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Team in a conference call“Success by committee” is a common expression, but do you know how homeowners association committees help community boards achieve success?  HOA committees are integral in assisting boards with everything from operations to finance, and they can help boards by taking on tasks and freeing up members’ time. Committees make lots of improvements, helping the community thrive. Let’s explore the ins and outs of HOA committees, how they are formed, what community business they handle and examples of HOA committees.

While some Board members are elected to their roles with the professional knowledge and/or previous HOA experience they need to perform successfully, others have little or no knowledge or training in community association governance.  But no matter their prior experience, they must juggle their HOA responsibilities with obligations to their families, jobs, hobbies, civic involvement and other personal interests and responsibilities. 

Associations sometimes hire property management companies to handle all of their community’s day-to-day community operations and management responsibilities, under their direction.  But even when communities are professionally managed, Board members may have ongoing community issues that need to be addressed, as well as one-off issues that arise over during the year.  That’s where Advisory Committees come in – helping Board members by providing a good perspective and understanding of the topic at hand. 

In addition to providing valuable assistance to the Board, committees also involve more shareholders with personal experience in the governance process, resulting in in a stronger, more involved community.  As a bonus, they provide committee members with valuable association governance, making them a hands-on training ground for new community leaders.

Effective committees can be your community’s lifeline, so if you need a helping hand, consult with a seasoned Board member or a good property management company for guidance.  We’ve also put together some basic facts and guidelines on committees to help.  Ready to position your Board for success by committee? Read on…

What are HOA committees, and what do they do?

HOA committees assist board members by addressing specific community issues and tasks and serving in an advisory role for the benefit of the community.  They gather information, assess problems, and recommend solutions to the board.  What types of committees work with community boards? 

Depending on the community, committees that deal with:
 
  • Communications
  • Repair and Maintenance
  • Finance
  • Buildings and Grounds
  • Landscaping,
  • Swimming pools
  • Violations
  • Covenants Enforcement
  • Litigation
  • Communications
  • Architectural Review
  • Social Programming  

Learn how board members like you are communicating to residents and committees in our Communication Survey Results Report.

Types of committees

Generally, associations create two types of committees; standing and ad hoc.  Standing committees are permanent committees that meet regularly to handle ongoing tasks. Ad hoc committees are short-term, temporary committees formed to handle specific tasks, like developing a new operating plan, amending the community association’s bylaws, or solving issues impacting the community and residents.

How to form a committee

Most associations’ governing documents allow for committees to be formed. The governing documents may also authorize the board to decide on the qualifications for members, member selection, removal process and committee size.

Committee size. 

Committees can range from one individual to whatever number of members the board deems acceptable.  But size does matter. Committees can become hard to manage if there are too many participants involved.  Typically, HOA committees range from one to five members and average somewhere in the middle, depending on the task.

Committee structure. 

How should your board organize its committees?  There is no set standard, but committees are most effective when they fit the needs of the association and community. And when they are aligned to board members’ strategic priorities. But no matter how they’re set up, every committee needs a mission, a strong leader, a sound plan and a clear statement of goals and responsibilities. 

Committee charter. 

Once your HOA board forms a committee, it should create a committee charter – a written document that defines its duties and responsibilities – and those of its members.  The charter also establishes the relationship between the board and the committee. It spells out the committee’s limitations – such as what expenses it can accrue and which actions it can take.  But it’s a good idea for the board not to be overly restrictive – you don’t want to thwart your committee from achieving its goals.  But it’s worth repeating that committees are primarily in place to provide board members with additional perspective.

Many tasks and responsibilities go into effective community management, but HOA board members don’t have to go it alone.  When committee members work in tandem with board members to shoulder some of the duties, they help strengthen the association and the community, which is a win-win for everyone.  For more information about committees – and how they can help board members perform more effectively – contact FirstService Residential
Wednesday April 27, 2022