Why are HOAs a good thing?

Approximately 65 million Americans (or 1 in every 5) live in homeowner associations, including condominiums and planned communities in the United States.[1] The number of homeowner association communities in the United States has risen from approximately 10,000 communities in 1970 to 342,000 communities in 2016.[2] In a recent study, Arizona ranked tenth in the country in number of community associations, and had approximately 9,500 community associations, or 1.9 million residents living within community associations.[3]

Given the trend in growth of the number of people living in community associations across the country, and the lack of positive press regarding community associations, I think it is important to highlight the value of community associations and to consider all of the reasons why living in a homeowner association can be a positive experience.

  • As a homeowner within a community association, you will likely have access to a number of facilities, including, but not limited to, pools and spas, fitness centers, golf, and tennis or pickleball courts. This allows you to utilize facilities within your own neighborhood without the need of transporting to an off-site fitness center or club. In 2016, it was estimated that approximately $88 billion was collected in assessments from homeowners across the country, which help maintain amenities like pools and fitness facilities.[4]
  • The homeowners association through its various vendors will likely maintain all of the areas that the association owns and may even maintain limited common elements, or elements that specific homeowners have exclusive use of, like patios and driveways. Further, if you live in a condominium, you will likely have little to no exterior maintenance responsibilities at all.
  • There are elected directors who have a fiduciary duty to make decisions that will be in the best interests of the community and to enforce a set of conditions, covenants and restrictions regarding the uses of the property. The enforcement of conditions, covenants and restrictions helps ensure that properties will not go into disrepair and therefore there will hopefully be an overall preservation of home value within the community. In 2016, a study estimated that elected directors and committee members spent approximately 80,000,000 hours for services within the communities.[5]
  • The elected directors have a duty to enforce the restrictions uniformly and therefore there should be a sense of consistency and uniformity throughout the community. A consistent and uniform community usually looks more aesthetically pleasing. In 2016, the value of homes within community associations was valued at $5.545 trillion.[6]
  • The community association usually fosters a sense of community and will likely provide you with social events to attend, such as potlucks, bingo, and pool events.
  • The elected directors and a community manager (if the Association has one) will be watching out for the best interests of the community and therefore there may be a higher sense of safety and security. Some association communities may be gated or have camera surveillance to help increase the safety of its residents.
  • You have the opportunity to run for the Board of Directors and give back to your community. Being a Board member allows you to positive impact the community that you live in. It also allows you to be a part of a non-profit corporation (if your association is incorporated) and to govern the corporation in a way that is consistent with the Nonprofit Corporation Act and other state and federal laws. In 2016, a study estimated that the value of time provided by board and committee members was $1.93 billion.[7]
  • The community association will allow you to be connected to a group of people who have expertise and advice on different topics. For instance, neighbors could share a spreadsheet of preferred handymen, painters and landscapers that he/she has had a good experience with or would recommend. There are also apps like Nextdoor, which allow for a private online network for your neighborhood.
[1] Community Associations Institute, https://www.caionline.org/AboutCommunityAssociations/Pages/default.aspx (February 26, 2018).

[2] Community Associations Institute, https://www.caionline.org/AboutCommunityAssociations/Pages/StatisticalInformation.aspx (February 26, 2018).

[3] Community Associations Institute, https://www.caionline.org/AboutCommunityAssociations/Statistical%20Information/2016StatsReviewFBWeb.pdf (February 26, 2018).

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

[7] Id.
Posted in Annual Meetings, Board Meetings, Community Association Law, Homeowner Associations, HOA, Community Association Management, Education, Financial, Maintenance, Social Aspects, Volunteers | Leave a comment

Selecting a Management Company

As any board member will tell you, managing the day-to-day operations of an association can be a daunting task. Many associations hire a professional management company to assist them with their responsibilities. But with so many management companies out there, how do you know which one is right for your association? Below is a step-by-step process that our firm has found to be very effective in finding and hiring the right management company.

