Homeowners associations of any size, and their members, can benefit from creating HOA committees to extend the effectiveness of the homeowners associations’ board of directors.
Homeowners’ boards typically consist of volunteer member residents that are elected to maintain uniform and equitable standards that benefit the community as a whole. Many board members have little or no training in the governance of a homeowners association and lead busy lives as do the rest of us. And that’s where committees can come to the rescue. Association committees can be the lifeblood of associations – they can:
- Gather important information,
- Review facts,
- Assess prospective vendors,
- Submit recommendations to the board,
- Make new policy suggestions or alterations to existing policies,
- Recommend solutions to enduring problems, and
- Speak on behalf of the community-at-large.
Acting in their advisory role, committees can assess problems or issues, and then make recommendations for the board’s consideration. They can increase participation levels in the association’s affairs through their interactions with the board and the homeowners not on the board. Committee work allows member residents to get to know each other on a more personal basis as they work together for the good of all. Committees can also be a training ground, where new leaders gain knowledge and motivation to serve at a higher level.
Roles for HOA Committees
Generally speaking, there are two types of committees and numerous roles for them. Often you will find standing committees to oversee building and grounds, covenants enforcement, communications, finances, architectural review and social programming.
Ad hoc committees are temporary committees that are assigned specific tasks. Those tasks might include: amend the homeowners association’s bylaws, develop a new operating plan, recruit new board members or solve a particular problem affecting the community.
Formation of Committees
Most homeowners associations’ documents sanction the creation of one or more specific committees, and the board usually has the authority to add committees as it sees appropriate. Unless governing documents explicitly states otherwise, the board can determine things like: the number of people on a committee, qualifications to serve on a committee, how members can volunteer and/or be selected to a committee, and how members might be removed from a committee. Some committees are allowed to have non-members, such as a subject matter expert.
Empowering HOA Committees
Committees will work well for many of the same reasons that boards will work effectively. They need a mission, or purpose, a sound agenda, a strong leader (or chairperson) and good information about members’ roles and commitment to serve. A committee charter, created by the board, is a tool that outlines a committee’s roles, responsibilities and authority.
Through a board resolution, the HOA board can charter the committee with:
- A committee name,
- A definition of the committee’s purpose,
- A description of the committee’s responsibilities and limitations on their authority,
- A determination of the committee’s term,
- A budget, if appropriate,
- Requirements for reporting – how often, in what format, etc.,
- Limitations on its number of committee members (a minimum and a maximum), and
- An appointment of a leader and perhaps the members, too.
Once a committee is empowered, committee members can then take charge and accomplish their objectives. They will take a tremendous amount of pride in serving the community. Be sure to recognize their efforts to the entire homes association membership.