Deciding to engage a community management firm to assist with your HOA or condo association operations is a big step. Strong due diligence on the part of your board members, as well as deep understanding of community management contracts, is critical to choosing the right partner and protecting the best interests of your community and its residents. Staying up-to-date and informed about the law, regulations and contract agreement best practices is critical, regardless if this is your board’s first management contract negotiation or if you’ve decided to find a new partner after a decade or more with the same firm.

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If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you’ll have heard this before: Board member education and training is a key to successfully running your community and keeping the peace. With a slew of regulations, laws, and processes that boards have to keep up with, it’s no wonder that a frequent cause of tension or disputes is really caused by confusion or miscommunication. Rarely is it the case that a dispute’s root cause is malice or bad intent.

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Let’s be honest: a very, very tiny minority of HOA and condo boards--or their members--have nefarious intentions. Very often, disputes between the board and the community arise because of poor communication, inconsistent application of processes or simply failing to stay up-to-date on ever-changing legal regulations. While disputes in your community are nothing to scoff at, oversights in the legal arena could have dire consequences for not only your board but also for the long-term viability of your community.

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Preventing and managing legal challenges from residents, the government, the larger community or even fellow board members is always challenging. What is sometimes overlooked by HOA boards is the aftermath of legal action against a community. So, the HOA has lost a legal case--now what? Like preventing and managing legal issues, the aftermath of a lost case needs to be planned for and then facilitated carefully.

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Okay, so you’ve made your best effort to resolve conflict. You’ve attempted mediation but your HOA board is now a party in a lawsuit. Now what?

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Every community and every HOA board will encounter conflict at some point. Communities are complicated just like the people that inhabit them. HOA boards that accept and prepare for this reality in their governing documents and through training, while remaining sensitive to resident needs and emotions, are better able to resolve disputes quickly and before they result in a lawsuit.

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CC&Rs. Bylaws. Rules and regulations. These terms get tossed around freely, causing a lot of confusion about them and how they relate to the proper governance of an HOA community.

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Your community rules exist to protect residents, preserve property values, protect financial integrity and generally to make your community a great place to live. As an HOA or condo association board, it is your fiduciary responsibility to enforce your CC&Rs, bylaws and rules and regulations documents.

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As part of your board you are an ambassador for the association and the community. How you behave, what you say and what you post will have an impact on how your board is perceived by the residents and the public at large.

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Social media is an outstanding tool for disseminating information, creating community and accurately targeting the right audiences for your messages. However, there are risks involved. HOAs and condo association boards must take a proactive and educated approach to this communication tool to avoid negative consequences.

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