Homeowner apathy is a common problem faced by associations. While this can sometimes be normal, apathy in the community could indicate that not everyone is content and happy. Homeowners’ association (HOA) board should strive for better engagement and involvement among residents. They should have the opportunity to speak up and express their feelings. Here are ways to get rid of apathy in the HOA.
Why You Should Get Rid of Apathy in the HOA
Homeowners are a crucial part of the community. Without them, the HOA wouldn’t have anyone or anything to work for. The board members resolve homeowners’ concerns and put their ideas into motion. They’re also the ones who use the equipment and facilities that the board works hard to maintain. That’s why it’s always important to keep these homeowners engaged and involved in community matters.
Low attendance or participation rates in board meetings and other community events aren’t always due to apathy. It could just mean that homeowners are busy with their own lives. However, you shouldn’t easily dismiss the issue of apathy in the community.
There’s always a risk that homeowners become apathetic, especially if they feel like their presence and voice aren’t acknowledged by the association. This, in turn, could lead to HOA dysfunction. So how do you get rid of apathy in the community? It’s all about open and honest communication.
How to Get Rid of Apathy in the HOA
Here are some ways to get rid of apathy in the HOA:
1. Open a Dialogue with Your Community
You can get rid of apathy in the HOA by opening a dialogue with your community members. Don’t wait for them to come to you.
Create opportunities where they can express their opinions and provide feedback on community matters. You can host quarterly, monthly, or weekly meetings — or even emergency meetings if there are urgent matters.
Meetings should have an open and inviting atmosphere that is conducive to the sharing of ideas. Allowing them to air their grievances or opinions is one thing.
You should also talk to them and thank them for their responses. It’s important that the homeowners feel heard. Record their responses so that you don’t miss out on the suggestions they make.
2. Answer Questions Publicly
Usually, when one person asks a question, there are many others with the same question but are too afraid to ask. Answer questions in front of everyone during meetings, or through your newsletters, will help get these questions answered for the majority.
3. Be Open About Community Goals
You can also get rid of apathy in the HOA by being open about community goals. It will be easier to get volunteers when residents know and understand the HOA board’s goals for the community. Allow people to voice their opinions about the goals, especially when there are major challenges or decisions to be made.
4. Acknowledge the Value Homeowners Offer
There are a lot of homeowners who are open to volunteering but don’t know in what capacity they are able to help. Make an effort to announce upcoming projects or events, and how valuable the community’s involvement will be in the success of these activities.
Provide homeowners with details about the activities, the different committees they can join, and the type of work involved in each role. This way, homeowners can find activities that will suit their interests and talents.
You might even find volunteers with expertise in project planning, events hosting, and the like. As more residents help run the community and its activities, attendance will also increase.
5. Send Community Updates
One of the ways to foster community involvement is by having a transparent HOA. The board should regularly send community updates so that the homeowners are aware of what’s going on in the community.
Community updates should include plans for maintenance and repairs, upcoming community events, important community issues, and financial reports. If homeowners can see that their assessments are being put to good use, they will be more open to the planned projects. It might even encourage them to volunteer more.
6. Share the Good News
Nobody likes hearing bad news, but more often than not, the HOA board will be talking about community issues or problems. In order to provide a balance, you should also share the good news.
Give kudos to neighbors who are doing good things in and outside the community. Announce their achievements and accomplishments through the email list, newsletter, website, social media accounts, or even your community boards. The homeowners will appreciate your kind words or encouragement.
The HOA should also recognize the residents that help during community events. You can hand out certificates or acknowledge their efforts in the meetings. This will be enough validation that will encourage them to continue volunteering in the future.
7. Welcome New Residents
Make new residents feel welcome when they join the association. You can assign a board member to tour them around the community, orient them about the rules and regulations, and provide them with a social calendar for the upcoming year. The HOA can even host a yearly gathering for the new residents. Doing all these ensures that your new residents are engaged and involved right from the start.
8. Consult Your HOA Manager
The HOA can double-down on their efforts by consulting an HOA manager. An HOA management company will have expertise when it comes to dealing with homeowner apathy.
Your HOA manager will have the resources and tools to combat this problem before it turns into HOA dysfunction. The HOA management company can also provide initial feedback before announcements are disseminated to the community.
Keep the Momentum Going and Get Rid of Apathy in the HOA
To successfully get rid of apathy in the HOA, you need to be consistent with your efforts. You can’t just send out newsletters and expect homeowners to be instantly engaged. Create a plan and stick with it for at least six months. You can also enlist your HOA manager to monitor community engagement. You’ll likely notice that interest will increase during this time, as more people see their neighbors getting involved and will decide to join, as well.
- How To Handle Bullies On Your HOA Board
- 5 Steps To Handle HOA Complaints In Your Community
- The Do’s And Don’ts Of Addressing Open Comments In HOA Meetings