If you’re a Homeowner’s Association Board Member, understanding the intricacies of your responsibilities can feel overwhelming – especially so if you’ve just joined or have never served on an HOA board before. If you want to avoid the need for an HOA attorney in Georgia, take care to adhere to your roles and responsibilities as laid out by the state.
Recognizing Common Mistakes to Avoid Legal Issues
As we are all aware, mistakes are inevitable. Gaining an understanding of the typical errors that HOA board members commit will assist you in sidestepping future legal complications and in establishing a solid board for your condominium or neighborhood.
Failing to Efficiently Collect Overdue Fees
Moving into a new board position can bring on feelings of hesitation for fear of “rocking the boat.” We all want to be liked when we first start, but odds are you’re going to ruffle some feathers along the way – especially when you’re dealing with finances.
Being on the HOA board means you’ll be governing over your neighbors and friends, which can make collecting overdue fees an especially prickly endeavor. No one looks forward to talking their friends about money, but what’s even more uncomfortable is telling your tennis partner they have to leave the clubhouse or stop using amenities they haven’t paid for. Ignoring unpaid fees and shirking set standards of responsibility to save face could ultimately get your association into hot financial water.
Failing to Review Financials
As any HOA attorney in Georgia will tell you, finances will make or break an organization. Collecting fees timely, while important, is not enough to support an association financially. In addition, HOA fraud and embezzlement are common issues among HOA boards. Where many HOAs get into trouble is failing to review financials and transactions frequently and thoroughly. Take care to review all transactions and financial records in detail. It may take a while, but the diligence is part of your responsibilities as a board member.
Holding Casual or Improper Meetings
In general, board meetings must be publicized ahead of time and open to all members of the association. There are few exceptions wherein a private meeting may be permitted, but for the most part, they are open. Technically, two board members cannot discuss board matters over a cup of coffee, or during their commute, for fear that the discussion could be construed as an illegal, closed-door meeting.
Failing to Maintain Proper Insurance Coverage
A lesser-known pitfall into which board members may fall without the help of an HOA attorney in Georgia is insurance coverage. Maintaining proper, standard insurance coverage for the condominium or neighborhood is the responsibility of the board members. Trying to pay attention to renewal dates, lapses, and coverage amounts amid comings and goings of board members can prove stressful, so it’s important to maintain diligence and clear communication. This way, everyone is on the same page and insurance won’t fall through the cracks.
Acting Without Consulting an HOA Attorney in Georgia
When in doubt, consult with an HOA attorney in Georgia. People make mistakes, but there are some mistakes that could land you in legal trouble with your residents. It’s never a bad idea to consult a professional – you are dealing with people’s homes and lives, so it’s important to be right on point and understand what’s expected of you as an HOA board member.
Partner with NowackHoward for Guidance
NowackHoward is the premier law firm for HOA and condominium associations, and we can guide you and your fellow board members through some of the trickier territory of HOA roles and responsibilities. Questions? Give us a call at (770) 863-8900, or visit us online to schedule a consultation with an HOA attorney in Georgia and avoid these common pitfalls!