April 22nd, 2020
We are all impacted by COVID-19 in some way. While there has been — and no doubt will continue to be — no shortage of support for homeowners with mortgage payments and tenants with rent payments, there has not been a lot of assistance for home owners associations (HOAs). This may not be unexpected, as in most states HOAs operate as corporate entities under state law. HOAs must abide by corporate governance documents, which tend to be inflexible in terms of policy adoptions to change payment and related requirements. This contrasts with the policies we are seeing enacted by federal, state, and local authorities to assist home owners and tenants.
Even if this sort of policy change flexibility were available to them, HOAs operate and rely on owner/member payments as a vital means to continue corporate operations. If HOA members themselves are impacted financially by real world realities, there is a the potential to cause short or long-term financial stress to HOAs. While there still are a lot of unknowns about our future with COVID-19, but there are steps HOAs can take now to help reduce risks as this unfortunate scenario takes its course.
These steps include:
- Moving to technology platforms, services, and solutions
- Adopting new or updating existing collection policies
- Creating flexibility in operations to minimize potential disruptions
- Educating owners about support programs available federally or, in some instances, at the state and local levels
COVID-19 is causing us all to reflect on and assess what is important — and to adapt to change, on many levels. For HOA owners, this may mean changes to operations and taking proactive steps now to prepare for what may come down the road.
We wish you safety and security.