Success by committee – you may have heard the expression, but do you know how homeowners association committees can help Board members achieve success? Let’s start with the basics, a committee definition: an HOA committee is comprised of homeowners who analyze issues and help make recommendations to help reduce Board members’ responsibilities.
While some Board members are elected to their roles with the professional knowledge and/or previous HOA experience they need to perform successfully, others have little or no knowledge or training in community association governance. But no matter their prior experience, they must juggle their HOA responsibilities with obligations to their families, jobs, hobbies, civic involvement and other personal interests and responsibilities.
In addition to providing valuable assistance to the Board, committees also involve more shareholders with personal experience in the governance process, resulting in in a stronger, more involved community. As a bonus, they provide committee members with valuable association governance, making them a hands-on training ground for new community leaders.
Effective committees can be your community’s lifeline, so if you need a helping hand, consult with a seasoned Board member for guidance. We’ve also put together some basic facts and guidelines on committees to help.
As a general rule, they gather information, assess problems and recommend solutions to the Board. Generally, associations create two types of committees: standing and ad hoc. Standing committees are permanent committees that meet regularly to handle ongoing tasks. Ad hoc committees are short-term, temporary committees formed to handle specific tasks, like developing a new operating plan, amending the community association’s bylaws or solving an issue.
But no matter how they’re set up, every committee needs a mission, purpose, a strong leader, a sound agenda and a clear statement of goals and responsibilities.
When committee members work in tandem with Board members to shoulder some of the duties, they help strengthen both the association and the community – and that’s a win-win for everyone. Unless governing documents explicitly states otherwise, the board can determine things like: the number of people on a committee, qualifications to serve on a committee, how members can volunteer and/or be selected to a committee, and how members might be removed from a committee.
And it's important that committee members be the right people for the job. In HOA communities, committees handle everything from what kinds of mailboxes residents may choose, how the association should invest its reserve funds, or how to establish rules to determine when to take action on various improvements, additions and repairs.
There are other committees, of course, depending on the nature and needs of a given association. Most HOAs have a welcome committee to help new homeowners get acclimated to their new community, and some have playground and social/recreation committees, or even communication committees that help distribute information among shareholders.
Getting some residents involved may be as easy as simply asking them. I've heard people complain that the reason they don't get involved is because nobody ever invited them."