Step 1: Identify and create a time line for the selection process. Form a committee who can be dedicated to the selection process. This committee should identify the association’s needs, specifically what is needed and expected from a management company. If your association currently has a management company, make sure you review the management contract so you can determine when you need to provide them with notice that you terminating the agreement.

Step 2: Start developing bidding specifications. Make sure you ask yourself these two questions: 1) What is the association’s budget for management services?; and 2) What level of management does the association require?

Step 3: Identify a list of pre-qualified companies. Only consider companies that specialize in association management. Speak with board members of neighboring associations who have similar needs to your Association and ask if they feel their association is being successfully managed. Remember that association management is not a one size fits all situation. The needs of your association may be very different than the needs of neighboring associations.

Step 4: Narrow the field. Narrow your options to 3 to 5 companies by speaking with them and asking if they are willing to submit a bid to your association. Have a general description of the association ready to share with the company.

Step 5: Develop a request for the bids. The request for a bid should contain the following information and requests: 1. a date to tour the property (do not accept a bid from someone who has not toured the property); 2. the date the bidding closes; 3. all contact information for the association and where to send the bid; 4. a summary of the association (include the number of lots/units, acreage of common areas, special features, type of construction, current annual budget and current management expiration date); 5. the general needs of the association (make sure that the general bid covers all of the association’s basic needs); 6. ask for references or credentials; 7.  make sure to ask for the specifics. Ask about the company’s basic management fee, hourly costs for service not covered in the basic fee, independent contracting items and associated costs, collection costs for delinquent accounts, board and meeting charges; proof of fidelity and/or liability insurance, workman’s compensation and other insurance policies; charges for mass mailing and procedures; credentials that the assigned manager would possess; support services including accounting and services coordinator; emergency procedure details; and a list of specialized services.

 Step 6: Close bidding, open bids received. The board should compare and review the bids in an open discussion. The board should narrow down the candidates it would like to review further.

Step 7: Review candidate’s references, licenses, bonds, etc. The committee and the board of directors should review and validate all of the candidate’s licenses, references, etc. Only call back the companies who have proper and complete credentials. We also recommend that the Board visit the management company’s office to get a better sense of how the company is run.

Step 8: Identify the leading candidates and conduct a final interview. Ask the manager who will be assigned to the association to be at the interview. Ask the manger questions like how many associations they currently manage or how they handle homeowners and difficult people. This is your chance to ask any and all questions. The more you know the better you will be able to determine which company best fits your association’s needs!

Step 9: Schedule a meeting with the association’s attorney to review the management contract before you sign. Allowing an attorney to review the contract will help the board understand all of the terms. An attorney can also make sure that the transfer period between management companies has been accounted for in the contract. A management contract will be one of the most important contracts the board will agree to and it will have an enormous impact of the day-to-day business of the association. The board needs to make sure that there are no lingering concerns when they sign the management contract!

Step 10: Schedule a meeting with your new management company! Use this meeting to sign the contract, determine any turnover dates and provide your new management company all of the association’s documentation.

This may seem like a long process, but it is important that the board really take their time when selecting a new management company. This decision is not just about the association’s finances, it is also about the best fit for the association. Following these steps will allow a board to ensure that they have properly vetted the new management company and they can be sure that they have done what is bet for the association.

Posted in Annual Meetings, Board Meetings, Board of Directors, Community Association Law, Homeowner Associations, HOA, Education, Maintenance | Leave a comment


The Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) prohibits a community association from discriminating against a person in providing services or facilities in connection with a sale or rental because of disability.  Prohibited discrimination includes (1) a refusal to make reasonable accommodations; and (2) a refusal to permit reasonable modifications.  In a community association context, a common example of a request for a reasonable accommodation is a request to keep an emotional support animal despite the fact that the association has a no-pet policy. A common example of a request for a reasonable modification is a request to install a wheelchair ramp, which may otherwise violate an architectural control restriction.

If a resident within your community makes a request for a reasonable accommodation or reasonable modification, what should you do?

