75 PLUS IDEAS TO IMPROVE THE HEALTH OF YOUR COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
A collection of thoughts and practices that will allow you to create the best community association for those who live in that community.
COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL PRACTICES
- Publish a newsletter on a regular schedule. Include personal information about residents (i.e., births, graduations, announcements). Welcome new residents.
- Create a welcoming committee for new residents to answer their questions about community living.
- Develop a web site and develop links to other community association websites.
- Distribute questionnaires to residents focusing on opinions and needs for the operation of the community association; publish the results in the community newsletter.
- Publish a community calendar.
- Make board minutes readily available to Co-owners.
- Make monthly financial statements and annual audits available to Co-owners.
- Use signs discreetly within your community and develop an aesthetically pleasing standard of graphics to create an identity for your community.
- Be reasonable when adopting new rules and regulations.
- Publish new rules and regulations.
- Word new rules, regulations and signs in a positive manner.
- Say “Thank you”.
- Say “Hello” to other residents.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PRACTICES
- Develop an active committee structure to support the Board of Directors.
- Actively solicit committee members.
- Use committees as a place to grow future leaders (i.e., board members).
- Develop a mission statement for your community. Evaluate the mission statement on an annual basis.
- Share the mission statement with all the members of the community.
- Send a copy of your newsletter to local politicians.
- Encourage local businesses to advertise in the community newsletter.
- Encourage voter registration among the residents of your community.
- Seek the participation of local political leaders to participate at special or annual meetings.
- Take an active position on local community issues.
- Include information regarding local facilities (i.e., schools, hospitals, libraries, law enforcement, religious institutions, etc.)
- Hold an annual community garage sale.
- Distribute quarterly financial statements to all the Co-owners.
- Prepare an adequate budget to avoid deficits.
- Encourage Co-owners to purchase their homeowners insurance from the agent for the community association. This will eliminate conflicts in coverage, allow for a blending of the blending of the two policies and provide better compliance with the insurance provisions of the Master Deed and Bylaws.
SELF GOVERNMENT PRACTICES
- Limit board meetings to 90 minutes to two hours. After that time meetings tend to become unproductive.
- Have detailed agendas published in advance of the board meeting.
- As part of the agenda include a section that would allow for a board of director to disclose a conflict of interest with any item on the agenda.
- Provide a forum at the beginning of each board of director meeting for co-owner comments or questions.
- Actively market attendance for annual meetings.
- Actively recruit nominations for openings on the board of directors prior to an annual meeting.
- Draft rules and regulations in a positive and constructive manner. Be reasonable.
- Communicate rules and regulations in a clear manner that will encourage compliance.
- Carefully adopt rules that are healthy for the entire community; practical, clear and enforceable.
- All rules can have exceptions.
- Be reasonable in enforcing rules and regulations.
- Consider limiting the number of terms an individual may serve as a board of director.
- Offer to use mediation or arbitration to settle disputes.
- Become a member of the Community Associations Institute.
- Provide training for board members.
- Consider a legal audit for the governing documents for your community to make certain they are in compliance with current law, to eliminate any ambiguities and conflicts.
SOCIAL, CARING AND ENVIRONMENTAL PRACTICES
- Develop energy savings and water conservation programs.
- Replace incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient
- Celebrate holidays.
- Hold a year-end holiday party.
- Hold an annual association picnic or block party.
- Follow the standards of the American Disabilities Act throughout your community.
- Create safe common areas for children to play. If you have playground equipment perform regular inspections to make certain it is safe and properly maintained.
- Encourage recycling if it is available.
- Create a social committee.
QUIET ENJOYMENT LIVING PRACTICES
- Make sure that community operations are resident friendly.
- Make sure the community is well-lit.
- Participate in a Neighborhood Watch Program if it is available.
- Eliminate any evidence of graffiti immediately.
- Ask the local law enforcement and fire department officials to tour the community and make recommendations to improve security and fire safety.
- Develop a fire safety program.
- Communicate to residents fire safety practices for their home such as fire extinguishers and smoke detectors.
- Encourage the use of carbon monoxide detectors.
- Recommend good security practices for homes such as good quality entrance locks or letting a neighbor know when a resident is on vacation.
- Create a list of vendors with good reputations that are commonly used within the community and make the list available to residents.
ASSET APPRECIATION MANAGEMENT PRACTICES
- Meet with local real estate agents to understand the strong and weak market points of your community association.
- Hold an open house for real estate agents and stress the strong points of your community.
- Encourage remodeling, upgrading and repairs of homes or condominiums by expediting request and encouraging them rather than restricting them.
- Find a realtor(s) who will provide updates on sales and closings within your community and circulate the information throughout the community, possibly through the newsletter.
- Distribute copies of the community newsletter to realtors.
- Maintain common areas and amenities to enhance first impressions (curb appeal) of your community.
- Make improvements that prepare your community for the future. Take advantage of new technologies in construction materials communications (i.e., wiring a high-rise condominium to provide access to the internet).
FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT PRACTICES
- Commission an independent reserve study.
- Update a reserve study annually.
- Encourage resident participation in a finance committee.
- Adequately fund reserves to avoid special assessments.
- Develop an investment policy and share the policy with the Co-owners.
- Quarterly distribute a financial statement to the Co-owners.
- Adequately budget to avoid deficits.