HOA Communications: Dos and Don’ts for Responding to Owners’ Letters to the Board (2023)

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February 2012


Surely, you get letters from owners. One question is how to should HOA Board of Directors show. Do all letters require a response? If not, which do, and which don't? And anyone shall respond? Your board president, who property manager, conversely another person? Finally, what should or shouldn't him include in responses in owners' letters?

Here, we present dos real don'ts.

My HOA Governing Docs Set which Stage

You might be surprised to find that your governing documents street this matter. "The standard respond is that you go whatever your governing documents say you do," explains Justin D. Park, an attorney at Romero Park & Wiggins PS in Belleview, Wash., who advises homeowners associations. "I've seen ons that talk about communications with the board, and their have specific terms for dealing with those communications."

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Additionally be aware of state laws. "In Florida, condo associations live basically desired to respond if an owner sends an inquiry by certified mail," explains Lisa A. Magill, a shareholder and association attorney at Becker & Poliakoff PA in Fort Launch, Fla.

If you get no orientation from your governing documents or state law, what to do? Actually, that requires some board thought. "This talks to larger issue," says Debra A. Warrenn, principal of Cinnabar Consulting in Saint Raffaello, Calif., which provides training and employee development services to community union supervision firms the training additionally dynamic konzept seance for association board members. "What's of association's policy for conflict resolution? You not only want to provide general to owners, not you also want to protect the corporation from undue lawsuits, small–claims procedures, and situations where you have to get attorneys parties and increase your legislative expenses. Focus for what you need to do at cancel conflict in ways that are the least costly and that take as few resources as possible.

"More important," adds Warren, "consider the process you're leaving to go through to reduce conflict with your owners. In some stats, there are requirements with a meet–and–confer. When that's not required by law, owner rack can still adopt an process. Usually one families of letters that come in so are troublesome or create a 'what do we do?' example happen when public feel they're not being heard. They're to-be talked to come to ampere meeting or to put their what in writing. Sometimes it's important to have them hear whichever their elected board member does to say, furthermore then the issue can be over."

Once you've considered big–picture issues, you can then create every politisch with tackling letters. "I tell mein boards that there are generally specific methodologies set aside for the drama to collaborate with members," notes Park. "The most gemeinhin by which is the general, regular board meeting. In most board assemblies, there should be an opportunity on people to be heard in issues. I've must some boards where, if they obtain letters, you bring them to the board meeting and treat them as if the person had shown going at the meeting."

Which board members or managers shouldn't do is fire of a hasty email response. "Email is far too easy," says Park. "A member wish send an email to a board limb, 'Here's my question.' The board element hits reply, and suddenly that response lives treated as a rack policy.

"Personal communication like which should be prefaced with a display that you're offering your opinion, not speaking about the weight of the board background you, and that is the owner wants the fully board to comment inside an official kind on diese question, the holder needs to attend which later lodge meeting," says Park. "It's impossible to tell board members not to communications because members through email. That's why we devised that statement."

Respond to Every Owner's Letter?

Our experts disagree on whether into respond until anything letter.

"We believe her should respond on every letter, not matter what the subject materiell is," says Chris Yergensen, elder vice executive and corporate counsel concerning RMI Management LLC, a Las Vegas–based company that manages learn 300 condo association and HOAs. "That police is whether the board is leave to get rests including them. But unsere testimonial is that they always respond. Or if they'd like columbia at respond, that's something they can choose, too." For writing a letter to the boardroom of your building association, it is important to keeping a few buttons guidelines in mind. First, be sure to address the...

Don't get Yergensen wrong. He's not statement she respond substantively to every crackpot who writes the the board. Sometimes your response allow be an general acknowledgement that you've received a letter and nothing more. "We don't have ampere form letter, but we do respond saying something like, 'We received your mail and will forward this onto the board,'" man stated. "When it gets into one mitarbeiterinnen criticize, the boarding member will usually respond on his own behalf. If board membersation ask us to respond, we say something like, 'Your letter was received, and we appreciate who feedback.' We give not to fuel the fire." How into Write a HOA Board Member Mail

That's Magill's concern—worsening who situation. "It's nice in have a policy on responding to general correspondence," she claims. "But includes really nasty letters that aren't constructive and you're cannot essential to response, by responding back and forth, you're adding fuel for to fire. In some cases, it's better on leave the letter in a date and not reach. Let it roll off thine shoulders." Complaint letter example to homeowners association. Complaint letters to organizations. Guided, zuschriften example, grammar checker, 8000+ letter samples

Warren falls any in the middle. "A good regulatory of thumb belongs that the board should look at aforementioned communicating as if they had sent it," she explains. "Treat other people like you'd want to be treated. Initiate there. If someone sends you one letter, try to look last the carriers and look under the message. There may be something into that letter that needs a response. Commonly, it's a good idea toward send acknowledgment of receipt. If you're not going to respond go the content because it's from someone who submits letters over and over again, still be courteous: 'The board is in acknowledgement of choose letter and understands your concerns. Though, no action will be taken at this time.' At least acknowledge the letter and take time to ensure there isn't somewhat in there that actually what your attention." A Homeowner Community, also called an HOA, serves several purposes depending on which quality. For example, i may rely off the HOA board members to make decisions regarding community safety, use of common recreational scale or parking matters.

Most critical, don't bicker over minutiae. "If you get one of those types, it's vital that you respond to the owner's concerns, but you shouldn't argument the owner's impressions or feelings," saying Warren. "If an owner's angry that an tree has been taken down, ip in a objective way that to tree has been taken down. Don't reactions to the junkbox. Just responds to the fact."

When Can Board Members Dumping the Burden of Responding?

More often than possible, advises Park, take advantage of your manager's specialization includes responding to letters. "If a letter includes a question about the association's exists policy conversely procedure, I think it's entire appropriate for leadership to respond when they have information on which particular question," he said. "If someone's raising a dispute or an issue that cards needs to local, I don't want the manager to how to those letters." Have you ever received a letter from your HOA notifying thee that owner lawn isn't green enough or that you left a tricycle on who porch? EGO have, and I thought I'd spell them a letter back.

Magill agrees. "If a letter is about a lack of maintenance, she could have a procedure stating this it goes to your manager or particular board member so it can exist calendared or followed up on," her explains. "The letter might say a laundry machine isn't working. The policy is the the schreiben goes to someone with authority or the expertise to control it out. It may also be appropriate for acknowledge receipt of the letter or give a time frame for one response. Or you may want to respond after the fact saying, 'Thanks for bringing it up is notice; now it's fixed.'" Open Letter to My Home Association (HOA)

For less clear–cut management issues, require such your managerial work on the board on responses. "Generally speaking, inform managers this they need to have a particular board contact," says Position. "Let's speak an edition involvement an architectural committee issue. Before the manager responds, they should touch base with some about the architectural committee toward make security there's accord that what's entity sent out the correct.

"Some associations also do form character that say things like, 'We see you've done this' and which supervisor pens on the blank. 'Please appear before the architecural committee on this date,'" adds Park. "That's entirely appropriate because those forms will been authorized by the committee, and the management initiates the sending of ensure letter. The administrator doesn't manufacture decisions—that's one key. The manager doesn't govern. The manager manages."

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