The first step is to identify any request that may fall under the FHA. It is important to note that requests can be made verbally or in writing, and the applicant making the request is not required to use the words “reasonable accommodation” or “reasonable modification”.  As such, it is important for board members and community managers to familiarize themselves with the FHA so that they can be aware when Fair Housing laws may be triggered (which is not always obvious).

If you identify a request that you feel may fall under the FHA, the second step is to immediately contact your community association lawyer. Due to the nuances of Fair Housing laws, having competent legal advice is vital.  Once a request for a reasonable accommodation/modification is submitted, the community association has an obligation to engage in an “interactive process.”

Qualification for a reasonable accommodation/modification is a three-pronged test:

  • Does the applicant have a verifiable disability?
  • Does the request qualify as a Reasonable Accommodation or Reasonable Modification?
  • Is there a nexus between the disability and the Reasonable Accommodation or Reasonable Modification?

Engaging in the interactive process includes promptly opening a dialogue with the applicant to determine whether the three-pronged test has been met. In the circumstance that the applicant has satisfied (1) above and shown a verifiable disability, but the association does not feel that the applicant has satisfied (2) above for any reason, the interactive process also requires that the association and applicant discuss possible alternative accommodations or modifications.


  • Take any request that could implicate the FHA very seriously
  • Contact your community association lawyer ASAP
  • Respond promptly to the applicant and engage in the interactive process


  • Ignore or unreasonably delay responding to any request that could implicate the FHA
  • Flatly deny the request, without engaging in the interactive process
  • Act in any manner or fashion that could be deemed hostile or discriminatory against the applicant submitting the request

While the above-described process may seem onerous, and the reality that certain applicants will abuse the law may seem frustrating, it is important to keep in mind that the intent of the Fair Housing laws is to ensure that disabled individuals avoid discrimination and are afforded equal opportunity to use and enjoy the dwelling.

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Things to consider when hiring a handyman…

Board members and managers frequently ask my firm whether their Association can hire a handyman to complete projects or repairs within their Association. My response is generally yes, but there are a number of considerations that I advise the Board to first contemplate.

First, the Board should review the situation to determine whether the work should be done by a licensed contractor or by a handyman. The Arizona Registrar of Contractors states that “[a]ny business which contracts or offers to contract to build, alter, repair, add to, subtract from, improve, move, wreck or demolish any building, highway, road, railroad, excavation or other structure, development or improvement, or to do any part of the work must be a licensed contractor. Also included in work requiring a license is the erection of scaffolding, connections to utility service lines, metering devices and sewer lines, mechanical or structural service to a structure or improvement and any other work in connection with the project.” This is a broad definition that most contractors likely fall within. However, A.R.S. §32-1121 does list certain persons that are not required to be licensed in Arizona. One of the exemptions is known as the Handyman Exemption.

The Handyman Exemption essentially allows persons who install or attach products or materials where the value of the contract, including all of the labor and materials, is less than $1,000 to do the work without a license. The full description of the Handyman Exemption can be found at A.R.S. §32-1121(A)(4).

While a handyman may seem like an easier hire for small projects within the Association, hiring a handyman can be troublesome when it comes to the issue of workers’ compensation insurance. Therefore, when determining who to hire for a specific project, the Board also needs to consider whether the Association has adequate insurance coverage.

Most Boards do not think the Association has employees and therefore they wonder how and why their Association would ever need workers’ compensation insurance. This is a very logical question because most all Board members provide their services to the Association on a volunteer basis and are not considered employees of the Association. Further, while your Association may hire a professional management company to help manage the Association’s financials and other affairs, the professional management company may take care of hiring the Association’s contractors and vendors. While all of these things may be true for your Association, your Association may still need workers’ compensation insurance.

The Board should review the Association’s insurance provisions in the CC&Rs. Some CC&Rs require that the Association have workers’ compensation insurance. If this is the case, the Board has an obligation to attain the necessary workers’ compensation insurance pursuant to the CC&Rs. Further, the Board should talk to the Association’s insurance agent about obtaining the needed or recommended insurance, depending on who the Association hires to do work within the community.

