One reason that many homeowners are skeptical of their HOAs is because there is often limited information that is shared. Decisions are made, rules are changed, dues are increased, and members feel like they’re in the dark about it all. Kuester Management Group has released a statement to the press regarding the importance of maintaining transparency and being upfront with members about HOA operations.
“Conflicts often arise in the HOA when there is a breakdown in communication,” says Bryan Kuester, President of Kuester Management Group. “There are misunderstandings about why changes are occurring, or why decisions were approved or rejected. Being transparent about the board’s thought process and how – and where and why – money is being spent can help to curb a lot of issues.”
When the Association doesn’t share a lot of information, members often assume there is something to hide, says Kuester. However, this is not necessarily true. The board may have put a lot of time and effort into making a decision they feel is in the best interest of the community but did not go about sharing this with members in the most effective way.
Sending out regular updates via email, newsletter, or community website can keep members in the loop about projects and issues up for debate. It lets them know exactly what is happening and what to expect. This is better than waiting until the last minute or until someone asks. It shows that the board is engaged and recognizes the impact projects have on the community.
“Transparency also builds trust,” notes Kuester. “Providing a breakdown of exactly how dues are being saved or spent, what projects are a priority, and what rules are being added, removed, or updated gives homeowners a clearer picture of HOA operations. There is nothing to hide.”
Homeowners should be encouraged to attend open meetings to hear what the board is discussing and the reasoning behind decision making. It also gives them an opportunity to share their own ideas and insight or ask questions. It is important to keep homeowners involved so that they are an active part of the process and see that their input is valued.
Another way that the HOA can improve transparency is to provide access to public documents such as meeting minutes or project plans. Members can also request certain financial information. Have a designated section of the website for these documents and ensure that homeowners know what materials are available to them. If the HOA is following its governing documents and legal requirements, there should be no reason not to share information. After all, it is homeowners who are paying dues to fund the HOA, so they should know how their money is being managed.
“The board should establish open lines of communication and do its best to provide timely responses to member inquiries,” says Kuester. “Don’t just state the answer either – let members know why certain rules are in place or how decisions were made to clear up any confusion or misunderstandings.” Partnering with a property management group like Kuester can help HOAs to better manage communication, increase transparency, and build strong relationships within the community.
Visit www.kuester.com today to learn more about available services and how working with a property manager can benefit HOAs.
Kuester Management Group, a division of Kuester Companies, works to protect property values and enhance the quality of life in each of its managed communities. Providing a full range of association management services, Kuester Management Group has worked to foster strong, resilient, and unified communities across North and South Carolina. The company is proud to offer on-site property managers, all zealous for building strong communities meant to stand the test of time. More information is available at www.kuester.com or @KuesterCompany.