HOA Homefront: A dozen long-term HOA challenges

This marks the 700th installment of the HOA Homefront column, which debuted in 2005. To commemorate this milestone, author Kelly G. Richardson, Esq. shares 12 significant challenges facing Homeowners Associations (HOAs).

1. Neighborhood alienation: With the increasing use of Technology for communication and meetings, meaningful interpersonal connections among neighbors are decreasing. Finding points of social connection is crucial.

2. Lack of acceptance of differing views: Intolerance of opposing views weakens communities and increases conflict. Finding common ground of respect is critical for community Health.

3. Aging buildings: Many HOAs have buildings that are 30, 40, or 50 years old, making major renovations inevitable.

4. Increasing insurance costs: HOAs may face greater insurance costs due to market contraction and unexpected premium hikes.

5. Inadequately funded reserves: Aging communities are at risk of major assessments and long-term bank loans without diligently accumulating reserve funds.

6. Shortage of qualified managers: Management companies struggle to find competent managers, resulting in a lack of qualifications in the profession.

7. Struggling mixed-use complexes: Combining residential and Business units creates built-in conflict in many HOAs.

8. Failure to accept the tradeoffs: Owners trade independence for shared benefits, which some homeowners may not fully embrace.

9. Sparse consumer and real estate professional education: Many consumers and real estate agents do not understand the importance of reviewing governing documents before purchasing a property in an HOA.

10. Increasingly noncompliant smaller HOAs: Smaller HOAs often lack professional management or legal counsel, leading to compliance issues.

11. Unreasonable legislative views: Some legislators see HOAs as mini-governments that should be regulated like public agencies, despite being run by unpaid volunteers and governed by private covenants.

12. HOAs are governed by people and people are fallible.

Kelly G. Richardson, Esq. encourages collaboration towards solving these issues. He emphasizes the importance of acknowledging these challenges in order to work towards finding solutions.

As a Fellow of the College of Community Association Lawyers and Partner of Richardson Ober LLP, Richardson is well-versed in community association advice. Readers can submit column questions to Kelly@roattorneys.com and access past columns at www.HOAHomefront.com.

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