If the Board decides to hire a licensed, bonded and insured contractor to complete repairs and work within the Association, there may still be situations that arise whereby it would be beneficial for the Association to have workers’ compensation insurance. For instance, most times the Association or its manager asks for proof of insurance and licensing up front. If during the course of a project, the contractor’s insurance or license expires, the Association may not be made aware of the expiration. If during that time, the contractor or his/her employees gets hurt on the job, it would be beneficial for the Association to have workers’ compensation insurance in that scenario.

If the Board decides to hire a handyman to do work within the Association, it is crucial that the Board determine whether or not the Association has the adequate insurance coverage, including workers’ compensation. In Arizona, in the context of worker’s compensation insurance, Courts typically use the “right to control test” to determine whether an individual should be considered an “employee” or “independent contractor”. [1] Courts look at a number of factors to make this determination, including: 1) the extent of control that the employer may exercise in the details of the work; 2) whether the one employed is engaged in a distinct occupation or business; 3) the skill required in the particular occupation; 4) the kind of occupation and whether the work is done under the direction of an employer or without supervision; 5) the length of employment; 6) who supplies the tools and place of work; 7) whether the work is part of the regular business of the employer.[2]

When the Association hires a handyman, the Association likely will pay the handyman by the job or by the hour; may supply the tools and place of work; and may control the details of the work or how the work is completed. The factors may weigh more in favor of the handyman being categorized as an “employee” and therefore, if the handyman was injured on the job, the Association could be held responsible for the injuries. It is important to note that each hire should be looked at on a case by case basis because of the various factors that courts consider. However, when in doubt I would highly advise that the Board discuss situation with the Association’s insurance agent and/or attorney.

[1] Ringling Bros. v. Superior Ct. of Pima County, 680 P.2d 174, 140 Ariz. 38 (Ct. App. 1983).

[2] Fry v. Industrial Commission, 546 P.2d 1149, 26 Ariz. App. 140 (Ct. App. 1976).

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Regardless of what issues your community may be facing, receivership should only be considered as an absolute last resort, and only in the most dire of circumstances. Receiverships are expensive, time-consuming and transfer decision/making power to someone outside of the community.

In the community association context, the receivership requires an owner in the community or member(s) of the Board to file a lawsuit in Superior Court against the Association asking for the equitable remedy of having a court appointed receiver.  The Court then typically conducts an emergency hearing within 2-3 weeks of the lawsuit being filed.  The judge will only appoint a receiver if, after hearing all the evidence at the hearing, there is a compelling reason to do so (e.g. immediate threat of injury, damage or destruction to property and/or to property values) and all other possible efforts to resolve the problems have been explored and have been unsuccessful.

The two most common scenarios where receivership becomes a possible legal remedy are (1) lack of willing board candidates; and (2) financial insolvency.  If your community is having difficulty finding volunteer board members, make every effort to reach out to the membership (repeatedly, if necessary) to communicate the importance of board volunteerism, and explain the possible consequences (i.e. receivership) of failing to assemble a board to run the affairs of the community.  If your community finds itself in a desperate financial situation, closely examine your community’s financials and governing documents to identify possible opportunities to increase revenues and decrease expenses.

If your community is facing any of the above-discussed (or similar) issues, please contact Mulcahy Law Firm, P.C. for legal assistance in avoiding receivership.

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Pursuant to A.R.S. Section 33-1256(B) / 33-1807(B), an HOA lien for assessments, late fees related to assessments and collection fees/attorney fees/costs incurred with respect to assessments has lien priority ahead of all other liens, interests and encumbrances on a lot/unit except: (1) liens and encumbrances recorded before the recordation of the declaration; (2) a recorded first mortgage/first deed of trust on the lot/unit; and (3) liens for real estate taxes and other governmental assessments or charges against the lot/unit.

