HOA management positions can sometimes encounter tough ethical decisions. Even when you have only the best interests of the community at heart, it can be difficult to decide how to express those interests.
Do you put the neighborhood’s extra money towards pool renovations, or do you put it away in the emergency fund? Either way some residents won’t be happy with your decision, but they do need to trust that you are acting responsibly and with decency at all times.
Running an ethical HOA is never simple, but Gassen’s association management team is here to help with this guide on how to be as ethical as possible while performing your board member duties.
Create a Code of Ethics
First things first, create a code of ethics, or code of conduct, that your board members agree to follow at all times. These should be more than just guidelines, but principles that you must honor and standards that clearly define what is expected of your members.
Since board members are usually volunteers, some with limited board experience, the more resources they can use to help them feel more comfortable and confident in their role, the better.
Having a code of ethics heightens your HOA’s respectability to your residents, too. Signs of misconduct, or presumed misconduct, can lead to angry homeowners and spiraling problems between them and your board. Protect your board and give your residents peace of mind by always abiding by your code of conduct.
Know the Rules & Follow Them
It seems obvious, but board members not fully knowing their HOA’s rules and regulations happens all the time. It’s even worse when members disregard the rules or act above them.
All board members should know their HOA’s rules, budget, and their building or neighborhood. Record keeping is vital for running HOAs professionally and utilizing those resources regularly is important to maintaining the standards of the neighborhood, making decisions fairly and logically, and keeping the peace.
Work Within Your HOA’s Framework
Board meetings exist for a reason. Discuss, vote, and make decisions during board meetings, not at any other time. Ad hoc meetings or gatherings that take place without all members present or invited are inappropriate and degrad the integrity of your board.
The goal of your board is to facilitate the betterment of your community, so it is also important to support the other members of your board and the ultimate decisions made by your board. Even if you personally disagree with a decision, once that choice has been voted on and confirmed, show you support for it as a member.
Respect Your Board & Residents
Emphasize your professionalism as a board member. Treat your fellow board and community members with respect, courtesy, and decency. Being on an HOA board does not allow you a space to air grievances or attempt to control residents. Extend open dialogues with your residents and board members and regard opinions as valid.
Similar to working within your HOA’s framework, don’t discuss confidential matters outside of executive board meetings. Some information is for the board only and no other resident should be privy to it, like overdue dues, disputes between neighbors or between a resident and the board, etc.
Promote Inclusivity & Never Discriminate
While completely inappropriate, discrimination against homeowners and board members due to race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, color, and ethnicity is illegal. Stay unbiased and inclusive always, for legality’s sake and to show residents your trustworthiness and reputability.
Set a Standard When Selecting Vendors
Similar to having a code of ethics for board members, establish criteria for how to select vendors and contractors for the various projects and maintenance your community needs. There should never be an appearance of nepotism, discrimination, or conflicts of interest. Vet your vendors with a clear, consistent process.
It’s a no-brainer, communicating necessary information with your board members and your residents is vital for the betterment of your community. For better board meetings, keep everyone in the loop by sending out agendas of what will be discussed, record meeting minutes, and share those minutes for all residents to see.
Make you and your board members accessible by creating an online portal where you can update residents on neighborhood improvements and community members can ask questions or issue complaints that need to be addressed.
Let Gassen be Your Partner in Ethical HOA Management
With as difficult a task as HOA management is, you deserve quality property management services with a staff who always has your back. For exceptional property management and guidance throughout the Twin Cities, rely on our team, and see how professional your board can be. Contact us online or give us a call at 952-922-5575.