5 Answers Your Property Management Visitors Must FIND on Your Website

By  –

Websites on the Internet have an average conversion rate of two percent. What does that mean? It means that 98 percent of website visitors are not doing what you want them to do – like filling out a form on your website to learn more about your property management services.

It’s up to you, to grow your property management business, to make sure visitors can quickly find the information that matters to them so they choose your company over your competitors. At Fourandhalf, we’ve worked on hundreds of high-converting property management landing pages and we’re excited to share the 5 details you need to have on your website to convert more visitors today.

What Do You Do and Why You’re Special

People searching for property management services can still end up on the wrong page. It seems obvious, but make it easy for people to see exactly what you do (property management) and where you service (whatever city of market you’re in). This is as simple as displaying at the very top of your home page: “[Area you service] Property Management.”

Next, you need to demonstrate what makes you special. The best way to do this is by addressing the pain point that matters the most to your clients. Ask yourself, “What’s my customer’s morning thought?” As this will help you pinpoint your customer’s biggest headache when it comes to property management.

Once you are able to identify the issue, you’ll be able to position yourself as the company that solves that problem. This can be as simple as a tagline:

Case Study #1Tough Time Placing Tenants

Gulf Coast Property Management learns after speaking with new prospects that the main challenge for Bradenton landlords is placing a tenant.

Notable QuoteI’m not able to find a qualified tenant to my rental property. 

The Solution: Mention the average amount of time it takes for you to rent out a property.

Good Property Management Tagline

Case Study #2: Burned By Bad Service 

Hampton & Hampton learned that many of their clients are coming to them after a bad experience with other property management companies.

Notable Quote: I can’t seem to find a good, professional property management company.

Solution: Mention your experience and the accreditations that you have achieved.

Good Property Management Tagline 2

Chances are, this copy is already on your website! Don’t hide the juicy stuff that can really draw your visitors in. If you are able to connect your clients’ pain points to your solutions, then you will be the company that gets the phone calls.

What You Offer

Can visitors quickly understand what you offer? Show them how they can engage with your services so they not only know what you do, but how it will benefit them. Real Estate Connections does a great job in showing what they offer to landlords and owners.

Why Are You Trustworthy?

Give your visitors’ confidence that you are qualified to help them! Validate your work by including testimonials and reviews that you have generated on the internet. This will give visitors peace of mind that you’re a company people like to work with. Reference the associations you’re active in. When you’re affiliated with professional organizations, you’re demonstrating that this is your passion and your focus, and you’re dedicating your life to being a better property manager rather than someone that is just chasing a quick buck.

Independence Realty does a great job in letting their customers speak for themselves. Their use of Fourandhalf’s Managed Reputation widget has translated into new business for Independence Realty by allowing them to showcase their best reviews. Show your reviews, affiliations, and credentials, it will go a long way in getting that owner phone call.

What Do You Want Them To Do?

This is an area people tend to forget. You only have a limited amount of time with your website visitors. You are taking them on a journey, so remember to tell them what you want them to do. It is as simple as asking them to book a free consultation. You want visitors to provide their information, and you need to make it easy for them to do so. You can’t have visitors getting so far into your page and then not knowing what to do.

Bonus-Tip: What Can They Do If They Are Not Ready to Buy?

Not every landlord on your site is ready to buy; they may be visiting sites for research. So, you want to give that landlord a reason to visit your site again. This is why creating blogs and articles is so valuable. Blogs giving your best advice in handling rental property in the area gives landlords a reason to visit your site. If you want to get advanced, include free downloadable materials, such as a free e-book or a free rental analysis from sites like Rentometer or RentRange so that you can stay in touch with them when they are ready to buy property management services.

Your website is useless if it’s frustrating to navigate. Make sure your visitors can find what they need immediately, and give them a good reason to contact you. If you have any questions on how your website can help you grow your property management business, please contact us at Fourandhalf.

About Nitu Sidhu

Nitu brought to Fourandhalf a Google AdWords certification where he began working on client’s PPC Campaigns. A year later, he eventually led a team of three in working with over 180 clients on hitting their marketing strategy. Today, Nitu works on taking care of Fourandhalf’s own marketing initiatives.