The most common circumstances where lien priority becomes relevant are:

Trustee’s Sale: If a first mortgage or first deed of trust notices a trustee’s sale on a lot/unit and the lot/unit is ultimately lost at trustee’s sale, the HOA lien is legally extinguished because the first mortgage or deed of trust has lien priority ahead of the HOA.

If the lot/unit sells to a third party at the trustee’s sale and excess proceeds are generated, lien priority also becomes relevant, as the remaining lienholders with the highest priority have first claim to the excess proceeds. As such, if excess proceeds are generated, the HOA’s claim would be superior to all other claimants, with the exception of liens/encumbrances recorded before recordation of the declaration and liens for real estates taxes and other governmental assessments or charges against the lot/unit.

If a second mortgage or deed of trust notices a trustee’s sale on a lot/unit and the lot/unit is ultimately lost at trustee’s sale, the HOA lien would survive the trustee’s sale (i.e. it would not be extinguished) because the HOA has lien priority ahead of a second position mortgage or deed of trust.

HOA Foreclosure: If the HOA decides to pursue a foreclosure lawsuit, lien priority becomes relevant for two reasons – first, any lienholders who hold inferior positions should be named defendants in the lawsuit so that the HOA can assert its lien priority and extinguish their rights; and second, any lienholders who hold superior positions will survive the foreclosure and could potentially impact the likelihood of the HOA successfully recording its judgment balance pursuant to a sheriff’s sale.

Short Sale: If a lot/unit is being sold pursuant to a short sale, it typically involves some or all lienholders negotiating their debt (i.e. accepting less than the full balance). The higher the HOA is in lien priority relative to the other lienholders, the more leverage the HOA has in negotiations and the higher likelihood of collecting the full balance owed.

If an issue arises in your HOA where lien priority is in doubt, or if you have any further questions regarding lien priority, please contact Mulcahy Law Firm, P.C.

Posted in Board Meetings, Collections - Assessments, Community Association Law, Homeowner Associations, HOA, Education, Legislation | Leave a comment

Fraud and Embezzlement in Your Association-How to Spot It & How to Avoid It

We aren’t the only ones that have seen this in the news week after week! It has happened; there are funds missing from the checking account. Figures do not line up and you cannot get in touch with anyone. The board always sees a financial statement at each board meeting, so what went wrong? Any organization that believes it is immune from the fraudulent use of funds is destined to become a victim.

Mulcahy Law Firm, P.C. encourages boards of directors to identify potential risks and implement steps and actions to correct any risk.

What should you look for? Examples of ways that funds are misappropriated include:
Theft of cash
Fake expenses
Extraneous employees included on payroll
Inappropriate transfers of funds
Use of association funds for personal collateral
False reporting of non-existent financial assets

A perpetrator will have studied the association’s approach to management of records and money. Therefore, proper accounting practices must be followed with complete reviews of financial records at the board meetings to help ensure that attempted fraud would be discovered in a timely manner. Additionally, pay attention to the details, listen to the financial report, everyone on the board must be aware of and be skeptical of any discrepancy that is noticed during the monthly financial review.

Finally, don’t forget that Arizona law (A.R.S. 33-1810 and A.R.S. 33-1243(J)) requires an audit, review or compilation of the association financials every year. Doing this could help prevent or curb fraudulent actions against the association.

For more information, please refer to our Cheat Sheet called Tips for Preventing Theft and Fraud of Association Funds.

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Electric Cars in Community Associations – An Emerging Trend

What is an “electric car”?  “An electric car is an automobile with one or more electric motors that uses electrical energy stored in rechargeable batteries or another energy storage device. Electric cars are around three times as efficient as cars with a normal internal combustion engine.” (Wikipedia) You’ve probably heard of the Tesla S or X or the Chevrolet Spark CV/Bolt EV electric cars.  However, did you know that there are also 30 other highway capable electric cars commercially available today?  By 2023, it is estimated that there will be millions of highway capable electric cars on our roadways!

