There is so much to look forward to in the months of summer: long days spent by the pool, more relaxed schedules without rushing kids to school and soccer practices, and the smell of burgers and hot dogs cooking over a charcoal grill. As temperatures creep up, the responsibility of HOA management to sustain neighborhood attractiveness, safety, and a warm community remains.
For the ninth time in 17 years, residents of HOA communities are overwhelmingly satisfied with their HOA communities. Although this harmonious relationship between homeowners and management is worth celebrating, it doesn’t mean HOA management can stop and take a summer vacation. HOAs are in charge of preserving community aesthetics, the welfare of members, and an inclusive and welcoming culture throughout these summer months and the rest of the year.
HOA management 101: maintaining the community
Communities expect HOA management to keep neighborhoods beautiful yearround. As seasons change, let’s take stock of the maintenance schedule and expectations and update it to fit the summertime.
Maintenance duties to evaluate:
- Power-washing sidewalks
- Maintaining pool and grill
- Testing sprinkler system
HOA management is responsible for the common areas and shared community spaces. Their goal is also to ensure residents are meeting the expectations outlined by the HOA’s rules and regulations. Encouraging residents to assess their personal properties against the rules and regulations of the HOA community can help homeowners to avoid penalties and hefty maintenance costs.
Summer is the perfect time to complete necessary general maintenance like repaving streets, pressure-washing sidewalks, and painting buildings. Better weather allows projects to be completed without delays.
Projects the HOA should be thinking about in preparation for summertime:
- Landscaping: planting trees and flowers, or adding a fresh layer of mulch will improve curb appeal and make a huge difference in the way homeowners feel about their neighborhood.
- Preparing and maintaining summer amenities and equipment: check pools, grills, and sprinklers to ensure they are in good working order. These amenities will be used more in the summer.
- Planning a fundraiser: a fun summer event can raise money for improvements in the HOA community. Fundraising can help complete desired projects without raising dues.
As the Board of Directors plans construction and other major projects throughout the year, they should consider what can be scheduled during the summer months. It just might be the best time for a substantial project that will improve members’ satisfaction with their HOA and their neighborhood.
Prevention of fines and penalties
Nobody likes giving or receiving notices of fines and penalties. Prevention of fines is best for both homeowners and HOA management. Many violations can occur simply from homeowners not being aware of their responsibilities or misunderstanding the regulations set forth by the HOA.
Make sure members of the HOA understand the rules and regulations all year round.
- Maintain open access to HOA rules and regulations.
- Highlight seasonal rules in a monthly or quarterly newsletter (i.e. rules for the pool or using the community grills in a summer newsletter).
- Share most frequent violations through website, newsletter, or mass email with HOA management software.
Although HOA management and homeowners alike want to avoid penalties as much as possible, they may become necessary to maintain the aesthetic qualities and high property values that draw people to a neighborhood. In communicating violations, always follow best practices to maintain consistency so that homeowners know what to expect and everyone is treated equally.
Best practices for delivering notices to homeowners
Violations are still bound to happen, even if the rules and regulations are clearly listed and easily accessible. Summer is a time of carefree fun, but rule enforcement, fees, and penalties are an ongoing part of HOA management’s work and are necessary for the community’s collective wellbeing.
Make sure you follow these steps to deliver bad news as smoothly as possible.
- Be professional. Use the same templates with each resident.
- Use HOA management software to deliver notices to put distance between Board members and homeowners.
- Remind homeowners of why regulation is in place so they don’t feel singled out and are reminded that rules are in place for the benefit of the community.
Safety is a huge reason many people choose to live in an HOA community. It’s important for HOA management to consistently do their part to keep crime out of the neighborhood year round. Household property crime reaches its peak in the summertime so homeowners and HOA management must remain vigilant.
Some ways HOA management can prevent crime in the area:
- Send reminders about keeping your household secure in a summer newsletter (lock doors, ask neighbors to watch your house while you’re on vacation, and be smart about sharing your travel plans).
- Be consistent with rules regarding community areas (supervision for children, no alcohol, grilling away from trees, etc).
- Send a newsletter or other mass communication about heat safety, including maintaining HVAC units and energy-saving tips.
Although ensuring rules and regulations are followed by members of the HOA is crucial year-round for successful HOA management, that shouldn’t be the HOA’s only function. Living in a warm and engaged community is another big reason people choose to live in HOA-managed communities. From a block party to a fundraiser, a summer event is a fantastic way to keep spirits high, bring people together, and remind members why they love living in an HOA community.
HOA management software can make hosting an event easier for volunteers.
- Use customizable surveys post-event to get feedback on whether the event was a success or how it can be improved.
- Utilize digital registration can help event planners stay organized, effortlessly collect information from attendees, and get feedback about user experience.
- Spread the word with emails, texts, and printed mailers. No more calling each person or stuffing envelopes. PayHOA can do it all.
A large summer event is sure to be a blast for your residents, but it’s not the only way to help neighbors connect. Hosting smaller, more regular events keeps neighbors engaged and enjoying each other’s company throughout the summer months.
- Create an indoor book club to beat the heat and read summer bestsellers.
- Host summer storytelling events for young kids and their caregivers.
- Provide community classes to keep learning all summer long.
Maintaining the standards and expectations of residents in your community is important at any time of year. HOA management must remain consistent when it comes to enforcing the rules that keep the neighborhood beautiful and property values high. With crime on the rise in the summer, high temperatures that can become dangerous, as well as an increase in accidents from summer activities like swimming and riding bikes, safety should be a priority for HOA management and all homeowners.
Finally, unity is crucial for a happy, healthy, HOA community. Hosting a combination of smaller, regular events as well as large, one-time summer parties can bring people of all ages and backgrounds together. The goal of happy communities is to enjoy your neighbors and your shared spaces. HOA management can help shape and direct neighborhood events and activities while also keeping spaces clean and safe.