By Andrea Brescia
As times and social tastes change, your board might explore adding amenities to keep your community association current and in line with newer associations. The amenities that were in place when your association was founded might not be completely satisfying to your membership today—or attracting new buyers.
It may seem like tax season—and the paperwork that accompanies it—has just passed, but remember that as you manage your community year-round, you need to be aware of tax issues that could arise in the future. A common issue to keep your eye on is the use of outside, third-party workers to perform jobs, such as cleaning, in your community. If you don’t handle paying these workers properly throughout the year, you could get into tax trouble with the IRS or state and local tax agencies later.
Unfortunately, sometimes you have to charge your members late fees if they don’t pay their common expenses on time (unless you've established an acceleration policy, as discussed in "Cut Monthly Assessment Delinquencies with Tough Acceleration Policy"). You probably don’t want to charge late fees to members who occasionally pay late. But you might also feel that members who chronically pay late deserve the late charges.
Just because you have pet rules for your community, that doesn’t mean that members with pets will always follow them. Noncompliant members can create problems that range from annoying to dangerous. What can you do? Periodically send a letter reminding them of the importance of complying with your pet rules and pointing out how disregarding the rules disturbs other members and your maintenance staff. Your letter, like our Model Letter: Remind Pet Owners of Responsibilities, should include four key points.
In the not too distant past, it wasn’t uncommon for an employee to work for the same company for many years, or even for her entire career. But today, the average worker stays at each of her jobs for just 4.4 years, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And the expected tenure of the work force’s youngest employees—the so-called “Millennials” who were born between 1977 and 1997—is about half that.
Some aspects of association management will never change: You’ll always have to be aware of financial issues, deal with maintenance situations, hire and train staff, and work with board members to take the best possible care of the community. And there will always be a need for good and effective communication between managers and the association’s board members and residents.
In the October 2012 issue, we described ways to boost employee productivity (see “Implement ‘Workplace-Improvement Program’ to Increase Employee Productivity”). A recent study shows that this type of initiative is more important than ever. A new Global Workforce Study by global human resources consultant Towers Watson found that almost 63 percent of U.S. workers aren’t “fully engaged” in their work. Moreover, these employees say that they’re struggling to cope with work situations that don’t provide sufficient support.
Sometimes, to comply with the law, association boards must be restructured. If you find yourself in the position of having to deliver the news and help with the restructure, you could be faced with accusations by board members that you’re improperly trying to oust them for your own motives. For example, if you’ve had difficulty working with the current board members, they could assume that you’d like to replace them with members who will be more accommodating. The laws that apply to condo association and HOA board term limits vary from state to state.
With the presidential and other elections approaching, members may want to show their support for a candidate by posting signs on their lawns and porches, or putting posters or decals in their windows. But you don't want to end up with front yard “sign farms” that look unsightly. You also don't want a sign war between neighbors who have opposing viewpoints on political issues and post certain signs just to irritate their neighbors. All of that diminishes property values and looks tacky.