We’ve all experienced miscommunication at some point in our lives. Perhaps you’ve read a text message in a tone that the sender did not intend or misunderstood your supervisor’s expectations. Miscommunications happen in our friendships, intimate relationships, workplaces, and with our HOA management.
HOA management and HOA members have a common goal—to maintain a beautiful neighborhood and keep property values high. Although they are working toward the same result, poor communication can cause tensions between residents and their homeowners associations. HOA management software can provide HOA management with tools to increase and improve interactions with residents.
The Problem With Poor Communication
HOA satisfaction surveys find that homeowners are more pleased with HOA management the more they communicate. Poor communication from HOA management can impact the entire community. Lack of communication can make the board appear absent and uninvolved, even if they are working behind the scenes. If HOA management doesn’t strive to receive residents’ input, they may put their efforts (and residents’ dues) toward projects that aren’t supported by the community.
Poor communication can be the cause of more frequent violations. If HOA management doesn’t communicate policy changes, or the bylaws are not clear from the start, residents may break rules they didn’t know existed, causing tensions between HOA management and residents and taking more volunteer time to enforce bylaws and collect fines for violations that could have been avoided.
Clear communication sets expectations, prevents issues, and increases community engagement. HOA management software can help improve communication for a more harmonious HOA.
HOA Welcome Packet
A welcome packet greets new residents and shows HOA management’s appreciation for their joining the community. It’s an opportunity to set the tone for good communication. A welcome packet should make new residents feel at home, showcase the HOA’s amenities and other perks of living in the community, and clarify their responsibilities as members of the HOA.
Some things to include are:
- a welcome letter celebrating the resident’s decision to join the community and highlighting what makes it special
- important contact information for board members, security, and any other relevant contacts
- governing documents
Although it is essential to give new residents access to the complete bylaws and rules of the HOA, it’s unrealistic to expect them to remember them all right away. Highlighting the ones you believe are most critical for new homeowners to know, like when dues are owed and how to pay them, can help set new residents up for success.
Including a personalized message in the welcome letter feels warm and inviting for a new resident, but a digital copy can make the information easier to access for the homeowner, especially as they unpack boxes during moving time. PayHOA’s HOA management software can send physical mail as well as emails. It offers a portal for homeowners to access all their information, including welcome letters.
Communicating Through Violations
Although setting clear expectations in the welcome packet helps prevent violations, they are still bound to happen. Clearly and respectfully communicating through the issues keeps the peace and prevents more violations.
Sometimes, a warning is all that is needed to stop a problem. In many states, HOAs are required to send a written warning before proceeding with a violation. Even if that’s not the case, issuing a warning can reduce the number of infringements and improve relations between HOA management and residents.
The warning should include:
- the specific section of the covenants the resident has violated
- evidence of the violation
- actions the homeowner must take to remedy the issue
- a reasonable time period for homeowner response
- next steps if the problem isn’t corrected
HOA management software can issue and track warnings for individual properties, allowing HOA management to notice repeat offenders and take appropriate action. HOA management software can also detect certain rules broken more often than others. This could indicate that those rules need highlighting or clarification.
Remember, HOA management and residents are on the same team. Homeowners who are members of your HOA have agreed to a set of standards to maintain the beauty and value of the neighborhood. By enforcing these standards, HOA management merely enforces what homeowners agreed to.
Good Communication Brings People Together
Overall, good communication maintains a harmonious relationship between HOA management and residents. There are ways to go beyond this to build a tight-knit HOA community. HOA best practices encourage community events and parties to promote community spirit.
Community events are a significant investment into relationships between board members and residents as well as among residents. They create memories and foster a sense of belonging for residents. But, if they aren’t adequately shared, homeowners who miss the memo may feel slighted.
Technology that allows you to reach all residents, whether they tend to check their phone for texts or prefer to receive invitations through snail mail, enables everyone to participate in community bonding and team building.
You can make an event invitation more inclusive by:
- sending the invitation via social media, mail, and email to reach all residents by their preferred method of communication
- creating different versions of the event invitation in common languages spoken in your community
- using phone calls to share event invitations for people who are blind
The event invitation should be clear and easy to read with thorough information so that people can make an informed choice as to whether to attend.
Including the following information can allow people to decide with confidence whether they want to attend a community event:
- transportation and parking options
- schedule of events
- contact information for accessibility inquiries
Sharing event information up front minimizes unpleasant surprises. For example, a parent might decide not to bring a child sensitive to loud noises once they realize fireworks will be a part of the community event. By sending the invite to everyone and sharing relevant information, HOA management helps residents feel included and decide whether a community event is suitable for them and their families.
PayHOA: HOA Management Software Designed for Easy Communication
HOA management software can improve communication between homeowners and HOA management, but not all software is created equally.
HOA management software promotes a harmonious relationship between HOA management and residents with:
- updates via email or newsletter
- homeowner surveys
- various modes of communication to accommodate members’ preferences
PayHOA software allows you to send automated emails, text messages, phone calls, and mail. The software also has a survey feature to collect feedback and opinions of residents. PayHOA’s communication tools reside on one platform, designed explicitly with HOAs in mind. HOA management no longer needs to use separate software for accounting, correspondence, and tracking maintenance requests and violations. With PayHOA, everything you need to manage an HOA smoothly is in one portal.