D.M. from Hartford County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Our small association of less than 30 homes has enough board members to comply with requirements but none of the board members want to be President and handle responsibilities including taking calls from residents as we have no management company. Can a board legally operate without a President?
Mister Condo replies:
D.M., I am sorry that in your small homeowners association fielding phone calls for a few dozen homeowners would preclude someone from wanting to serve as President. I am not sure what issues exist in your community but phone calls from residents should not be a common occurrence other than for emergencies. Could you not simply create an HOA-specific email address and instruct owners to email their concerns to that address. There is no need to allow 24/7 access to any Board member via phone. I do not offer legal advice in this column so I cannot answer as the legality of the operation of the Board without a President but I will say it is uncommon. The President is typically the officer of record for signing contracts and other documents that require executive authorization. Your governing documents likely detail the roles of the offices for the Board. You might also consider a hybrid management model with some sort of outsourcing for phone calls. Even an answering service could handle the task. All the best!
1 thought on “Too Many Homeowner Phone Calls Preventing HOA BOD Presidency”
I agree you do have to look to your governing documents. It is often stated in bylaws the Vice President shall perform duties of the President in the absence or inability of the President, but it would be like running on a spare tire forever, which is meant to be a temporary solution, not intended to be permanent. But you should always check with your association attorney when doing something outside of what is expected, as we have been hearing more and more condo complexes nobody wants to be on the board and they are casting about how to make do for officer positions, also.
Our complex has the “one-email address” formula, and it is not popular at all – can I say “hated”? We do have a management company, but the property manager has to run every single thing past the board, so it is an extra layer between unit owners and board, but the board president still gets the questions. Our Resident Guide Emergency Contact Info only lists an email for the board even for a crisis. It means emergencies are not handled well, as the property manager doesn’t get a call in the middle of the night, it goes to maintenance, and if maintenance receives the call and can oblige, they will drive from an hour away to get to the complex, only to say they can’t do anything.
If there are that many telephone inquiries coming in over the transom, it makes me wonder if the building(s) have a lot of problems from deferred maintenance, too many temporary fixes, etc. As most unit owners are often asking for assistance with something broken, at least around here. Also, many seniors in our complex have no computer, so email doesn’t work for them.
I think our community was much happier and better served when all the directors’ names and tel numbers were posted on the bulletin boards – share the pain – as people would tend to call the director they know best and feel most comfortable talking with especially if they need to explain something and the property manager hasn’t been responsive. This is helpful to be able to talk with a director esp when your board meetings have a two-or-three minute rule for open forum. Where to go with problems?
I never ever call a director, even though I have most of their tel numbers, but most people are very unhappy and say that “lack of communication” is one of the biggest problems at our complex. I only email so I have a record of what the matter was about.
So, it is hard to say the board president should be the one that the has to be the shock absorber for all inquiries and concerns. Perhaps letting residents call anyone on the board and having their email and tel numbers posted as a tryout.