Get to know vocabulary & roles

The governing documents of any homeowners association are packed with legal jargon and industry terms. The sooner you familiarize yourself with this terminology, the easier time you’ll have. You’ll need to know things like: What is a fiduciary duty? What is Common Area and Exclusive Use Common Area? What constitutes “good business judgment”? Your property manager can provide you with a list of common terms and their meanings.

You’ll also need a clear sense of who does what inside and outside of the association. Understanding the roles and responsibilities of the board, association members and management company will help you see the bigger picture of how each contributes to the success of the association.

Learn correct procedures

Most new board members are enthusiastic about their new role, which in itself is a positive thing. However, as a quasi-governmental body, a homeowners association must, by law, abide by certain specific procedural guidelines. Approvals, agendas, board meeting frequency, and budgetary decisions are just some of the board’s functions that must follow the rules outlined in the association’s governing documents. While a new board member might be excited to enact sweeping change ASAP, doing so may be in violation of a community’s bylaws. Before attending your first board meeting, familiarize yourself with the steps of common board actions.