People all come with their own set of biases, opinions, and circumstances. So while each HOA board might have a slightly different list of common issues, these can often boil down to a handful of basic human tendencies. We’ll address two of them in this article.

When Board Members Have Pet Topics

And by “pet topics” we don’t mean the proverbial cat poop discussion or noise about — well, noise. We mean issues brought up by certain board members which may have already been decided on by the board, but keep rearing their heads when that person continually wants to rehash the issue.

When a board member brings up an issue and the board makes a decision, that should be the end of it. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Sometimes a board member won’t be satisfied with that decision and insist on beating a dead horse during meetings. When this happens, one of the best things you can do is stick to the agenda — which incidentally should have been agreed to by the board. This might be easier said than done with someone who persistently pushes an issue. But the more consistent you are about sticking to the agenda in every meeting, the less likely people will be to push things that aren’t on it.

Your CC&Rs may have rules about having meeting agendas solidified a certain number of days in advance of a board meeting. In fact, some state laws require this, too. So when an overzealous board member calls you the day before the meeting and wants you to add their topic, you should have a solid reason for putting them off. Just remember to be kind when you remind them that it would be inappropriate (or even illegal) to do that, and cite the rule. You might suggest that they bring it up as a potential agenda item for the following meeting.

When Board Members Don’t Pull Their Weight

Chances are, this will happen to you if it hasn’t already. It’s frustrating when people don’t show up for meetings, follow through, or respond in a timely way to communications. Your CC&Rs probably have policies in place for dealing with for drastic board member fiascos or complete dead-beats. But before it gets to that point, how can you handle someone who’s loosey-goosey about their responsibilities?

It might seem counterproductive to give these people a specific assignment or let them be in charge of something. But much of the time, people who seem unengaged will snap into action when they feel a sense of ownership. 

If you try this and it doesn’t work out, try having another board member chat with this person. They might say something like, “we haven’t seen you much lately. Is everything okay? Being on the board is a big job. If it’s too much for you right now, I totally get it. Would you like us to get someone else?” Having this conversation with another board member might help them feel supported rather than reprimanded. Hopefully, they either feel that support and start getting engaged, or admit the responsibility is too much and give up their spot to someone who will be more helpful.

These are just two of the most common problems with HOA board members. How have you addressed common problems in your community?

Sterling Jenkins

Founder and CTO at GoGladly
Sterling has lived in HOAs and has managed them for a living. A self-described nerd, Sterling finds books about HTML5 and games like Settlers of Catan unreasonably exciting. His nerdiness extends to his love of camping, fishing, and hiking in Utah's breathtaking Rocky Mountains. He especially likes enjoying the outdoors with his beautiful and supportive wife and 4 awesome kids.

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