Building a Model to Help Restore Oroville Dam’s Shattered Spillway

https://player.vimeo.com/video/223679839

Anyone who contemplated the wreckage of the Oroville Dam’s main spillway back in February — either while water was pounding down the shattered concrete structure or when the flow was stopped later and the enormity of the damage was fully visible— probably had this thought cross their mind: “That is going to be tough to fix.”

Officials with the California Department of Water Resources were apparently thinking something similar. They got in touch with researchers at Utah State University as part of the process to figure out just how to approach the job of rebuilding the 3,000-foot-long concrete chute.

The department hired the university’s Water Research Laboratory to create a scale model of the spillway to help assess its condition after it breached and broke apart and to test concepts for its reconstruction.

“When we were contacted back in February, DWR had no idea what was feasible in this construction season,” Michael Johnson, an associate professor of hydraulic engineering at Utah State, said in an interview Thursday.

Michael Johnson, a faculty member at Utah State’s Water Research Laboratory, alongside the lab’s scale model of the Oroville Dam spillway.The model was created to help California water officials plan for rebuilding the partially destroyed structure. (Utah State University)

“They realized they may have to run this thing again this year, before it’s finished. So part of our work was evaluating conditions for this coming season,” Johnson said.

To do that, Johnson and a team of fellow researchers, engineers and technicians built a 1:50 scale model — essentially, a replica that’s 1/50th the original’s size — of the wrecked spillway. To create the very realistic 3-D model, Johnson says, the team used lidar (light detection and ranging) data from the Department of Water Resources.

The lab has since created a version of the model that depicts an intact spillway. The purpose of Spillway Model 2.0 is to test design features under consideration for the rebuilt structure.

Among those features being examined on the model: aerators for the surface of the concrete chute that are designed to prevent or dampen some of the destructive effects of water that prototypes suggest can move down the steeper sections of the spillway at 130 feet per second — nearly 90 mph.

The Department of Water Resources and its contractor on the project, Kiewit Infrastructure West, have outlined a spillway rebuilding plan stretching over two construction seasons.

A technician welds a section of Utah State’s Oroville spillway model. (Utah State University)

In the first season, which began in late May and is slated to last through next November — later if weather and reservoir conditions allow — crews will demolish and rebuild most of the lower section of the damaged concrete chute.

At the same time, workers will undertake a second massive project to reinforce that unpaved hillside designated as the dam’s emergency spillway. A 1,730-foot concrete weir at the top of the slope and adjacent to the main spillway is designed to allow uncontrolled flows down the slope from Lake Oroville to the Feather River. The slope eroded rapidly when water flowed over the emergency weir in February, threatening to undermine the weir and unleash a catastrophic flood.

To try to stem erosion in the event the emergency spillway is pressed into service again, DWR’s plan calls for building a huge “cutoff” wall on the slope beneath the weir. The water agency has said that work should be finished by November.

In the second construction season, contractors will rebuild the upper portion of the main spillway chute and build a massive concrete “splash pad” below the emergency weir — another step intended to prevent erosion.

Utah State’s project is not the first time hydraulic engineers have created a model to test the design of the Oroville Dam Spillway.

If you’ve dipped your toe into the history of the dam since February’s crisis — wondering, for instance, exactly what the engineers who designed the complex had in mind when they decided to create an emergency overflow down a bare hillside — then you may well have stumbled onto a document labeled HYD-510.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation produced the 189-page paper in 1965 to summarize the results of spillway design testing it had performed at the request of the California Department of Water Resources, which had puzzled over how to configure the structure.

Just as a reminder, major dams need spillways to regulate the levels of the reservoirs behind them. They allow excess water to flow at a controlled rate through or around dams and prevent reservoirs from flowing over the top of the dam itself. In the case of an earthen embankment dam like Oroville, an overtopping event could erode the dam, undermine its structural integrity and lead to collapse — a calamity.

The design of the spillway at Oroville presented some special challenges, though not necessarily unique ones, because of the sheer size of the dam (you’ve read by this time that it’s the nation’s tallest) and the reservoir it would create as it held back the waters of the Feather River watershed (the reservoir, Lake Oroville, is the second-largest in the state; when it’s full, it holds enough water to supply about 7 million California households for a year).

