An HOA President is like the chief executive officer of an organization.
In such an organization, all the teams like finance, technical, HR, admin, etc. report to the CEO along with all the staff. Likewise, in an HOA, all the other board members, and general members, are answerable to the Board President.
The Board President also acts as the liaison between the HOA property manager and the board.
Not just that, it is the Board President’s vision that drives the team, and he supervises all that happens in an HOA. It is an important and pivotal role, full of responsibilities and powers.
Whom does the HOA President report?
Well, that depends on your community association’s governing documents. Actually so does his role in its entirety. But what we are trying to understand here is the HOA President’s role as a general norm.
So typically, the President does not report to anyone, but he is definitely answerable for everything that goes on in an HOA. Any of the members of the community can question him, and normally a good HOA President will reply responsibly.
In case of extremely unhappy HOA members, the HOA President can face lawsuits too, just like the other members of the board, and the board itself. If the community wants to remove the President from the HOA, they can do so by voting him out once his term expires.
Do HOA presidents make money? Well, in case you were thinking of becoming an HOA President to make some big bucks, the answer is going to disappoint you.
All HOA board positions are voluntary, including the President. In fact, most state bylaws and governing documents prohibit payment to any of the board members, including special perks, whatsoever.
It is worth noting here that all the board members and the President have to continue paying their own association dues and assessments. And it makes sense because imagine you vote on raising fees or implementing a new assessment while you do not have to contribute to it yourself? Shady, isn’t it?
So while waiving the dues may seem like a great way to motivate more homeowners to volunteer as board members, it is a huge conflict of interest.
That said, studies have shown that volunteer work is a benefit in itself. It brings about real physical, mental, and emotional health. It fills you with a sense of purpose and you get to learn multiple skills in the course of your duty.
One of the reasons you want to know all about the HOA President role is because you probably want to be one.
Well, here’s what to do.
How to Become an HOA President
The association’s bylaws and CC&Rs outline the process of election of the board members and the designation of the positions. In most cases, HOA members elect the board of directors including the HOA President.
So, it certainly helps to bag the role of the HOA President, if you are an already popular figure in the community. A wise first step can be to start as an active board member or even a general member. This will give you an opportunity to serve the community and also an idea of how things run in practicality.
It is good to test the water on whether you are ready for the huge responsibility that comes with becoming an HOA President. Become part of the activities of the board and get good insight before taking up the role. So, when you take up the role in real, you have a grasp of things.
What are the HOA Board President's Duties and Responsibilities?
As discussed earlier, association bylaws indicate specific presidential duties for each HOA. But let us look at some that are common.
Defining CC&Rs that each community member agrees to adhere to, is one of the main duties of the Board of Directors of an HOA. And so one of the main duties of the President too.
An important responsibility for an HOA President is to supervise how the association is spending every single community dollar. While the treasurer is responsible for all things finance in an HOA, like planning the HOA budget and managing financial records. The President needs to ensure the treasurer follows due procedure and does everything in time.
Both general and HOA board meetings are very important to run an HOA smoothly. And so another main duty of the president is to take care of the smooth running of the association’s meetings. He works with the secretary to make sure the notice for all upcoming meetings goes on time.
Executing contracts and other legal documentation pertaining to the HOA also falls under the HOA president’s duties. This also means that anyone serving as the HOA president must understand bylaws and regulations at an incredible level. He should have all the information and insight required to make a well-informed decision.
Because the president’s duty is to ensure that all the association work happens at full capacity, he also must have an in-depth understanding of the ins and outs of the association.
Running a self-managed HOA is not easy, so most HOAs work with HOA management companies. These companies come with industry expertise like HOA management software. The president is also the point of contact between the association and the HOA management company.
He is also the main point of liaison for vendors and is an active part of vendor assessment as and when required. These vendors can be for anything ranging from plumbing to bookkeeping, security, etc.
And last but not the least, the day-to-day administration of the HOA also falls within the president’s purview. Supervising all functions day in and day out makes it a role for a balanced-minded person.
Now that we know what are the duties of an HOA President, let us see what are his powers.
What are the HOA President's Powers?
In some HOAs, the president is the person appointing members to various HOA-related committees, like the architectural committee, landscaping committee, budgeting committee, etc. He also presides over other elections, like for the board members.
HOA President is the main signatory on behalf of the HOA. For example, signing legal documents, vendor contracts, co-signing cheques, leases, etc. This also means that he must go through each document thoroughly to ensure he is not binding the association with anything that can be harmful in the future.
Establishing the HOA meeting agenda is another great power the President yields to execute a community’s vision. Although the agenda must be decided based on the suggestions received from the community, and also from within the board, the HOA President still has the right to choose from the various topics.
Being an HOA Board President also gives you the opportunity to effect real change. If you don’t like the condition of your HOA’s common areas or you’ve always wondered why the community cannot have a pool – joining the Board is a great way to make recommendations and implement plans.
HOA President is the leader and spokesperson of the HOA community. He may represent the HOA in outside meetings or events if called for. If there are any media events or any other outside body contacts the HOA about an issue, it is the president who should respond.
It is important to note here that if there is an initiative that the board can’t decide on anonymously, the president can push it forward or halt it completely.
HOA President is the one who calls for a vote in the association and also announces the results.
This may raise the question - can HOA presidents make decisions without consulting? Like singing contracts binding the association? Essentially yes, but only if the board gives him this power. Normally, whatever contracts the HOA President signs also need the approval of fellow board members.
After covering the ground on what the HOA President’s role entails, it is of utmost importance to know how to become a good HOA president.
Here is a detailed view.
How to be a Great HOA President
As we have seen, the post of an HOA President comes with both great responsibilities and powers. And you need to have some essential qualities to make the most of both.
First and foremost comes your attitude, because if the attitude is right, you have won half the battle. Remember that an HOA President is essentially a member of the community, and therefore it is important for him to have an inclusive attitude.
A true leader uses authority and power skillfully, without abusing it. Avoid all sorts of power-play to avoid opposing blocks of power.
Passion speaks for itself, and if you have a real passion and vision for your HOA, it can easily set you apart. In fact, volunteering is not the easiest thing to do, and faking interest in the community won’t take you far.
Let’s face it, the responsibilities of being an HOA President in addition to your personal and professional responsibilities can take a toll on your health. But if you execute this role out of real interest, it will keep you brimming with joy and hence avoid any such repercussions.
It is crucial for the HOA President to be a team player because essentially it is a people-facing role. You need to coordinate with vendors, other board members, the state law department, other communities in your neighborhood, etc. You should be excellent at people skills without a doubt.
The role itself demands doing what is best for a community. So, having a fair view of things and understanding community needs and concerns beforehand can be a game-changer.
An HOA President should have excellent communication skills to keep everything going smoothly. Be concise, honest, and proactive in your communication. Ask good questions, listen to what others have to say, and in the end, be reliable by keeping your word. Most importantly, respond, fast!
As the HOA President, you have the power of making some very important decisions and therefore the scope for dishonesty. For example, you could be choosing vendors inspired by personal gains. And even though such things may go unnoticed in the short term, they can invite community rage and even legal prosecution in the long term. Keep honesty as your go-to policy.
In the end, remain open to constructive criticism and suggestions. After all, you have taken this position for the benefit of the community, and if someone has to say something that can add to the benefit, you should be all ears. Keep your calm and avoid taking things personally.
There you have it:
- A great overview of what it means to be an HOA President
- The procedure to be one
- A detailed view of his duties and powers, and
- The qualities of a good HOA President.