HOA board getting too powerful

by Sherry
(Somewhere in California)

What is the best way to campaign for being elected to my HOA board? I think the board we have now is making too many regulations. They wouldn't even let us put up a flag on Fourth of July.

Editors' Reply:
Judging by the e-mails we received both before and after we launched this question and answer feature on the site, you're not alone in being really aggravated about how your homeowners association (HOA for those who live with this every day) is behaving.

(Either that, or you've been writing in using several different e-mails trying to get us to answer! Take that as a joke, please.)

As we point out on our page about real estate covenants, the content of the master deed, declarations, or whatever it's called in your homeowners association, can be quite restrictive.

As to how to campaign for being elected, it's like any campaign you've made since sixth grade. It's best to be known, be active, and be liked before you start. (If not, you may want to spend a year preparing to run; if people don't know and like you, it will be difficult.)

Then we suggest going door to door to introduce yourself and to explain why you're running. This especially will be effective if people feel quite safe and will open their doors for you. In most communities having a homeowners association, it shouldn't be difficult to engage people in the conversation.

Don't start out the conversation in an aggressive fashion, talking about throwing the bums out. Start diplomatically, saying how you think a few things could be improved, rather than starting out with an attack on the current officers.

Think how you will feel later if you've just gone on and on about how terrible the current board is, and then you find out that you're talking to the daughter of one of them.

Everyone that is on the board has, or at least did have, friends in the development. Keep that in mind. Be kind but factual and firm about what needs to change.

Your Fourth of July example is a good one, but maybe not sufficient in the minds of some people. You still have to be seen as popular, business-like, and trustworthy.

Usually you can leave your literature if people aren't at home or won't open the door. But check your CC&Rs before you leave home. If you're running against the status quo and you don't put your election literature in the right place, the current HOA board will get you!

If you can't leave literature in the door or under the mat, you may have to resort to repeat visits or the postal service. (It's illegal to put your literature in a mailbox yourself in the U.S.)


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Dictatorships or democracy?
by: Donna

Oh Boy! I'm glad to find a sounding board but hope to find some real answers to many problems. The HOA I belong to is very secretive about our financial status. Bylaws state homeowners have the right to view our financials given a notice. The repeated response is an owner needs to hire an attorney to view this information. Bylaws don't imply or suggest any such thing! Many new rules and regulations are being applied, since 2008 owners have rented out their home to save it from foreclosure and/or have let it go to foreclosure. Investors are coming in as well which is even worse. The biggest fear is not knowing that our reserve is sufficient. We have been experiencing increase in dues and at least two significant assessments. It's been a struggle to get new owners on the board. Two board members have been there for 10 years! Please keep posting any helpful information you can.

Editors Reply This sort of thing does happen. Can you call a community meeting, maybe by just calling it a potluck BBQ? Boards tend to respond to a crowd more than to one individual. Good luck with this.

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HOA too powerful
by: sherri

Our HOA is pushing to charge people $3000.00 if I would sell my house within two years of purchasing it. They also want to charge renters $500.00 and will only let 20 percent of the homes be rented out. They also want a person to own the home for two years before they rent it out. The HOA is too powerful and is running over everyone.

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