Now back to HYD-510.

The report describes the process of testing conducted at a Bureau of Reclamation lab in Denver, and it’s full of details that might never occur to the casual spillway-watcher.

For instance, how much water the main spillway and the nearby emergency spillway were designed to handle, and under what conditions. One of the big areas of inquiry was how different configurations of the the channel outside the massive spillway gates would affect the speed and turbulence of the flow heading into the spillway’s concrete chute.

More than 50 years and one major spillway crisis later, Utah State’s researchers are revisiting many of the same problems.

Partners in the program achieve benchmarking and energy efficiency improvements

Starbucks incorporated metering in its stores, along with weather-based lighting and HVAC, reducing utility costs by 6%.

Since its inception, the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge has helped businesses and organizations hold themselves accountable with the goal of making buildings 20% more energy efficient. By expecting partners to measure and share energy usage data, many partners are well on their way to this goal and 18 have achieved their portfolio-wide goal.

In the 2017 Better Buildings Progress Report, the program shares its partners’ successes – namely that they have produced savings of 240 trillion BTUs and $1.9 billion in cumulative energy and cost.

One company highlighted in the report, Starbucks, saw significant improvements through power metering. Metering systems allowed Starbucks to measure the performance of equipment and customer comfort in its stores. It also used local weather conditions to set in-store temperatures and lighting, reducing utility costs by an average of 6%.

“Through the Better Buildings Initiative, hundreds of leaders from the public and private sectors are demonstrating innovative approaches and deepening American investments in critical building infrastructure,” says Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “By planning ahead and investing in cost-effective energy efficiency strategies, partners are bringing better buildings to our communities and improving the everyday places Americans live and work, while creating new and lasting jobs.”

The report also commended the Wendy’s Company for its benchmarking efforts, as it began actively recruiting franchisees to join the Better Buildings Challenge. For those that joined, Wendy’s offered technical and benchmarking support through a third party to support franchisees with energy efficiency. One such franchisee now features all LED lighting and efficient HVAC equipment, which has yielded significant energy savings.

Moreover, the program has helped boost the widespread adoption of metering practices. Two of the Better Buildings Challenge’s specific actions include:

  • Holding an Energy Management Information Systems workshop with over 30 program stakeholders. Hosted by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, participants learned more about submetering, occupant engagement and M&V 2.0.
  • The Berkeley Lab’s Center of Expertise for Energy Efficiency in Data Centers published metering guidance that helps data center operators identify what they need to make better energy efficiency decisions for their facilities.

To read the report, visit betterbuildingsinitiative.energy.gov.

What to Do When an HOA Board Member is Breaking the Rules

by HOA Manager –

The ultimate goal in a homeowners association is for everyone to be respectful and live together peacefully. However, it’s hard to accomplish both of these goals when you have members breaking the rules – especially if it’s a board member. It’s the responsibility of an HOA board to protect, maintain, and enhance the Association through its leadership, so what happens when one of its own is breaking the rules?

Board members should be treated like any other members of the HOA. Being a member of the board doesn’t give them special privileges to break rules. They also aren’t exempt from any of the HOA rules and regulations. When a board member is breaking the rules, they should be held accountable and go through the proper processes as any other HOA member would. This includes:

  • Making sure the member has a copy of the HOA Rules & Regulations
  • Sending a violation letter notifying the member of the violation
  • Fining the member if the behavior continues
  • Consulting legal counsel

Depending on the situation, it may be a good idea to seek legal counsel early on in the process because you are not an attorney. Even if you think you know what you’re doing and are trying to save money, you are still putting the Association at risk of being sued.

For example, if you call the board member out in a meeting they have grounds to sue. Instead, request an executive session to discuss the situation privately.

Who Can Call a Board Meeting and Can an Officer Refuse?

Any board member can ask for a special session. Anyone who holds an office on the board (such as president) cannot refuse to attend. The board also cannot vote someone off the board, but it can strip them from holding an office position – they would just be demoted to regular board member.

An officer on the Board cannot refuse a board meeting nor do they have implied authority to make independent decisions. These responsibilities are listed in the Bylaws.

