Accepting a board position for a homeowners association is no easy task- you can please some of the residents some of the time, but rarely if ever can you please everyone. For board members, serving the community they live in may seem like a thankless job, with 'active resident involvement' often taking the form of complaints.
Bad news travels fast in our super technical world, and stories of incompetence, expensive errors in judgment, and even outright criminal activity on the part of a board are quickly circulated. The goodwill, prudent decision-making and proactive approach many boards embrace don’t generally make for exciting headlines, but when shareholders and unit owners are pleased with operations on the home front, it validates their decision to live in their chosen communities. And a higher rate of resident satisfaction can reflect positively on a community’s value—both real and perceived.
Finding the Niche
While there are classes, workshops, and seminars on board operations, the best place for building or HOA administrators to seek inspiration is often right at home. Each community is different and each will require a bit of due diligence to find the right “sweet spot” for their particular demographics.
Attorney Leni Morrison Cummins is a member of Cozen O’ Connor’s Real Estate Department in Manhattan. She also serves on the Cooperative & Condominium Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association, and was happy to share some examples of positive board action from her experience.
“One of the condo boards I represent offers free toddler swim classes on Saturday mornings, and the board puts out a breakfast spread pool-side for the adults,” she says. Cummins points out this proactive association is very family-friendly, and says that in addition to developing a lifelong skill for the youngsters, the classes have facilitated and strengthened friendships for both the children and the adults who call the building home.