the board and association members can go a long way toward forming a successful committee.
Regardless of personal differences, there must be unwavering politeness, and creating a sense of mindfulness will aid in the resolution of any conflicts that may occur.
Commitment to the Homeowner’s Association
Serving on the HOA board is similar to having a job, requiring your time and dedication. As a result, if you take the role, you should expect to dedicate some of your time to the organization.
That involves balancing board member responsibilities with your other obligations, attending all board meetings, and placing your HOA service above anything else.
Being a part of an HOA board is an accomplishment you should be proud of holding. Therefore, showing you are committed to the better of the community will go a long way with the residents.
According to the code of conduct, any board member found guilty of discrimination against another board or HOA member should be removed from the board immediately.
Fostering an open mind will aid in the reduction of bias and the creation of a more inclusive environment within the association.
Work Within the HOA’s Structure
Numerous boards make the mistake of talking about association matters outside of board sessions. This type of behavior is entirely wrong and, in some areas, illegal.
After giving appropriate notice and establishing a quorum, you should only discuss and vote on HOA topics during board meetings. Furthermore, even if everybody doesn’t agree with the final decision, the board should act as one unit and present a unified front.
Communication and Participation
To execute your duty as a board member, you must consider all the homeowners’ opinions. Setting shared goals for the board and the entire organization encourages the homeowners to participate and get involved more frequently.
Additionally, publishing the code of conduct with homeowners will increase the association’s exposure and accountability.
It takes time and effort to develop a robust code of conduct; however, ensuring that all board members carry out their responsibilities in the community’s best interests is well worth the effort.
Choose Contractors Based On Community Standards
To execute various tasks in the neighborhood, your HOA will need to hire expert contractors. Your board should adopt a standard method for contractor selection to avoid the appearance of dishonesty or corruption.
Obtaining competing bids, reviewing pricing arrangements, and conducting due diligence are all examples of this. Remember that your governing documents and your HOA board’s code of ethics bind you.
Potential Conflict of Interest
Suppose any board members have a conflict of interest with the board’s decision. In that case, the code of conduct should require them to abstain from that vote to avoid accusations of prejudice.
Furthermore, if circumstances prevent board members from performing their duties, they should resign. The primary goal should always be to represent the community with an unbiased opinion and hold each member accountable for their commitment to the HOA.
Observance of Governing Documents and Applicable Laws
This may seem self-evident, but community members must be able to trust their board members to follow all of the HOA’s laws and regulations.
Therefore, you must get familiar with the HOA’s Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs), bylaws, and other relevant papers while serving on the board.
Understanding and adhering to your HOA’s governing documents is a requirement of board membership, and your HOA board of director’s code of conduct should reflect this. Keep in mind that others in the community look to you for advice.
Members will believe they can do the same if you break the rules. You don’t get special treatment as a board member. However, you are under more pressure to follow the rules since you are expected to set an excellent example for others.
Discussions on Business
HOA Boards should use only scheduled meetings to discuss current topics or any details with all members present to conduct board business.
Outside of board meetings, board members should not conduct HOA-related business, especially if they intend to exclude other board members with alternative viewpoints. In addition, members of the board should never:
- Reveal sensitive information provided by contractors.
- Use or benefit from unauthorized association finances for personal gain.
- Make promises to a bidder or contractor.
- Share information with those interested in bidding on association contracts.
- Support or advocate for any illegal conduct or activity or violate a regulatory obligation.
- Obtain an edge over other residents, whether they are owners or non-owners.
- Accept any presents from residents, owners, suppliers, or contractors, whether directly or indirectly.
- Threaten, or harass any resident, board member, employee, owner, or contractor.
- Make the conversations, decisions, and comments made at any board meeting appropriately closed or held in executive session available to any owner, resident, or other third parties.
- Make personal attacks on coworkers, residents, or employees.
Every HOA should have a code of ethics that members of the board of directors must adhere to. This assures that board members behave with good intentions, honesty, and in the association’s best interests.
It also aids in the elimination or reduction of any trust concerns or doubts that homeowners may have regarding your board of directors.
Having and enforcing a code of ethics for your HOA board members ensures that everything is handled appropriately. When you have guidelines and rules in place, you will gain more respect from the community and its residents.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you implement a code of ethics that works for both the board and the HOA community.