On the flipside, members can’t call meetings, but they can request to be on the agenda at a board meeting. Members can start a recall petition and only the membership can recall a board member – otherwise it would be chaos and your board members would continually turn over just because someone didn’t like them.

All of this applies unless your Association has developed rules of conduct that say otherwise and detail out specific actions to take, and all board members have signed it.

As an HOA board member, you open yourself to living a more public life within the homeowners association. It’s your responsibility to conduct yourself accordingly because, let’s face it, people talk too much and some will find any excuse to find fault with people.

If your board is finding that homeowners and board members are consistently breaking rules, it may be time to revisit specific rules to see if they’re unreasonable and need to be changed. This is just one way board members can make a reasonable business decision.

The Board may also want to consider hiring an HOA manager to both hold them accountable and help them navigate the governance of the Association. Without an HOA manager, some board members start to see themselves as “special” and take advantage of doing wrong for their gain.

17 Legal Rights of Homeowners Living in HOAs

Homeowners associations act as both landlords and mini-governments to their members, which means homeowners have rights that HOAs should both acknowledge and protect. This requires mutual respect from both parties: homeowners must respect the HOA’s authority while the association must respect a homeowner’s individual freedoms. Yet the challenge is overcoming the classic one-sided perspective of seeing any conflict as only a board member or only a homeowner problem. Honesty, transparency, and respect are the foundations of community in every association.

Some boards of directors, when they become frustrated by an individual owner, don’t want to allow the right to inspect the books. They don’t want to be bothered. On the other hand, many homeowners grow suspicious when their board withholds information, and may even pursue legal action. So, what’s right and what’s unfair? Is there any legal protection for homeowners?

The answer is a resounding yes. In this article, we’ll discuss what homeowners can expect when living in an HOA, whether it be a condominium complex or planned unit development, as well as provide a list of homeowner rights specifically sanctioned by the Davis-Stirling Act.

What to Expect as an HOA Homeowner

In California, homeowners’ rights are established by the governing documents of the HOA, the Corporations Code (where it establishes guidelines for associations to govern their members), and the Davis-Stirling Act. Before a homeowner can question if they’re being treated unfairly by their HOA’s board, they must first learn their legally protected rights as part of the membership.

What Homeowners Should Expect from Their HOAs

Upon joining an HOA’s membership, homeowners should expect a certain quality of treatment from their association. These expectations are based on rights established in the law, or on basic standards of decency and respect.

  • Homeowners deserve a response to an inquiry, unless of course the inquiry is ludicrous or threatening, or the demand(s) are intended to harass.
  • Homeowners should expect that HOA financial and other records will be kept in a routine manner for reasonably easy access.
  • Homeowners should expect disclosure procedures which ensure easy access to most documents within a reasonable time and without unreasonable restrictions.
  • Homeowners should get a timely notice and a fair opportunity to be heard if the HOA intends to take disciplinary action against them.
  • Homeowners deserve consistent treatment in enforcement of rules and regulations.
  • Homeowners deserve a reasonable opportunity to vote in important elections or to appoint another to vote on their behalf.
  • Homeowners deserve to be informed of their voting eligibility if they do not qualify to vote per the governing documents before a vote is held.

Homeowners should try to educate themselves as much as possible on HOA rules and regulations to ensure they are being treated fairly and justly by their association.  Useful information can be gained from attending HOA educational seminars, sharing information amongst fellow members, reading publications and journals, and researching on the web. If you don’t know where to start, try asking your HOA’s manager, or reading this article on the basics of HOA operation. By knowing what is expected of the HOA and its governing board, you can better understand where you stand in the scheme of things, and most importantly, what rights you have as a member.

What the Law Expects of Homeowners

Homeowners should also keep in mind their own responsibilities under the law. There are two crucial court cases that affect the law for California condominium owners. The first is the long accepted principle first identified by a Florida District Court of Appeal in Hidden Harbour Estates, Inc. v. Norman, which is frequently cited in California condominium court cases. It states:

Inherent in the condominium concept is the principle that to promote the health, happiness, and peace of mind of the majority of the unit homeowners since they are living in such close proximity and using facilities in common, each unit owner must give up a certain degree of freedom of choice which he [or she] might otherwise enjoy in separate, privately owned property. Condominium unit homeowners comprise a little democratic sub-society of necessity more restrictive as it pertains to the use of condominium property than may be existent outside the condominium organization.

