Ask any community association manager what their top three frustrations are, and I am one hundred percent positive that they will say that owners not reading their documents is at the top of the list! Psssst! Board members too…
I don’t know about you, but I am confused about why the importance of reading the governing documents is so poorly understood? I can accept the role of enforcer, but honestly, on many occasions, I feel terrible sending out violations letters, because it is obvious that many owners have no idea what the rules are!
I am considering how to make it more fun to learn the rules, and I am working on a kind of game (like Bingo or Clue) to encourage participation in learning the rules that govern the communities we manage. I have discussed this with my staff and, as usual, they think I’m nuts. But, we have to think creatively (See that? I didn’t say “outside of the box”.) to find ways to engage owners. The documents are often dry and written in such legal speak, that it may be difficult for people understand. Perhaps we can incorporate emojis and avatars in place of words? Perhaps a contest, a scavenger hunt, fun prizes and bragging rights!
Reading and understanding the documents is fundamental to managing the community. It is vital for owners to have a fundamental understanding of what their responsibilities are in order to have the best opportunity to enjoy their community. I would love to have a larger conversation about how we, as an industry, can help foster a sense of shared accountability for how the association’s governing documents impact every owner, guest and vendor.
Endeavor to persevere.
Tanoa Lynne Poirier is the Managing Principal at Poirier Enterprises Inc., specializing in the management of community associations, commercial and investment properties, and individual residences in South Florida.
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