To get a smooth shave I’m told that you need to:
- have a sharp razor;
- use a good soap/cream;
- be careful and methodical;
Well, getting a smooth transition of your community association from declarant control to homeowner control is exactly the same.
First, you need a sharp razor. I don’t mean to slit someone’s throat, but rather, a razor-sharp focus on the process. To get this focus, it is important that boards and managers know the following:
- What does your state statute require during transition – what timelines exist for election of the board by the owners; what documents must be produced by the declarant; is a financial audit required; is a site inspection necessary;
- What do your governing documents require during transition – are there additional requirements beyond those in the statute;
- What rights does the declarant hold after transition – this can be determined from your governing documents and state statutes;
Once you have the “tool” then you need a good soap/cream to help smooth the process and make it as painless as possible. The “shaving cream” for an association is open and honest communication between everyone involved in the process. Owners and the potential board members need to understand what the transition process involves, the timelines and what their respective roles are throughout the process. It is in everyone’s best interests to use the transition time to build awareness of how the association operates, the roles and responsibilities of the declarant, the board, the owners and the association itself. The transition period should also be used to address deficiencies, problem areas and plan for the future of the association.
Anyone who has ever been nicked while shaving knows that it usually happens when you are going fast or not paying attention. Thus, a smooth transition requires care. It is important to take the time to look beyond the surface of things, not just following the bouncing ball (or closing your eyes while you shave) but instead seeking information, knowledge and understanding of what will be once the declarant has exited the community. This can be aided by using experts to help the board understand how the community operates, the association’s responsibilities, the physical condition of the property the association must maintain and the overall financial condition of the association. This chart has a list of possible experts that a community association should work with as well as questions that should be asked. If you have any other questions feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.