Therefore, condominium owners are expected to relinquish a bit of their freedom due to the nature of their living situation.

In the second case law, Nahrstedt v. Lakeside Village, the California Supreme Court ruled that HOA boards must put the collective rights of the community above the individual’s rights when it comes to enforcing the CC&Rs. This decision meant that despite any individual expectation of the HOA’s duty, the board will always put the community’s needs first, even if it means letting the grass go weeks without being cut to pay for roof maintenance

17 Member Rights Established by California Law

Board Meetings

Homeowners are entitled to 4 days’ notice and an agenda for all open association meetings. If an executive session is held at a separate time, homeowners must be informed at least two days before the meeting. No owner notice is required for emergency meetings (Civil Code Section 4920). Homeowners may attend and address the board at open meetings at the time and in the manner established by the board (Civil Code Section 4925). There are penalties in the statute including $500 fines for failure of the board to comply.

Inspection of Records

Homeowners may inspect many of the financial and other records of the HOA, although they have to pay the direct costs to produce the records for inspection (costs for copying and postage). If a homeowner requests the redaction of information that is private or could lead to identity theft, they must pay for those costs as well (Civil Code Section 5205(a)(f)(g)). There are penalties in the statute including $500 fines for failure of the board to comply.

HOA Records Homeowners Have a Right to Access
Annual budget report (Civil Code Section 5300) Reserves Summary (Civil Code Section 5565) and account balances
Interim financial statements Executed contracts
Approved vendor or contractor proposals State and federal tax returns
Any policy changes (Civil Code Section 5810) Meeting agendas and minutes
Membership lists Check Registers
Governing documents Documents for prospective purchasers (Civil Code Section 4525)

For the complete list of association records, see Civil Code Section 5200.

Disclosures

Homeowners are entitled to annual and other disclosures, which include: rules, fines, financials, budgets, reserves (including component list and funding plan), meeting minutes, assessments, insurance information, architectural procedures, and collection policies. Homeowners should also receive notices of dates, times and agendas of association meetings. (Civil Code Sections 4950(a)5300, and 5520), and are entitled to distribution of the balance sheet and income and expenses for the prior fiscal year within 120 days of the end of the fiscal year. (Civil Code Section 5300)

Hearings for Disciplinary Action

Homeowners are entitled to notice and the opportunity to attend a fair hearing if disciplinary action is being considered against them, including fines or the suspension of privileges (pool access, etc.). All homeowners are entitled to notice of fines through circulation of a fines schedule and notice of hearings by first class mail. (Civil Code Section 5855)

Communicating with Other Members

Unless the intention is suspect ( e.g. retaliatory conduct or business solicitation), homeowners are allowed to inspect and copy the HOA membership list or, alternatively, get access via mailing of the communication with labels/envelopes through a mailing house, so long as they pay the copy and mailing costs. (Corporations Code Section 8330 et seq., Civil Code Section 5205(a))

Serving on the Board

Homeowners have the right to run for the board if they qualify. Qualifications should be established in the governing documents and will typically require the member to be in good standing (or having fully paid assessments and not in violation of the governing documents). Members are also entitled to a fair election with equal access to HOA resources as other candidates, including incumbents. (Civil Code Section 5105(a)5135) There are penalties for failure to allow these rights in Civil Code Section 5145, including a potential $500 per violation fine against the association or possibly even the board.

Display of US Flag

Homeowners may fly flags in their separate interest areas (not including the common area). Boards can set reasonable parameters relating to the public health or safety, placement, type of display, and type of material. In any action to enforce this section, the prevailing party shall be awarded reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. (Civil Code Section 4705)

Notice of Airport in Vicinity

If the development is located within an airport influence area, any HOA’s CC&Rs recorded after January 1, 2004, must contain a specific statement giving notice of an airport in the vicinity. There are special rules for San Francisco. (Civil Code Section 4225)

Signs, Posters, Flags, or Banners; Exceptions

Associations must allow posting or displaying of noncommercial signs, posters, flags, or banners on or in an owner’s separate interest. However, rules and limitations can be made for the protection of public health or safety or if the posting or display would violate a local, state, or federal law. (Civil Code Section 4710) The board can also restrict signs that constitute a nuisance or display obscenity, and can control the signs made for HOA elections (with reasonable restrictions).

