How do you fill a vacancy in HOA board positions? This problem can be disruptive to community operations and challenging to overcome. But, while the process may be time-consuming, it’s certainly worth the difficulty to keep your homeowners association healthy.
How to Fill a Vacancy in HOA Board Positions
Vacancies in the HOA board can be problematic for several reasons. But, dealing with a vacant position isn’t as hard as some may think. Simply following these key steps can keep the community functional.
1. Assess Your Community’s Needs
Is it vital to fill vacant HOA board positions? Not necessarily. That’s because HOAs usually require only a small number of board members. Too many can overwhelm the board and even cause chaos. Moreover, operational efficiency doesn’t necessarily rely on the number of members on the board. It’s often more important that the board members elected into their positions are qualified for their jobs.
The board should evaluate the association’s needs before electing or appointing a new board member. Here are a few points to consider:
- Board Morale. Is the current environment good or bad? Do the board members need another team member to improve team morale?
- Workload. Are the current members able to fulfill all the HOA’s duties? Does the board need additional expertise from a new board member?
- Opinion of the Membership. If the board does not elect a new member, will the other residents feel like they were hindered from serving the HOA? Will the homeowners feel like the board is abusing its authority if it chooses not to elect a new member?
- Next Elections. When is the next homeowners association election? Will the new board member be replaced in a couple of months? Can the current HOA board handle the workload in the meantime?
2. Review State Law and the HOA Governing Documents
Apart from the community’s needs, the board must review state law. That’s because some states have certain requirements for filling a vacancy in HOA board positions. They may outline several rules regarding how many board members there should be and the appointment process. For instance, the Florida Statutes Section 718.112 states that, unless written in the bylaws, the board can fill a vacancy by appointment without a quorum.
Apart from this, certain states even designate different procedures depending on how the person was removed. For example, California’s Corporations Code Section 7224 states that vacancies may be filled by the board’s approval after meeting a quorum. But, this only applies to vacancies not created by removing a board member. If the board member is removed, the vacancy may only be filled by approval of the members. However, both rules are only valid if the bylaws do not state otherwise.
Different states will have different laws regarding filling vacant board positions. Hence, the board members must review relevant local and state laws with their HOA management company or attorney to ensure compliance. Otherwise, they may be held legally liable.
In addition, the HOA board must review the governing documents. The bylaws often contain the protocols the community should follow in the event of a vacancy in HOA board positions. They also outline what the community’s election procedures are and who is eligible. For example, they may indicate that the board must follow Roberts Rules of Order in filling vacancies in the HOA.
3. Communicate With the Residents
If the board chooses to fill the vacancy, they need to communicate this decision with the residents. Being transparent is vital to keeping the board accountable to the rest of the community. If the board is looking for an applicant, it’s also a good opportunity to encourage interested members to apply.
4. Craft a Job Description
The board must diligently craft a job description if the HOA is looking for candidates. It should clearly dictate what the role will entail. This allows candidates to understand whether or not they qualify for the position. Consider adding the following to the job description:
- Role and responsibilities
- Required skills
- Meeting attendance requirements
- Required number of hours per week dedicated to fulfilling board duties
5. Create an Inviting Recruitment Letter
The board should create an inspiring and compelling recruitment letter if the HOA must look for applicants. This can spur interest among the homeowners association’s membership. Make sure to describe what the board does for the community and how important the role is.
6. Carefully Appoint or Elect a Board Member
It may be tempting to elect or appoint a new board member immediately, but the board must be careful when it comes to filling a vacancy in HOA board positions. Board members have heavy duties to fulfill. They must be reliable, responsible, and committed. Don’t rush the process, and review all the applications carefully. Once each application is thoughtfully examined, the board can select a new member.
Electing Interim Board Members
At times, it may be impossible for the HOA board to take their time to select a new board member. For example, the HOA may have originally had eight people on the board. But, because of several incidents, the number may have reduced to three. In this case, the association may not be able to operate without quickly electing new board members.
However, instead of haphazardly choosing the first few candidates to apply, the HOA can also consider electing residents to act as interim board members. This allows the homeowners association to stay functional without rushing through the election process.
Effective Homeowners Association Management
Filling a vacancy in HOA board positions can be tough work for the remaining board members, and it’s certainly an important part of running a community. It’s especially crucial for larger communities with more work to be done.
Finding the right member to appoint or handling the election process can be challenging for HOA board members to do alone. If your community is struggling, Elite Management Services can help. We provide high-quality HOA management services to homeowners associations of all sizes. Contact us online or call us today at (855) 238-8488 for more information!