Community Associations can benefit from creating committees to extend the effectiveness of the Board of Directors.
Boards typically consist of volunteer member residents who are elected to maintain uniform and equitable standards that benefit the Association as a whole. Many Board members must juggle HOA responsibilities. This is where committees can be exceedingly helpful. Committees are an integral part of the function of the Association and can assist with the functions and duties of a Board.
Acting in an advisory capacity, committees can assess problems or issues, and then make recommendations for the Board’s consideration. They can increase participation levels in the Association’s affairs through their interactions with the Board and homeowners. Committee work allows member residents to get to know each other on a more personal basis as they work together for the good of all. Committees can also be a training ground where new leaders gain knowledge and motivation to serve at a higher Board level.
Roles for HOA Committees
Generally speaking, there are two types of committees. Often you will find standing committees to oversee building and grounds, rules enforcement, communications, finances, architectural review and social functions. Ad-hoc committees are temporary committees that are assigned specific tasks. Those tasks might include amending the Homeowners Association’s bylaws, developing a new operating plan, recruiting new Board members or solving a particular problem affecting the Association. Ad-hoc committees are dissolved once their task is completed.
Formation of Committees
Most HOA documents sanction the creation of one or more specific committees, and the Board usually has the authority to add committees as it sees appropriate. Unless Governing Documents explicitly state otherwise, the Board can determine things like: the number of people to serve on a committee, qualifications to serve on a committee, how members can volunteer and/or be selected to a committee, and how members might be removed from a committee.
Empowering HOA Committees
A committee charter, created by the Board, is a tool that outlines a committee’s roles, responsibilities and authority.
Through a Board resolution, the Board can charter a committee with:
- A committee name
- A definition of the committee’s purpose
- A description of the committee’s responsibilities and limitations of their authority
- A determination of the committee’s term
- A budget, if appropriate
- Requirements for reporting – how often, in what format, etc.
- Limitations on its number of committee members (a minimum and a maximum)
- An appointment of a committee chairperson and perhaps the members
Once a committee is empowered, committee members can then take charge and accomplish their objectives. Generally, they tend to take a tremendous amount of pride in serving the Association. Be sure to recognize their efforts to the entire Homeowners Association membership and listen to, and respect their recommendations.
Be sure to check with your insurance broker to confirm your committee members are covered under your Association’s Directors & Officers policy.