From the HOA Files: Homeowner education
special to the daily
A community means people; people engaged, residing harmoniously. Most are, however, unaware of their community relevance and responsibilities. Such member apathy is most often a consequence of poor interaction. It should be a board priority to reach out to current and new members frequently. This will achieve a greater sense of pride, connection and belonging. How does the Board achieve this? Through education.
Fortunately, the Colorado legislature recognizes this necessity. A community association must provide education to their owners at least annually. There is no statute requirement as to what specific topics are to be included, who should deliver the material, or how it should be delivered, only that any costs related to providing the education must be accounted for as a common expense. The content must relate to the general operations of the association and the rights and responsibilities of the owners, the association, and its board members. The board shall have the discretion as to how to comply.
While observing this provision, a board should try to be inspirational, constructive, and relevant. Educational sessions are also opportunities for the board to review their policies and practices, as well as gain appropriate member feedback, particularly on controversial or ambiguous resolutions.
Tools a board may use should include many, or all, of the following:
Welcome packets for new members.
Education (and Welcome) Committee.
Continually updated website with educational section.
Calendar of events.
Regular meetings that provide educational material and encourage participation.
Electronic resources – many informational websites exist with free resources; most provide educational content to subscribers (view the Community Associations Institute at http://www.caionline.org, or more locally, the tools available at http://www.hindmansanchez.com.)
n Local professionals – request a seminar by your association manager, HOA attorney, accountant, HOA consultant, or other relevant professional.
Coming soon – the HOA Information and Resource Center to be established by House Bill 1278, recently signed into Colorado law, with an effective “registration” date for all associations by Jan. 1, 2011.
Murray Bain is a community association consultant and is certified by the Community Associations Institute as a Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM). He is based in Frisco, and can be reached at (970) 485-0829, or firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, seek the counsel of professionals; your attorney, accountant, your management.
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