Use of Drought Resistant Landscaping

Homeowners must be allowed to incorporate some forms of low water-using plants or synthetic turf in their landscaping. (Civil Code Section 4735)

Electric Car Charging Stations

As of January 1, 2012 homeowners are entitled to install electric car charging stations at their expense but are required to get architectural approval. Associations may control place and manner and set restrictions for safety reasons (Civil Code Section 4745).

Modifying Unit for Access for Disabled Persons

Homeowners can request to make modifications to the property in order to gain access or facilitate the use of their units at their own expense, as long as these modifications do not impair the structural integrity or mechanical systems or lessen the support of any portions of buildings. Boards may set some conditions but cannot deny these requests unless the modifications will…

  1. Adversely affect the health or safety of neighbors OR
  2. Are not necessary for access or use because of viable alternatives. (Civil Code Section 4760, Fair Housing Laws)

Rights of Ingress, Egress, and Support & Access

Homeowners cannot be barred from “ingress” and “egress” (which are legal terms meaning getting to and from) their units, and cannot be barred from physical access to their units, unless…

  • The HOA has a court order
  • The HOA has an order pursuant to a final and binding arbitration decision
  • Reconstruction is needed
  • A hazardous condition exists
  • The unit is uninhabitable or red tagged. (Civil Code Sections 4505 and 4510)

Dogs, Cats, and Other Pets

No governing documents (including operating rules) passed or amended after January 1, 2010 may prohibit an owner from keeping one pet, subject to reasonable rules and regulations of the association. (Civil Code Section 4715) This does not mean a resident can keep a dangerous dog or nuisance pet on premises.

Satellite Dishes and Antennas

Homeowners are entitled to have satellite dishes. The board can set requirements relating to screening and placement. (FCC Rule 207)

Solar Installations

Homeowners are entitled to have certain solar installations. Boards are entitled to set reasonable restrictions that do not substantially increase the cost or decrease the efficiency. This includes requiring homeowners to remove their panels if and when the HOA has to maintain the roof. (Civil Code Section 714 and 714.1)

Towing Vehicles

Homeowners are entitled to know that the association can tow vehicles that violate the governing documents and must be given notice that they are in danger of being towed prior, which may be by tagging, a letter, or otherwise (Vehicle Code Section 22658.2).

Conclusion

Keep in mind that this list of rights and entitlements, while a good reference tool, is not all-inclusive. Homeowners can do a lot of other things according to HOA policies, but boards generally have ultimate control over architectural approvals, parking assignments, and any exterior additions or modifications, use of the common areas, and conduct (accomplished commonly through rule setting).

Homeowners who assertively pursue their rights through reasonable and proper channels can change their HOA, while boards who wrongly or purposefully deny rights of homeowners who are behaving reasonably will only hinder the HOA’s purpose. And when both parties work together towards one common goal, it’s amazing the community they can build.

– See more at: https://www.echo-ca.org/article/17-legal-rights-homeowners-living-hoas#sthash.iIuf9Yvo.dpuf

HOA Homefront – The rules on rules

It is important to create good association operating rules and to make sure the rule topics required by statute are also covered, but all that is wasted if the association fails to follow the required rule amendment process.

Because rules are amended only by the board, the Civil Code requires special procedures to alert members in advance when boards consider changing or creating rules.

Civil Code 4360 sets up the following two meeting process:

1. First meeting: The board must give members at least 30 days advance written notice, with a copy of the verbatim proposed change and a statement as the purpose and effect of the change.

2.  At the second board meeting, considering the rule change, the board must receive member comments (if any).

3.  If the rule change is adopted, notice must be given to members within 15 days after the meeting.

4.  If the change is controversial, 5 percent or more of the membership may, within 30 days of notification of a rule change, demand a membership meeting to vote upon its reversal.  If a majority of a quorum vote to overturn it, the rule change may not be reinstated by the board for one year.

