Can the HOA President Make Decisions Without Consulting Others?

Can the HOA President Make Decisions Without Consulting Others?

Living in a community governed by a Homeowners Association (HOA) means being part of a structured system designed to maintain property values and community standards. 

At the helm of this system is the HOA president. But just how much power does this position hold? Can the president of the HOA vote and make decisions without consulting others?

Knowing the role of HOA presidents and their limits of power can help you as a member – or a future board member – as you navigate the rules and regulations of your community.

 

 

What is the Role of the HOA President?

Before we tackle our main question, it’s crucial to understand what an HOA president actually does. An HOA board is usually made up of several elected members, with the president often being one of them. The president is responsible for overseeing the board’s operations and ensuring that it follows the HOA’s governing documents.

The specific duties of an HOA president can vary depending on the size and structure of the community. In general, however, they are responsible for tasks such as presiding over board meetings, setting meeting agendas, signing important documents on behalf of the association, and acting as a liaison between homeowners and the board.

While the HOA president does hold a position of authority within the community, their power is not unlimited. In most cases, decisions made by an HOA must be voted on by the entire board, with the president having only one vote.

Can The HOA President Make Decisions Unilaterally?

In general, an HOA president cannot make significant decisions without consulting others. Here’s why:

  1. Board Structure: HOAs are typically governed by a board of directors, not just the president. This board is responsible for making decisions on behalf of the community, and the president is just one member of this group.
  2. Governing Documents: The HOA’s governing documents, such as bylaws and covenants, may outline specific procedures for decision-making within the association. These documents often require a majority vote from the board before any significant decisions can be made.
  3. Legal Obligations: As with any organization, an HOA must follow state laws and regulations. This means that certain decisions may require legal counsel or approval from higher authorities.
  4. Ethical Considerations: The role of the HOA president is to serve the best interests of the community as a whole, not their own personal agenda. Making unilateral decisions without considering input and feedback from other board members and residents can be seen as unethical.

When Can the President Act Alone?

There are instances when the HOA president may have the authority to act alone without board approval. These include emergency situations where immediate action is necessary to protect the safety and well-being of residents, such as a natural disaster or urgent repairs that cannot wait for a board meeting.

  1. Emergency Situations: If immediate action is needed to prevent harm or damage, the president may act quickly and inform the board later.
  2. Delegated Authority: The board may vote to give the president authority to make certain decisions on their behalf.
  3. Day-to-Day Operations: Minor, routine decisions might fall under the president’s purview.

Typically, this is a rare occurrence and the president should always consult with the board before making any major decisions on behalf of the HOA.

What are the Dangers of Unilateral Decision-Making?

When an HOA president oversteps their bounds and makes decisions without proper consultation, it can lead to several issues such as:

  • Lack of accountability: If a decision backfires, the president may try to deflect blame onto the rest of the board or other members.
  • Loss of trust and credibility: Members may feel that their voices are not being heard and that their opinions do not matter.
  • Legal ramifications: Unilateral decisions can potentially lead to legal disputes if they are deemed to be against the interests of the HOA or its members.
  • Strained relationships: Making decisions without proper consultation can create tension and conflict within the board and between the president and other members.
  • Failure to consider all perspectives: By making unilateral decisions, the president may overlook important information or perspectives from other board members, leading to uninformed choices.

How to Ensure Proper Decision-Making

To maintain a healthy HOA and prevent overreach by any single board member, including the president, you’ll want to get involved in the decision-making process from the start.

By being an engaged and active member of the board, you can help ensure that all perspectives are considered and that decisions are made in the best interest of the HOA as a whole.

What If the President Is Overstepping?

If you believe your HOA president is making decisions without proper consultation, here are some steps you can take:

  1. Review Governing Documents: Familiarize yourself with the HOA’s bylaws and CC&Rs.
  2. Attend Board Meetings: Stay informed about what’s happening in your community.
  3. Communicate Concerns: Reach out to other board members or the management company if you have concerns.
  4. Consider Removal: In extreme cases, there are processes for removing board members, including the president.

Remember, as a member of the board, you have a responsibility to act in the best interest of your community. If you believe that the president is not doing so, it’s important to address the issue and work towards finding a solution together.

In HOAs, Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Ultimately, while the HOA president plays a crucial role in community leadership, they are part of a larger team. The most effective HOAs operate with a spirit of collaboration, transparency, and shared responsibility.

Remember, if you’re concerned about decision-making in your HOA, get involved! Attend meetings, volunteer for committees, or even consider running for a board position yourself. After all, a community is only as strong as the engagement of its members.

Register for our August 1st webinar on The Importance of an HOA Website.

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