Good Owners – Bad Owners – Nonpluss Owners – What’s a Board Got to Do To Get The Right Kind of Attention?

A reader reminded me  that a few months ago after E-Newsletters on good versus bad managers and good versus bad boards I said maybe my next article would be on good owners vs. bad owners.  Then I got wrapped up in reviewing the 2014 Davis Stirling Act subject by subject since so many people were asking about it and so many practitioners were talking about it. So this subject got buried.

But then the kind reader wrote out a heartfelt synopsis of what is happening in her association and it resonates – as being very similar to many, many emails that I receive from frustrated board members. Yes, owners, there are board members who care, but cannot get a rise out of the largest percentage of the owners, no matter what they do.

Here is her story, which I believe is worthy of a read. I hope it triggers a little conscience out there in the HOA world.

“I am on the board and do our newsletter and am on the rec committee. I am a second generation condo owner and this is the second association I have lived in and been a board member of. As such I find most owners fail to participate in anything, especially if the HOA is fairly well run. But they like to complain and do not understand that condo living does not mean no responsibility. Then others are only anxious to have good renters who give them no problems and those renters often fail to become part of the community.

Then, in ours, we have the original owners who are quite a bit older now and have new owners who are either young families or professionals who want virtual apartment living. It is a major challenge to try to meet most of their needs. To boot we have an aging infrastructure and although we have had no crime in the past are now finding ourselves victims of vandalism and petty crimes including purse snatching of the elderly. Without a more active community it is difficult to address these concerns.

So….what makes a good owner? One who educates themselves, gets to know their neighbors and participates even if it is in a small way such as to phone the management company when they notice lights burned out or who picks up their own dog poop. We HAVE gotten to the point where most of us help out neighbors who have trouble getting their trash cans out and in but the way our community is set up people tend to go in and out of their garages rather than their front doors. So the dog people all know each other but many of the rest hardly ever get out.

We have cards weekly, Saturday afternoons the clubhouse is open, almost every month we have a dinner of some type or brunch. Some are at minimal cost while others are free. Brunch is when time changes. In August, Neighborhood watch is a free ice cream social at the pool/clubhouse area. Dinners are pizza parties or sandwich socials or hors d’oeuvres or a special dinner for Christmas and New Years. Yet we still cannot seem to draw many more than the same old group – maybe 20-40 individuals at most out of 144 households. “

I guess I would ask, how does this make you feel?

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