Having apathetic leadership is a problem in some buildings, though a board that oversteps the boundaries of its power or invades the privacy of residents also can be a headache. An informed board, however, should be less apt to go beyond its authority and cause trouble for the community they serve.
Keeping a board on-task and working within the parameters of its authority is not just about avoiding trouble, but also a question of lessening harm. People who are living in close proximity to each other are bound to occasionally rub each other the wrong way and tensions shouldn’t be increased by imprudent actions taken by the board. An out-of-touch board won’t begin to recognize this fact, but an educated board will never forget it.
All association board members and residents should know about the legal and ethical boundaries under which boards operate. Understanding those parameters will help board members to know when to exercise caution, consult their professionals, and more. Not knowing the limits of the boundaries of the board’s power, though, can lead to trouble, and even unnecessary lawsuits.
Board members are volunteers who learn, while doing their volunteer job, how to manage a community. But like any occupation, one can handle it better with some research. To start, board members should familiarize themselves with the community’s bylaws and any other documents which govern the board’s authority. Some lawyers who serve community associations and HOAs will offer a tutorial as a service to help board members become familiar with the bylaws and other rules governing the community, giving an overview of board members’ duties.
Boards have a fiduciary responsibility to work to protect the property and people in the community, and the board cannot give itself the right to do things that aren’t proscribed in the community’s governing documents. Part of that fiduciary responsibility involves much more than maintaining common property of the community—it’s also about maintaining peace and order, maintaining insurance, making rules for the community and other managerial duties.