If you’re moving to any type of planned residential community, whether a suburban development or urban condo, you may become part of a homeowners association. If an HOA exists, your membership is probably mandatory once you purchase your home. While paying dues is required, you may want to become a more active member of your HOA.
Attend your HOA board meetings and get to know how the process works. You may want to run for the board of directors someday and even become the HOA president. How often elections are held for HOA positions depends on bylaws.
While an HOA president's exact duties can vary, this authority role often involves handling meetings and media opportunities, signing off on leases, appointing members to committees and performing daily administrative duties.
How Homeowners Associations Work
An HOA board protects the interests of their community and its residents, ensuring the community’s continued financial and physical viability. Some HOAs may just take responsibility for property held in common by the residents, such as swales and storm water detention basins. That minimal but important oversight occurs more often in suburban developments. When planned communities include common areas such as swimming pools, tennis courts, recreation centers and the like, the HOA is in charge of their upkeep and usage.
In some situations, HOAs are responsible for snow plowing, hiring garbage and recycling contractors and other regular maintenance issues. In others the municipality in which the planned community is located takes care of these items as they do for other residents.
HOA Presidential Responsibilities
The HOA board of directors consists of a president, vice president, treasurer and secretary. The HOA president serves as the executive officer of the board of directors. As with any executive officer, the president is responsible for running meetings, establishing the agenda and executing contracts and other legal documents pertaining to the HOA. Daily administration of the HOA also falls within the president’s purview.
The president generally serves as the liaison to the HOA’s property manager. Specific presidential duties for each HOA are indicated in the association’s bylaws. For example, if the bylaws give the president the authority, he is the person appointing members to various HOA-related committees. If the building involved is a co-op, the president’s signature may be necessary on leases and stock certificates.
Leader of the Community
Although the president of a larger HOA is not equivalent to the mayor in a town or city, she is a leader in the community and may represent the HOA in outside meetings or events affecting the planned community. When the media contacts the HOA about an issue, it is the president who should respond.
Experience Needed for HOA Presidency
A person with a business or management background is probably the best candidate for an HOA presidency, but there’s another caveat. If you’re thinking about running for HOA president, make sure you have the time available because it’s often a big commitment. Most HOA presidents start out on the board of directors so they can learn the ropes of HOA governance before advancing to a higher position.