Association meetings, meeting minutes and newsletters are effective tools to communicate with owners about many aspects of a project. Creating committees of interested owners also increases involvement and transparency. “Business as usual” may not be enough for a project with a significant cost and scope. Before an association can expect its members to approve a significant cost and a project that may last several months or more, owners should be fully informed so that they are confident in the board of directors and the team that it has assembled.

One or more town-hall meetings to provide information to the owners is an effective way to communicate information and to allow owners to ask questions and become satisfied that there best interests are being protected. Once the team is assembled, it is wise to hold a meeting of the owners early in the process to introduce the professionals and consultants; explain their roles and answer questions. Rather than have volunteer board members trying to explain their decisions,

it is better to

allow the team to speak for themselves. While this process is likely a first for the board, experienced community association professionals have been involved in many projects of this type and what concerns to expect and how to best explain the project in an understandable way.

Owners should be fully informed about the legal requirements of state law and the governing documents, the factors leading

to the chosen scope of repair, consideration of alternatives, options for funding, and the expectations of the impact of the repair on the community. Owners who have never attended a meeting tend to become very interested in the decision-making of the board when faced with a special assessment. The team should help to give the owners confidence that the board has made a thoughtful and sound business judgment decision before presenting it to the owners for approval.

The Home Stretch:

Obtain Necessary Approvals After the board and its team have developed the best plan for the community and spent time helping owners understand the details of the project, then the association should seek necessary approvals. There may be multiple issues to approve, including the budget, amendments to the governing documents, and in some cases authority to borrow. Owners should be informed when and why each of these approvals is necessary and none should come as a surprise. The board, its manager and attorneys should ensure that all of the necessary approvals are done properly and in accordance with the governing documents.

Large-scale repair projects can be a daunting task. With proper planning, an experienced team and consistent communication to owners, the project can bring an association together for the improvement of the community. 17

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