How to replace an HOA board member who suddenly leaves

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There are certain communities which have formed a community association to provide for ongoing upkeep and maintenance. The board members are to follow the mandates set forth in that community’s CC&Rs.
But what happens when the board loses its members? Can they still function?
This is a challenge that is faced many HOAs across the country: how to replace a board member that unexpectedly leaves?
Who is Running your HOA Board?
An HOA board is staffed by the members of that community on a volunteer basis. Following the guidelines, these board members are voted into specific positions which come with a distinct set of responsibilities. In the best case scenario everyone in a residential community will take a turn serving on the board so that there is an ongoing fair representation.
Unfortunately, the reality many boards face is that just a handful of residents are willing to volunteer their time to participate. In some cases, nobody wants to run for an office. That could be a bit of a problem especially when it comes to mortgages.
If you were to check the fine print of a basic mortgage agreement with regard to a shared community environment, you would find that it stipulates that there is a functioning homeowners association. Without that there will be no mortgages granted, no refinancing, and no hope for anyone to sell their property. Hopefully, your current HOA won’t reach that type of crisis point. One way to avoid that is to create an atmosphere that keeps the lines of communication flowing and allows for every voice to be heard.
Building a Better Board
Even for HOAs that work with a hired community association management firm there is still a need to have a working board made up of some residents. You simply cannot surrender all the decision-making to an outside entity. Sometimes residents do not participate in board meetings or elections because they feel alienated. This can be easily resolved by clearly establishing the purposes of each board member and their responsibilities.
As a community association management best practice from The Management Trust, do not bury this information into the thick CC&R binder but spell it out in a memo or email that goes to all the residents as the new elections approach. It could also be a simple matter of having the current board reaching out to all the residents in the form of a cocktail party or potluck dinner.
It all goes back to the basic issue of how well do you know your neighbor?
A good working HOA will strive to hear the concerns of all the residents and not just through the proper channels of a board meeting. Even though they are still residents, board members should not become alienated from their neighbors.
If there is an issue of too much work being assigned to a particular board member, they should be able to ask for help to alleviate some of that workload. It is important for current board members to reach out to fellow residents and encourage their participation. This way there will not be a monopoly on HOA activity. The goal is not to make a HOA a board participation at drudgery but something that falls somewhat in line with true volunteering work.
This article is provided by The Management Trust.