Monthly Archives: November 2011

What Does a Board Secretary Do?


What Does a Board Secretary Do?

Every board member plays an important role. The secretary is no exception and is much more than just “note taker”. They are critical to the Association’s success. At a minimum, there are five areas for which the secretary should be responsible.

 

 

PRLog (Press Release)Nov 28, 2011
The Secretary’s Job Description

Giving proper notice – the secretary is responsible for giving proper notice of the board meetings and the member meetings according with the requirements of the governing documents. This means giving the required minimum number of days notice and ensuring that the notice includes all the necessary information.  Not just the who, where, and when – but perhaps most importantly the “what”.  A good meeting notice will clearly explain to the community what items are being discussed at a particular meeting and their relevance to the homeowner.

Agenda development – the secretary coordinates with the association president to put together the meeting agenda’s content. The secretary should conference with the president prior to finalizing the agenda to identify the agenda items and the time needed for each item. The secretary can provide an additional service to the president by also serving as the time keeper for the meeting.  Agenda’s should be distributed prior to the board meeting allowing the board members ample time to review and prepare for discussion.  Your governing documents will likely state how many days in advance the agenda must be distributed prior to the board meeting.

Meeting minutes – when you think “secretary” most people think “meeting minutes”.  There is a definite skill involved in writing good meeting minutes.  They should capture who was at the meeting and the specific decisions that were made.  Far too often the association secretary includes too much detail in the minutes – this can come back to haunt you later.  To learn more about taking great minutes read:  HOA Minutes.

Record keeping – the association’s records must be kept somewhere and they are stored under the supervision of the secretary.  Boxes of old records don’t have to be housed in the home of the secretary, in fact it is preferable to keep them in a more public location if possible – but they should be accessible.  Association records must be made available for inspection by homeowners upon request.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want people coming into my home to view boxes of records.  For this reason, the association may wish to consider investing resources in scanning old paper files into electronic documents; making it much easier to provide records to the homeowners to request them.

Community communication – The old adage “no news is good news” simply does not hold true for homeowners associations.  Whether it is a website, newsletter or some other method of communication – keeping the community apprised of happenings is very important.  Determining the best communication tool will depend on your community’s demographics.  If the association does not keep the community up to date on how assessments are being spent (improvements, repairs, etc.), owners will begin to assume that the association is doing nothing at all.   Let them know what the association is doing on their behalf!

With over 40 years of combined industry experience, the Executive Staff of Riverside Property Management  knows that the most successful communities are those where there is a sense of unity and pride among the membership.

Call 678-866-1436 Today for a free quote in the Atlanta, GA. area.

# # #

With over 40 years of combined industry experience, the Executive Staff of Riverside Property Management knows that the most successful communities are those where there is a sense of unity and pride among the membership; this unity and pride begins with a firm foundation comprised of:

Well defined policies and objectives
A strategic plan and future vision
A proactive Management team
Mutual team trust and respect
Timely and open communication
Excellent customer service
Industry knowledge
“Out of the Box” Thinking
Services designed to meet your needs

Give us fifteen minutes of your time and we can show you how to put your community on a fast track to success; if you don’t believe us, feel free to call upon any one of our satisfied clients.

Call (678) 866-1436 TODAY!

http://www.riversidepropertymgt.com

Thank You For A Great Year!


A full cornucopia

Happy Thanksgiving

From our Family to Yours

Best ThanksgivingThanksgiving is here, so our minds have turned
To what time has taught us, to what we’ve learned:
We often focus all our thought
On shiny things we’ve shopped and bought;
We take our pleasure in material things
Forgetting the pleasure that friendship brings.
If a lot of our stuff just vanished today,
We’d see the foundation of each happy day
Is special relationships, constant and true,
And that’s when our thoughts go directly to you.
We wish you a Thanksgiving you’ll never forget,
Full of love and joy—your best one yet!

Riverside Property Management wants you to know that you are appreciated on Thanksgiving and every other day of the year!

A small leaf

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Copyright (C) 2011 Riverside Property Management, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Dynamics of an Association Board


November 21, 2011 — HOA Management Solutions | Edit

How the Board of Directors (BOD) members  interact says a lot about the state of a condominium or homeowners association.

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Leadership is the ability to do things by encouraging and channeling the contributions of others, take a position on and address the issues, and acting as a catalyst for change and continuous improvement.

Yesterday’s leaders in for-profit businesses could demand performance.  Today we face a more educated workforce that is democratically oriented. In a volunteer organization, as a condominium or homeowners association BOD, problems and opportunities can be even more complex and challenging. As a result, today’s BoD must promote and implement the contributions of all members, both individually and in groups.

