The Community Associations Institute (CAI)’s Center for Community Association Volunteers (CCAV) developed the Community Association Governance Guidelines (PDF)—12 principles that can help homeowner volunteer leaders build better communities.
ANNUAL MEETINGS. Conduct at least one membership meeting annually, providing at least two weeks notice to homeowners and more than two weeks if specified in the governing documents or dictated by state statute.
ASSESSMENTS. Collect assessments and other fees from homeowners in a timely and equitable manner and in accordance with state statutes and board-approved procedures.
COMMUNICATION. Provide at least one form of regular communication with residents, and use it to report substantive actions taken by the board.
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST. Disclose all personal and financial conflicts of interest before assuming a board position and, once on the board, before participating in any board decisions.
ELECTIONS. Hold fair and open elections in strict conformance with governing documents, giving all candidates an equal opportunity to express their views and permitting each candidate to have a representative observe the vote-counting process.
FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY. Share critical information and rationale with residents about budgets, reserve funding, special assessments and other issues that could impact their financial obligations to the association. Give members an opportunity— before final decisions are made—to ask questions of a representative who is fully familiar with these financial issues.
FORECLOSURE. Initiate lien and foreclosure proceedings only as a last step in a well-defined debtcollection procedure—and only after other, less-disruptive measures have failed to resolve a serious delinquency issue in a specified period of time.
GOVERNANCE AND THE LAW. Govern and manage the community in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. Conduct reviews of governing documents to ensure legal compliance and to determine whether amendments are necessary.
GRIEVANCES AND APPEALS. Allow residents to bring grievances before the board or a boardappointed committee, and follow well-publicized procedures that give residents the opportunity to correct violations before imposing fines or other sanctions.
RECORDS. Allow homeowners reasonable access to appropriate community records, including annual budgets and board meeting minutes.
RESERVE FUNDING. Account for anticipated long-term expenditures as part of the annual budget development process, commissioning a reserve study when professional expertise is warranted.
RULES. Enforce all rules, including architectural guidelines, uniformly, but only after seeking compliance on a voluntary basis. Distribute proposals for new rules and guidelines to all homeowners and nonowner residents. Advise them when the board will consider new rules and encourage input. Once adopted, new rules and effective dates should be distributed to every owner and resident.
Note: Laws governing community and condominium associations vary considerably from state to state. In addition to understanding and adhering to these laws, community
association leaders need to be aware of legislative and regulatory issues that could affect their associations. You can do that by joining CAI and supporting your state’s
Legislative Action Committee.
The Community Association Governance Guidelines are offered by CAI’s Center for Community Association Volunteers (CCAV) to help board members and other community leaders create and sustain more effective, harmonious communities. This initiative supports CAI’s mission of making community associations better—even preferred—places to call home.