The pandemic has left some lasting effects on many businesses, including struggles with budgets and revenue. Homeowners Associations (HOA) have also been significantly impacted across the country.
In particular, the outbreak has led to an increase in expenses and a decrease in revenue.
Many people assumed the pandemic would be done and over with by now. Still, nobody expected the financial aftermath we are currently experiencing, including supply chain issues and lost revenues due to the previous restrictions.
Unfortunately, new strains and variants of Covid have been causing havoc, and people are not ready to resume old lifestyle habits. This puts pressure on HOA budgets, which are already tight due to inflation.
This article will discuss how the pandemic has impacted HOAs and suggestions to mitigate these effects.
Covid-19 Outbreak and HOA Budgets
The outbreak of Covid-19 has led to increased expenses for homeowners associations. This is due to the improved cleaning and sanitizing required to keep common areas safe.
In addition, many HOAs have had to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) for their employees, and the cost of these items can add up quickly, especially for larger HOAs.
In addition to increased expenses, the pandemic has also led to a decrease in revenue. This is because many people are working from home and are not using the amenities that HOAs offer.
For example, gyms, pools, and clubhouses are often empty during the week. This decrease in revenue can make it difficult for HOAs to maintain their budget.
The impact of the pandemic has led many HOAs to reevaluate their budgets. Some have decided to raise dues, while others have cut back on expenses.
In some cases, HOA board members have had to dip into their reserves to make ends meet. It is a difficult decision for many boards, as they want to maintain their HOA budgets in case the funds need to be used for an emergency.
Clever Ways HOAs Can Raise Funds During the Pandemic
The pandemic has been a challenge for homeowners association management experts. However, there are some ways that HOAs can raise funds to meet the increasing needs. Some of these include:
One way to raise funds is by holding a virtual fundraiser. You can do this through a platform like GoFundMe or Kickstarter. By raising money online, the association can reach a larger audience and collect more money than if they held a traditional fundraiser.
The HOA can offer special services to members during the pandemic. For example, some associations have started offering contactless delivery of groceries or prescriptions.
This is a great way to help members who cannot leave their homes and generate income for the HOA.
Increasing the dues may not be popular with HOA board members or community residents, but it can help in adding more money to the reserve fund.
If you go this route, it’s essential to communicate the reasons for the dues increase to your community and members to give them plenty of notice.
Cancel or Delay Events
Another way to save money is to cancel or delay events to help reduce expenses and eliminate the need for additional cleaning and sanitizing.
Many HOAs have already canceled their annual meetings and other events, and some have even delayed or postponed planned capital projects.
While canceling or delaying events may be a good short-term solution, it’s essential to make sure that you are still meeting the needs of your residents.
Be sure to communicate any changes to your residents, and make sure that they understand the need for these changes.
Reduce Administrative Expenses
Many HOAs are also reducing their administrative expenses. This can include reducing staff hours, cutting back on travel and entertainment expenses, etc.
If your HOA can reduce these expenses, it can help to free up money for other needs.
Rent Out the HOA Facilities
Another way to generate income for your HOA is to rent out your facilities. This could include renting out the clubhouse for events, renting out the pool area for parties, or renting out space in the parking lot for special occasions.
If you have facilities that are not being used regularly, this can be a great way to generate income and help reduce the board’s outlay.
Many HOAs have reserves set aside in investments like stocks or mutual funds. The pandemic has caused a decrease in the stock market, which has impacted the HOA’s budget.
However, it is necessary to consult with a financial advisor before making any investments. You want to ensure that you invest in a diversified portfolio so that you are not too heavily invested in one sector.
What Not to Cut From Your HOA Budget During COVID-19
When it comes to HOA budgets, there are some areas you shouldn’t cut, no matter how much the pandemic has impacted your community’s finances.
Here’s a look at three key areas to keep funded during these challenging times.
Maintenance and Repairs
Your HOA property needs regular maintenance and repairs, even DURING A PANDEMIC.
Postponing these essential tasks can cost your HOA more money in the long run, so it’s vital to maintain your typical budget for these items.
It’s more important than ever to keep open lines of communication with your community members during these uncertain times. Make sure you have a budget for website hosting, email services, and even printed newsletters.
Don’t let your HOA’s insurance coverage lapse to save money in the short term. If something happens and your HOA is found responsible, you could be facing a much bigger financial hit down the road.
Work with your insurance agent to ensure you have the coverage you need at a price you can afford.
Cleaning and Disinfecting Costs
Regularly cleaning and disinfecting your HOA common areas is crucial for slowing the spread of COVID-19. Make sure you have a budget for these essential costs to keep your community safe.
If your HOA has on-site amenities like a pool or clubhouse, you may have seen increased operating costs.
For example, you may need to hire additional staff to clean and maintain the facilities or make repairs. You may also have had to close your amenities temporarily due to government restrictions or health and safety concerns.
This can lead to a decrease in revenue if your HOA charges residents for access to these amenities.
The pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone. Homeowners associations have had to make some tough decisions regarding their HOA budgets. However, they can weather this storm and come out stronger on the other side by being proactive and informed.
What other ways has the pandemic impacted HOAs? Share your thoughts in the comments below.