Here are some ways in which members of  the BoD can initiate effective and ineffective actions:

Ineffective teams: People shield those in power from unpleasant facts, fearful of penalties and criticism for shining light on the rough realities

Effective teams: People bring forth grim facts—”Come here and look — this is ugly”—to be discussed; leaders never criticize those who bring forth harsh realities

Ineffective teams: People assert strong opinions without providing data, evidence, or a solid argument

Effective teams: People bring data, evidence, logic, and solid arguments to the discussion

Ineffective teams: The BoD president has a very low questions-to-statements ratio, avoiding critical input and/or allowing sloppy reasoning and unsupported opinions

Effective teams: The BoD president employs a Socratic style, using a high questions-to-statements ratio, challenging people, and pushing for penetrating insights

Ineffective teams: Team members acquiesce to a decision but don’t unify to make the decision successful—or worse, undermine it after the fact

Effective teams: Board members unify behind a decision once made, and then work to make the decision succeed, even if they vigorously disagreed with it

Ineffective teams: Team members seek as much credit as possible for themselves, yet do not enjoy the confidence and admiration of their peers

Effective teams: Each Board member credits other people for success, yet enjoys the confidence and admiration of his or her peers

Ineffective teams: Team members argue to look smart or to further their own interests rather than argue to find the best answers to support the overall cause

Effective teams: Team members argue and debate, not to improve their personal position but to find the best answers to support the overall cause

Ineffective teams: The team conducts “autopsies with blame,” seeking culprits rather than wisdom

Effective teams: The team conducts “autopsies without blame,” mining wisdom from painful experiences

Ineffective teams: Team members often fail to deliver exceptional results and blame other people or outside factors for setbacks, mistakes, and failures

Effective teams: Each team member delivers exceptional results, yet in the event of a setback each accepts full responsibility and learns from mistakes

Protect the HOA Operating and Reserve Accounts


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I know anyone that has any affiliation with an HOA or Homeowners Association has heard of someone stealing or trying to steal money from the Community. The scams are often as simple as writing a check to themselves, either as an administrator, treasurer or president. This is the one constant to which no one paid much attention. Now, with the vast majority of the Associations tax year ending, here’s your chance to make sure that does not, and is not going to happen. Whenever the economy takes a hit, and particulary when it both an extended and bad one, you need to pay special attention to the deep pockets, your association’s bank and reserve accounts.

First – GET AN AUDIT – not an opinion, not a compilation, but a real, honest-to-god audit. Only an audit of the CPA will unearth evidence which, in turn, could be fraud or embezzlement. Yes, an audit is more expensive, but considering the huge increase in financial crimes against associations, this is not the time to spare. Remember, every person trusted the people who were scamming from the Association funds. The fact that the treasurer is a good person, does not mean that they are not having personal financial problems.

Then make sure your insurance covers the Community Association if the money is lost. All too often association’s think that fidelity bonds that the management company has protects them – it doesn’t, it only protects the management company if an employee steals from them.  Whether its a bond or crime insurance, make sure the association is covered for ANY loss, no matter who is  lining their pockets.  This can be done with Directors & Officers Insurance or D & O.

Always make sure the bank or any financial institution that holds your money, sends a second statement, an original for someone other than the person who writes the checks or books. The crooks got away with their scams for long periods of time because they were the only one receiving the bank statement, and then delivering a retouched statement to the Board of Directors. Someone else must have an authentic, original – that can,  in fact be compared to the one presented in the financial report.

Periodically, hold a test of invoices. Ask one of your contractors to review their bills with you. A basic scam is a book of false invoices for work that was never completed, and then write a check for that amount to the scoundrel himself. Unless you’re reviewing canceled checks or verifying proof of the bill, it is quite easy for the thief get away with it. Each time you have a supplier or contractor that is going over budget or contract, this is likely to be the output.

Make sure nobody can get to the reserve accounts easily to withdraw or transfer funds. Talk to any institution that is holding the funds and ask them for the best way to ensure that nobody can reach them without going through a lot of checkpoints.

Basically, you should make sure you have all the necessary protections in place and they are, in fact, actually being followed. There are plenty of articles about how to do this, and that’s a good place to start. But remember, it is the entire process to be followed – not just a part will protect your Property Owners. For example, you can utilize the recommendation to require two signatures on checks, but in reality, banks no longer see or verify the signatures, so that alone will not protect you.

Why go through all this? I’m no lawyer, but if I were a Home Owner and someone was to abscond with a lot of money from my Association, I believe that the board would had failed in its fiduciary responsibilities and should be held accountable for that failure.

HOA Board…Wake Up!


The board of a homeowners association has several different tasks. To understand what these tasks should be, it is essential that the Board understands that the HOA “thing” is. It is often not what most think it is. Here are some of the myths.

PRLog (Press Release)Sep 01, 2011

The board of a homeowners association has several different tasks. To understand what these tasks should be, it is essential that the Board understands that the HOA “thing” is. And it is often not what most think it is. Here are some of the myths.

Monthly fees are kept low.

The board is elected to the HOA to maintain assets properly. There is a difference between being a good administrator and a tightwad. Stingy boards skip routine maintenance services and tend to erode the value of homes. It takes money to make things right and the board should spend the money necessary to accomplish tasks.

