Question: We have an unmarried resident couple and only the woman is a legal owner. Does her partner qualify to run for the board or serve on a committee? And if they are legally married but he is not an owner, does that change things?
Answer: In most HOAs, only owners are allowed to serve on the board. You need to read your governing documents to see if that is the case in yours. On the other hand, committee members can be unmarried partners, renters and non-residents.
Question: The board is thinking about circulating a survey to evaluate the manager company’s effectiveness. Any suggestions?
Answer: Since the majority of owners are disconnected from the day to day HOA business and have little understanding of the manager’s scope of work, most would not have an informed basis for evaluating the manager’s effectiveness. An input form might be more effective. List the various tasks the HOA is responsible to perform in general categories like General Maintenance, Landscaping, Pool, Janitorial, Communications, Newsletters, Rules Enforcement, Financial Reporting etc. and ask for specific recommendations for improvement. If the suggestions are directly related to things the manager should be taking care of, the board has something concrete to discuss about job performance.
Question: Can we publish the complete list of what each HOA employee makes or is this a breach of privacy?
Answer: Disclosing this kind of information could create animosity between employees or prompt interference from members who feel someone is paid too much or too little. It is something the board should keep confidential. It is appropriate, however, to disclose the total amount of wages/salaries paid in the annual budget.
Question: During a week of 100 degree weather recently, I asked permission from the board to install a window air conditioner. I was denied. I read the governing documents and rules and window A/C units are not mentioned. My son has a compromised immunize system. His doctor has recommended carefully controlled temperatures (not too hot and not too cold). I can control the cold part but need A/C to control excessive heat. Shouldn’t I be able to get an exception due to health reasons? I don’t want to have to pay his doctor to write a letter to the board.
Answer: The board should make a reasonable accommodation for this purpose. You should ask your doctor to provide a letter at no charge explaining the need for it so the board has the ammunition it needs to make an exception to the rule.
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