The law allows for emergency rules, if immediate action is necessary to avoid imminent threat to health, safety or to substantial economic loss. Boards may pass emergency rules for up to 120 days but they cannot be renewed.

In making changes to association rules, consider these five process tips:

1.  Discuss the rule. If the rule change is too complicated to draft during the board meeting, then delegate someone (the attorney perhaps?) to draft language to be considered at the next meeting for publication. It is better to have good rules adopted slowly than poor rules quickly approved.

2.  Once the rule change motion is introduced and seconded, suspend board deliberations and reopen members’ open forum on the rule change. Chances are, there will not be much comment, unless the rule change is controversial.

3.  Listen to the members. The open forum aspect of the process is very important. Listen. If significant opposition to the rule arises, more consideration should be given.  Can the proposed change perhaps be improved?  Is the board disturbing a hornet nest, so that an overturn vote is all but certain? Such a rule change may not be in the best interests of neighborhood relations, even though it may have originally seemed like a good idea.

4.  Must the amendment be passed immediately? Perhaps after further study/discussion/modification, it can be republished to members for a later board vote.

5.  If the change is adopted, send notice to the membership quickly. Don’t wait to send it with the draft meeting minutes – the secretary has 30 days for the minutes, while this notice must go out within 15.

Perfection is not required. Per Civil 4350(d), as long as the board acts in good faith and in substantial compliance with the process, the rule should be valid, even if some minor noncompliance with the process occurs.

The law, while potentially frustrating, protects associations by forcing their boards to slow down before changing rules, thereby giving members an important voice in this process. The hoped-for results are better and less divisive rules and more harmonious communities.

What Not to Do When You Receive Communications from Your HOA Board

In our busy world of the internet, mobile phones, television, email, social media, and daily conversation, we’re on 24-7 information overload. We’re communicating non-stop all day, and when we finally reach the comfort of our home we just want to catch our breath. However, communication is what we were made for, and it keeps us informed about life around us. So, when you receive communication from the HOA board, there a few things you don’t want to do.

Don’t put the monthly newsletter in the junk mail pile

If you’re like us, you probably just throw your junk mail away without giving it a second glance or maybe it gets opened if the sender was clever enough to make it look interesting. Be sure to actually read the newsletter from your homeowners association, instead of putting it in the junk mail pile. It may have detailed articles about recent Board decisions, announcements about upcoming social events, or important information about legal issues or homeowner trends.

Don’t make a paper airplane out of your special notice

If you’ve violated a homeowners association rule or failed to pay your HOA fees, than you may be fined. Just like when you get a parking ticket, failure to pay can result in a $50 fine turning into $500 or the HOA board having to take action and hire an attorney. By acknowledging the notice received from your homeowners association, you can save yourself a lot of time and money too.

Don’t mark email communications as spam

Some homeowners associations may send out communications electronically to save paper and be more economical. These are important to take a glance at before hitting the delete button. They may be providing weekly reminders about operations, such as the time pool maintenance occurs; give you links to resources, such as home maintenance tips; or include attachments, such as the minutes of the HOA board meeting.

Don’t accuse your dog of eating the CC&Rs

When you first move into your homeowners association, you receive a copy of the Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions or CC&Rs of the association. It’s easy to just stash these away and forget about them, or maybe even lose them completely. Instead of blaming Fido for chewing them up, file them away in a safe place. They may be a valuable resource for you to come back to sometime if you have any questions at all about rules and regulations within the association.

Don’t ignore the bulletin boards

Take a moment to glance at the bulletin boards, usually in a central location of the homeowners association like the clubhouse or gate entrance. They often have approved flyers from other HOA members advertising items for sale or postings from the association advertising upcoming social events and meetings.

Don’t conveniently schedule to clean out your closets the night of the annual member meeting

The member’s meeting provides a recap of the homeowners association’s accomplishments from the past year, and well as the goals and activities for the upcoming year.

If you haven’t noticed the theme already, it’s important to be informed. Your HOA board should be doing everything it can to communicate with you, and it’s your job to pay attention.