One of the most frustrating parts of Condo Association and HOA life is all of the terrible things that seem to be happening in the news. There are all sorts of horror stories that detail what can happen. Homes seized, embezzlement, sinking buildings – you name it. It can be very easy to assume that all Condo Associations are full of evil, incompetent idiots. While there are many bad Boards out there, it is important to keep bad Condo Association news in perspective.
There are a Lot of Associations
There is an incredible number of Condo Associations and HOAs in the United States. It is estimated that approximately 20% of Americans live in a HOA, Condo Association or co-operative. A survey last year of HOAs found 50,000 Condo Associations in Illinois alone. That is a LOT of people living in a Condo Association. In any large population, it is impossible not to have bad things happen. Keep that in mind to help you put bad Condo Association news in perspective.
Bad Things Do Happen
The reality is that some very terrible things do happen. Huge amounts of money are stolen. People lose their homes. Abusive HOAs and Condo Associations do stupid and petty things. You can’t ignore the news – it is right there for everyone to see, and there is no hiding it. Don’t trick yourself into thinking it can’t happen to you or your Association, because it can. But there is good news: it may be something that you personally can stop.
Many of the Bad Things that Happen Are Preventable
Whenever you read about bad news, the first instinct is usually to feel sadness or pity for the victims and anger or outrage at the perpetrators. These are good first reactions to have. But the next question you should ask yourself is: could the situation have been avoided? Could an Involved Owner have found the problem? Could a dedicated Board member have stopped a crooked manager? Would it have been hard or easy to stop? Why didn’t anyone step up to keep an eye on the Association?
How to Make Sure It Doesn’t Happen to You
After you think about how other woes have been prevented, it’s time to think about your own Association. Are you involved enough to make a difference? When was the last time you attended a monthly Board meeting? Did you vote for your Board of Directors? Have you ever even looked at your Bylaws? Have you read your Condo’s budget? Are you overdue for a tune-up?
The great thing about a Condo Association is that you do have control. It may not be fun, but you do have the ability to get involved. You can lead a resistance movement. The best way to keep bad Condo Association news in perspective is to make sure you’re an active Owner so that it doesn’t happen to you.