guest blog by Deborah Goonan
A Tongue-in-Cheek Guide for HOA Boards & Managers
1. Create as many rules as you can, the pickier, the better.
a. Be sure to create rules in closed session rather than an open meeting.
b. Optional: provide an announcement of the new rules only AFTER you have put them in effect. Then ignore any objections.
c. Rules created hastily as a knee-jerk reaction are guaranteed to cause maximum conflict.
2. Be inconsistent about enforcing the rules.
a. Allow friends and family to break rules. They will help you stay in power.
b. If you are a Board member, you can make up your own rules. If anyone challenges you, tell the resident you are entitled to special privileges for doing such a thankless job.
c. Use penalties for breaking rules as a weapon against residents you do not like, especially disgruntled troublemakers, or anyone who does not “fit in” with your expectations.
3. Drive through the community actively looking for violations, so you can start sending nasty letters and charging fines.
4. Encourage residents to turn in their neighbors for various violations of rules.
5. Be especially vigilant about citing the following groups with rule violations: the elderly, people with disabilities, single parents and their children, veterans, racial and ethnic minorities, and any resident that dares to question your competence, ethics, or authority.
6. Treat members like wayward children. Play the role of Strict Parent by scolding or talking down to them.
a. Post stern reminder notices about not breaking rules in public places and in the newsletter.
b. Repeat the mantra “the rules are the rules, and must be followed.”
7. Alternative: treat members like insubordinate employees. Play the role of Authoritarian Boss. Use bully tactics, swift and harsh penalties, and always speak in condescending tones. After all, you must keep the residents in line.
8. Find an unscrupulous HOA Attorney, and then keep him or her busy escalating disputes and running up legal fees for violators and the HOA.
9. Authorize expensive contracts for unnecessary “emergency” repairs and renovations, without a vote of residents.
a. Do not waste money on “boring” maintenance and repairs such as cleaning gutters, fixing plumbing leaks, or seal coating roads.
b. Focus your attention on “window dressing” and “fluff” instead.
10. Issue a special assessment to cover excess legal and maintenance costs.
a. Then move swiftly to lien and foreclose on residents that cannot afford to pay the special assessment.