Community End of Year Wrap Up
By Jennifer Seals
It’s that time of year when we wrap up the old and prepare for the new. Although it may seem to be quiet during the holiday season, your community managers are very busy closing things out and setting the community up for a successful new year. As we come to the end of an unusual 2021, it’s time to address many of the regular business dealings every HOA must contend with and ensure that our HOA members are aware of the matters that affects their homes.
You may be surprised to learn that while the snow is falling, your manager is still working with service providers to get proposals on maintenance projects to be completed next summer. They are reviewing the Reserve Study, crunching budget numbers and evaluating maintenance priorities so that a project calendar can be developed. They are also using this knowledge to work with your board on preparing a budget that will allow them to cover immediate property expenses as well as build up your Reserve Fund so that long term preventative maintenance can be completed without having to bill owners a special assessment.
It is common for many managers to also complete reviews on many areas of the community administration pieces at the end of the year. In addition to the maintenance and budgeting plans, we review enforcement policies to ensure they are reasonable and practical. We review insurance coverage to evaluate whether changes may be needed to protect the interest of the community. We review the processes for handling Architectural Review Requests, volunteer committees and community building events. Based on these efforts, the manager can then provide recommendations and help advise the board as we begin another year of community living. The goal is always to strengthen the community and protect the property of each and every HOA member owner.
Communication is key. It’s easy to forget just how important it is to share information with our residents and owners. The end of the year process is a good reminder that owners should be sent community updates.
Obviously, each owner should be provided with a copy of the proposed budget for the upcoming year. Owners should know where their money is going each year and how much the board is going to need to collect from them in order to maintain the property. What is often neglected in these end of year communications is an update on proposed or ongoing maintenance projects, the status of the Reserve Fund and reminders about recent changes to amenities or services. If the community has a long term goal that they are working for, this end of year communication is a good time to revisit that project and provide a status update to all the HOA members.
Other items that the manager or board may wish to share with the owners at this time are:
- a community calendar outlining when events, maintenance tasks and meetings are scheduled.
- Requests for volunteers on committees or when the next board member election is scheduled.
- Reminders about recently changed or frequently violated community rules and regulations.
- Expectations the community should have regarding landscaping, snow removal or other common area maintenance.
- Insurance coverage requirements for homeowners.
An informed community is an invested community. Making sure that your residents are aware of the regular goings on within the community make everyone’s lives easier.