A community means people; people engaged, residing harmoniously. Most are, however, unaware of their community relevance and responsibilities. Such member apathy is most often a consequence of poor interaction. It should be a board priority to reach out to current and new members frequently. This will achieve a greater sense of pride, connection and belonging. How does the Board achieve this? ………… Through education.
Fortunately, the Colorado State legislature recognizes this necessity. A community association must provide education to their owners at least annually. There is no statute requirement as to what specific topics are to be included, who should deliver the material, or how it should be delivered, only that any costs related to providing the education must be accounted for as a common expense. The content must relate to the general operations of the association and the rights and responsibilities of the owners, the association, and its board members. The board shall have the discretion as to how to comply.
While observing this provision, a board should try to be inspirational, constructive, and relevant. Educational sessions are also opportunities for the board to review their policies and practices, as well as gain appropriate member feedback, particularly on controversial or ambiguous resolutions.
Tools a board may use should include many, or all, of the following:
- Welcome packets for new members.
- Education (and Welcome) Committee.
- Continually updated website with educational section.
- Calendar of events.
- Regular meetings that provide educational material and encourage participation.
- Owner forums.
- Professional presentations.
- Electronic resources – many informational websites exist with free resources; most provide educational content to subscribers. The Community Associations Institute has numerous options available to assist with your owner education and awareness. More locally, the Colorado Homeowner Associations attorneys provide a variety of articles and advice on local issues.
- Local professionals – request a seminar by your association manager, HOA attorney, accountant, HOA consultant, or other relevant professional.
- The Colorado HOA Information Office and Resource Center, recently established by House Bill 1278, provides information on the rights and duties of homeowners and associations.