Living in a community that has a homeowner’s association (HOA) comes with a number of perks for its residents. If you have ever noticed a well-kept neighborhood where each home’s outward appearance looks clean and neat, chances are it is managed by an HOA.
While you may be quick to realize that an HOA is part of a community due to its landscaping and cohesive look, you may not know how an HOA operates internally.
The Basics of An HOA
An HOA is an association of elected officials that chooses 3rd party vendors to manage a neighborhood. These 3rd party vendors could provide landscaping, road construction, roofing and other needs required by the neighborhood, all while managing monthly dues collected from residents.
The board of directors in an HOA are elected into their positions to make the best choices on behalf of the homeowners in the neighborhood and to manage funds in the best way possible. Having a board of qualified officials is essential to the neighborhood, but you may not know how they get elected and how you can play a role in that process.
HOA Elections Explained
Every HOA has elections that occur when it’s time to choose new officials for the association. Generally, these elections are held at an annual meeting where residents can vote in new directors to the board. During this meeting the homeowners vote on who they feel the new HOA board of directors should be and who should fill each position on the board including a president, vice president, treasurer and secretary.
The election process for an HOA can vary by community and by state. Local and state laws will set forth the rules of operation that your HOA will need to follow, and that includes the election process. For instance, in the state of California, it is required that an HOA hires an election inspector to manage the election process. This is necessary to avoid any unintentional bias, favoritism or nepotism.
When it comes to the elections, while it may differ in many ways, there are similar steps in the process that are followed.
These steps include the following:
- There will be an established electoral process in the bylaws and governing documents for your community.
- There will be announcements and other notifications of your upcoming election which will be given to the members of the association (generally by mail or email).
- The election will be governed by the bylaws and election rules put in place by your HOA (this usually includes ballots, meetings, etc.).
- The election will be held on the agreed on and specified date. The votes are received and tallied, and the winners are declared.
Once the election is certified, new directors will step into their new roles.
What This Means for You
Now that you know the process, it is important for you to be involved. The way the residents’ fees are used by the HOA are heavily dependent on who is running the board. If you suspect any wrongdoing in your HOA or don’t like the current process, be sure to vote for people you trust to represent your community and be active in HOA meetings.