Volunteer Councils are not subject to the same standards as professional property managers.

Volunteers they are, yet are saddled with the task of conducting business for the Owners Association in an informed and businesslike manner the same way a community manager would. This means that they should be taking care of things in a timely manner, planning to anticipate problems, receiving and acting on good advice.

The HOA is small and so are the needs.

The lower the HOA poulation, planning is more-so important because the cost increases for the smaller owner’s association.

We are too small to professional management.

In areas such as financial management and enforcement, all homeowner associations should have the professionals out front. Collecting money from neighbors and control of their antisocial behavior is bound to cause problems for a volunteer. It’s even worse when you live next to the abuser. There are professionals who perform these tasks management 24 / 7 and get paid for it.

The board is chosen to be the director.

The board is elected to hire and supervise competent service providers. When properly organized, the work of the general meeting should only take a couple of hours a month.

The board is responsible for most valuable asset most people own. The responsibilities of a HOA board are not unlike those of any Fortune 500 board. In both cases, physical and human assets are maintained by the board. Careful planning and effective communication to shareholders (owners) is needed.

Is your board is asleep?  Does it understand the true scope of Board Member work?

So, heed this wake-up call, and call Riverside Property Management, TODAY! (678) 866-1436 or (404) 788-7353.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UayzInP1tp4

 

Riverside Property Management, Inc. offers this information for educational purposes only and not as legal advice. The information provided in this article does not create a client relationship between you and Riverside Property Management, Inc., nor is this article a substitute for legal advice. The contents of this article are subject to change without notice. You should not rely or act upon the contents of this article without seeking advice from your own attorney. Riverside Property Management, Inc. is not a law firm.


Do research before voting down budget – Real Estate – ReviewJournal.com http://ping.fm/N3Fir

How Do I Form an HOA in Georgia? | Atlanta Homeowner Association Management


Home Owners Associations (HOAs) bring peace and civility to shared communities. Condominium or single-family home complexes may create an HOA to determine how common areas will be maintained, for example. In Georgia, as in most states across the country, bylaws and a board of directors must be established before an HOA is official. Talk to neighbors within your development to garner support for the HOA and commence with an expeditious launch.

Difficulty:
Moderately Easy

Instructions

1

Contact the Georgia General Assembly. Reach out to the offices of your House of Representatives and/or State Senator and ask for a copy of the Georgia Property Owners’ Association Act (GPOA). Review the GPOA to familiarize yourself with the rules and guidelines of the state for creating an HOA. Log online and visit the official Georgia General Assembly website to find the contact information for your respective representatives.
2

Form the physical HOA. Assemble residents of your community. Elect HOA leadership representatives including a president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer. Establish any committees necessary to the function of your HOA — planning or policy committees, for example. Write the bylaws for the HOA. State how shared community areas will be overseen, who is affected by the rules and the amount members will pay for annual dues. Title the bylaws “Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions.”
3

Reach out to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Ask an IRS representative for all necessary 501(c)(4) tax documentation for creating an HOA. Filing for 501(c)(4) status makes the HOA an official non-profit organization. Submit all necessary forms and supplemental documentation — a copy of the bylaws, for example — required by the IRS. Consult IRS agents and the 501(c) (4) forms for instructions.

More From Riverside Property Management, Inc. at http://ping.fm/2EDqa

From: http://ping.fm/8ShZo/2011/11/03/how-do-i-form-an-hoa-in-georgia/

How Do I Form an HOA in Georgia?


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Home Owners Associations (HOAs) bring peace and civility to shared communities. Condominium or single-family home complexes may create an HOA to determine how common areas will be maintained, for example. In Georgia, as in most states across the country, bylaws and a board of directors must be established before an HOA is official. Talk to neighbors within your development to garner support for the HOA and commence with an expeditious launch.

Difficulty:
Moderately Easy

Instructions

    • 1

      Contact the Georgia General Assembly. Reach out to the offices of your House of Representatives and/or State Senator and ask for a copy of the Georgia Property Owners’ Association Act (GPOA). Review the GPOA to familiarize yourself with the rules and guidelines of the state for creating an HOA. Log online and visit the official Georgia General Assembly website to find the contact information for your respective representatives.

    • 2

      Form the physical HOA. Assemble residents of your community. Elect HOA leadership representatives including a president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer. Establish any committees necessary to the function of your HOA — planning or policy committees, for example. Write the bylaws for the HOA. State how shared community areas will be overseen, who is affected by the rules and the amount members will pay for annual dues. Title the bylaws “Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions.”

    • 3

      Reach out to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Ask an IRS representative for all necessary 501(c)(4) tax documentation for creating an HOA. Filing for 501(c)(4) status makes the HOA an official non-profit organization. Submit all necessary forms and supplemental documentation — a copy of the bylaws, for example — required by the IRS. Consult IRS agents and the 501(c) (4) forms for instructions.