By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
According to industry experts, as the calendar year comes to an end, many homeowners’, condominium, and cooperative associations should be preparing their annual budgets, holding an annual meeting and election for board or trustee members, and generally planning for the fiscal year ahead.
The to do list, as recommended in dozens of online articles, includes the following:
Review and compile annual report of budget status, create new operating and reserve budgets for coming fiscal year.
Review of contracts to be put out for competitive bids.
Arrange for financial audit as required by state law or governing documents.
Meet end of year tax reporting requirements, and prepare for annual filing of required tax forms.
Review annual maintenance and repair schedule, update reserve study, and make plans for tasks to be completed in the upcoming year.
Work with members to hold an annual Association meeting. Prepare for and conduct a fair election for board/trustee members. Distribute ballots or proxies as needed for membership votes on relevant association business (such as budget approvals or amendments to CC&Rs).
Prepare a “state of the association” report to distribute before or at the annual meeting. Consider distribution of an annual member satisfaction survey.
An important side note: to ensure they are well-informed, all candidates up for election should also read the CC&Rs and ByLaws, and ask for clarification, if necessary to understand the terms of these governing documents.
Every board member is legally obligated to follow the terms of governing documents.
And now, it’s time for a reality check
Quite often, I hear from HOA members that their Association fulfills few, if any, of the duties listed above. Some Associations do not even conduct an annual meeting, and the same board remains in place for many years.
Of course, official news columns or legal blogs generally fail to that acknowledge that fact.
So, I’d like to hear from readers: What’s happening with your HOA? Does your Association plan to hold an annual meeting this year? Do you trust the fairness and integrity of the election process? Is your HOA transparent about financial issues? Does your HOA communicate its annual goals and plans for maintenance and improvement? Have board members read the governing documents?
Considering all of the above, how would your grade your HOA?