18 Apr How to Navigate Rules, Regulations, and Resident Engagement at Your Community
Holiday celebrations at an HOA managed community have the very real possibility to be difficult with the rules and regulations that exist to keep everyone safe. While residents and team members alike may both want extravagant or large celebrations, it may not be possible – this does not mean they cannot still be fun, though!
Do your research! Depending on your state, your community will have to abide by different rules concerning what can and cannot be done at a community event. With summer coming up, it’s important to pay attention to fire and safety regulations in your state or city – as fireworks may be set off by residents no matter what rules your HOA has set. So, how can you make celebrations a fun and exciting time, while reinforcing the rules? Additionally, how can you get your residents more involved in these celebrations?
First, we’ll look at the rules portion:
- Check HOA documents covering this very topic.
It’s very common for associations to have rules that enforce decorations, lights, fire safety, and how strict these rules need to be. These rules are put in place to keep the community neat and tidy, while others are there to address safety concerns such as fire hazards. Talk with your Board or HOA management company to get the most updated information on what you can and cannot enforce.
- Take note of laws that are higher up than the HOA rules. You may not be able to enforce certain things in certain places such as religious displays, for example, but it is important you check to make sure you aren’t prohibiting your residents’ freedom of speech or expression. Check your local state or city laws to ensure you aren’t breaking any yourself before you attempt to enforce something at the community level.
- Don’t single out certain residents over others. In other words, do not play favorites! This will only get you and your Board into territory you don’t want to be in – if multiple residents violate a rule, you’ll need to enforce it upon all of them, not just one in particular. Be fair.
- Understand the steps the Board must take in order to enforce rules. Understanding what the Board needs to do will help you as a community manager, HOA management company, or other onsite team member. The first step being a fine levied to enforce compliance along with a notice of the violation. The second step involves taking more drastic measures if the violations do not cease: a suspension of voting rights, self-help, or restriction of access to community amenities. Lastly, if violations continue to occur, the Board will then file legal action. All these steps are in place to keep the community safe as a whole. This should help to realize what must be put in place before deciding how to proceed with certain aspects or details of an intended celebration at your association.
After taking the time to check every box and make sure you are in the clear to plan a resident event, you’ll have to take the next step of encouraging residents to attend! This is more of a customer service aspect, however taking the time to dedicate yourself to your residents and community they call home will get you better results for engagement, participation, and attendance at resident events or other resident-reliant opportunities.
Companies like Worth Ross Management Company are a people-first business. Service that is always above expectations is first and foremost, without a doubt. Let’s look at what the experts in service say about resident engagement and planning for an event that will keep your residents coming back:
- Welcome new homeowners. Excellent service begins when they first walk through the doors to tour your community and it doesn’t stop there. When a prospective resident decides to make your association their home, welcome them with open arms on move-in day. Most communities provide a welcome package that should include a letter from the HOA welcoming them, information about how to get involved in their community, and a small gift central to the association such as a coffee mug with the HOA logo, a gift card to a nearby café, or a refrigerator magnet with helpful information such as contact numbers for the front desk, maintenance, or manager of the association.
- Plan for the date! Be mindful of religious holidays and careful not to label a holiday party explicitly as a “Christmas Party” or “Easter Party”, etc. Instead, find a common word that will unite residents of all ethnicities, backgrounds, and religions (e.g. “Holiday Party”). Most celebrations are neutral such as Independence Day or New Year’s.
- Communicate with your homeowners! This tip is perhaps the most important one – ask your homeowners what they want to get together to celebrate! This can be especially helpful if your onsite team or Board are having a hard time determining what events to hold. Send out a poll to residents and provide some predetermined options, but offer a spot where they can write a recommendation in themselves. It may be something you have not even considered or thought of! Along the same lines, advertise the event! Once something is chosen and a date has been set, gather all pertinent information, and send out a community-wide email to advertise for the occasion. Tell homeowners what the event theme will be, where it will be held, and what will be done during the event. Send out multiple announcements for the event as reminders; not too often, though! Once per week leading up to the event should do just fine.
The finer details such as resident events are often what keep homeowners satisfied and happy to call your association home. Contact your Board or HOA management company for extra help with rules and regulations for events, or for some guidance on lifestyle event planning! Companies such as WRMC can offer you advice that will elevate your association in ways you never thought possible!