It is essential to recognize that your Homeowner Association Board and Management Company are not health care professionals. The primary source of information should come from the federal guidelines and the CDC. Now that States are relaxing quarantine guidelines, many Associations are looking for ideas on how to move forward. There has been plenty of talk about the “new normal.” Now is the time for communities to leverage tools like remote meetings and community websites to get information delivered in a timely and safe manner.
How do the new normal standards apply to Homeowner Associations for the future, and how do we move forward?
Some of the things we have learned about hand washing and covering sneezes are basic hygiene, and it seems to work. Even when a vaccine is available many people will not partake. An association can’t force compliance, no more than they can control parking issues, pet waste, or speeding. How can a community move forward and still be a community? Below we outline three possible ideas on implementing moving forward policies post-Covid 19
How does our Homeowner Association move forward with common areas like the clubhouse and workout room?
It stands to reason that the clubhouse will need a higher level of sanitation after events. The community may consider installing hand sanitizer stations and hiring a professional company to clean the clubhouse. For now, you may also need to lower the amount to guests to comply with social distancing guidelines. It will be impossible to regulate privately held functions once the restrictions are relaxed, making professional cleanings a good idea. Consider raising the cost to rent as well to cover increased cleanings. The policy of allowing the homeowner to clean the clubhouse adequately may be questionable.
The same concept applies to the workout rooms. Leave plenty of sanitizing bottles and paper towels around. It is a good idea to post a” Use at Your Own Risk” sign.
How does our Homeowner Association move forward with Open Meetings?
In a previous article, we addressed that issue on how to set up a webinar and invite attendees. The remote meeting is a great way to ensure the safety of everyone while still allowing folks to be involved. You can unmute attendees when they have a question. It is also a good practice to send out a form to the community beforehand with questions the homeowners may have. The form will give the Board time to prepare answers. If you have a community website, host the form there to gather the data.
How does our Homeowner Association move forward with our management team?
If it is one good thing we learned from Covid 19, is that communicating via remote models is not only safe but convenient. Not having to leave the comfort of your home to travel to a Library or rent a meeting room is economical and practical. Getting more engagement is also a big plus. Being a board member becomes much easier when travel time is gone. Your property manager is also protected and can execute work orders during the meeting instead of after.
- Sending requests via your Management Help Desk creates a trackable event and makes it easier for directors to make sound decisions.
- Having a community HOA Website with a Members page is the best way to share recent financial documents and meeting minutes.
- Post landscaping schedules on the community website calendar as well as private events and pool openings.
- Sending email blasts with MailChimp is another excellent way to keep everyone informed.
- Use teleconferencing for board meetings—email meeting packets to board members before the meeting, so everyone has time to peruse the documents.
Rinaldo Acri says, “Above all else show kindness and patience to each other. Board members are navigating unchartered territory. Give vendors more time to respond to issues. The days of immediate repairs and response, especially for little items may not be possible. Stay focused on the bigger picture, allow for imperfection. We are all making our way and learning new ways to do business.”
Legal Disclaimer: This content is not legal advice. Your community is governed by state law, which can vary widely from state to state. Please note that the content is for general informational purposes only. Although we try to keep the information up to date, it may not reflect the most recent developments, and it may contain errors or omissions. ACRI Commercial Realty has not compared or reviewed this document relative to the law in any state. It does not warrant or guarantee that the contents of this document comply with the applicable law of your state. The contents of this document are not intended to be a substitute for obtaining advice from a medical professional, lawyer, community manager, accountant, insurance agent, reserve professional, lender, or any other professional. Community associations should seek the advice of relevant experts.