Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Lean on Me...and Your CAM too!

Overheard between two IRS agents talking about a tax code provision:  “Just because you don’t understand it and I can’t explain it doesn’t mean we can’t enforce it.”
While the above might be an argument for “limited government”, when it comes to community governance, Board of Directors should never demonstrate such narrow thinking.  In fact, just the opposite is the best way to address - If the purpose of a rule can’t be explained to your neighbors, it’s either a bad rule that needs to be reworked, or the Director has failed in his/her obligation to self-educate on community association governance.

Not only should a Board member be able to reasonably support the governing documents, but he or she should proactively see that homeowners are constantly made aware of key components of communal living.  Consistent newsletters and email blasts are a regular feature of well-run associations:  Usual topics include pet ownership, water damage and insurance, pool rules, and collections. While each Board member can not be expected to be an expert in every aspect of the community's covenants - it is their responsibility to educate themselves, ask questions, and get answers. The Board has many resources to do so - attorneys, vendors, and most importantly - its community association manager!

Your community association manager (CAM) is a great resource for obtaining article ideas, and may be able to provide fully-formed articles ready for use!  They are also there to help and support you when such issues arise.  In addition, Community Associations Institute (CAI) provides copyright free newsletter articles to members of their organization – at least one of your Board Directors should be a member of this entity to access valuable resources for the benefit of your community.  You may find details at

While some members may grouse at the effort involved informing the community on regulations, such proactive measures greatly reduce the stress, anger and confusion that otherwise occurs when a homeowner is suddenly faced with community rule.  The best enforcement action is the one that never has to occur! 

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