Electric cars need charging stations.  In response to the increase in demand, electric charging stations are starting to pop up everywhere – hotels, shopping malls, freeways, airports, and, yes, community associations!  According to a White House Statement in July 2016, the number of electric vehicle charging stations was 500 in 2008 and was more than 16,000 in 2016—a 40 fold increase.   States like California and Oregon have already enacted laws related to the installation and use of charging stations for electric cars. However, Arizona has not yet enacted a law pertaining to the installation of charging stations.

Due to the cost, I don’t foresee planned community boards installing free electric car charging stations for its residents on common areas in the next five years.  However, I do foresee condominium boards being approached by owners asking what the procedure is for an owner to install an electric car charging station where they park their electric vehicle in the condominium.  Condominium boards should anticipate this question now and consult with our law firm to plan ahead so it isn’t stressful for everyone when this question is raised.  Failure to allow the installation of a charging station for a condominium owner could lead to bad publicity or a lawsuit against your Association.

Set forth below are some things for a board to consider regarding electric cars:

  • There are different charging levels for electric cars. The various charging levels will require different equipment.
    • Level 1 charging allows the vehicle to be plugged into an ordinary electrical outlet. Therefore, a homeowner would likely be able to plug the vehicle into the outlet in his/her garage without a need for Association involvement.
    • Level 2 charging decreases the time it takes to charge a vehicle and increases the charge power. A level 2 charging station will require that a special circuit be installed. Homeowners can install the equipment in his/her garage, however, they will likely need to hire an electrician to ensure the Association’s electrical system can handle the new circuit.
    • Level 3 charging is the fastest vehicle charging method. It can charge a vehicle is as little as 30 minutes. The Level 3 stations can cost approximately $50,000. This type of station is usually found along interstate highways, in order to charge several cars. As such, this type of charging statement would likely have to be located on the Association’s common areas. The Association would need to ensure the Association’s electric system could handle this electric capacity.
  • Where will the charging station will be installed? Does the charging station need to be installed on common area?
  • If the charging station is installed on common areas, can all homeowners use it or just the owner requesting it?
  • Can the association’s current electric system handle the electric capacity of the charging station? The Association should ask an expert whether the current system can handle the installation of the charging station.
  • Who will pay for the installation costs and the electricity for the charging station? Is there a way to split the meter or charge only the members who use the charging station?
  • Who will be responsible for the maintenance of the charging station?
  • Will the association be responsible for insurance on the charging station? The Association should approach its insurance agent regarding necessary insurance coverage.
  • Is the charging station aesthetically pleasing within the community?

Many of the foregoing considerations will depend on which type of charging station is installed, where the device is installed and who is using the device. Because there are so many variables regarding electric charging stations, our firm recommends that a board speak with our firm prior to establishing rules and regulations or guidelines on charging electric cars within the association. Further, it may be necessary to hire an expert to evaluate the association’s current electric capacity and to evaluate any proposed electric stations or technology in relation to the association’s capacity.

Please feel free to contact our firm with any questions you may have on electric vehicle charging stations in your association or to have our firm create a board policy on electric vehicle charging stations in your association.



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Community Associations’ Roles in Battling the Opioid Epidemic

The statistics are devastating: more than 100 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose.[1]  The rate of death from opioid addiction has skyrocketed over the last two decades, and drug overdoses now kill more people than gun homicides and car crashes combined.[2]   The statistics regarding opioid addiction are no less startling – in 2014, an estimated 2 million Americans were addicted to opioids.[3]  Without serious intervention on the national, state and local levels, these figures are sure to grow.

Many states have issued emergency declarations over the epidemic, attempting to highlight the issue and provide more resources to help communities address this fast-growing problem.  In June 2017, Governor Doug Ducey followed suit, declaring a state-wide health emergency in Arizona.  The governor’s declaration seeks increased reporting on opioid-related deaths, increased availability of the overdose-reversing drug naloxone, and faster access to treatment.

Given these staggering figures, it’s highly likely that someone in your community has been touched by opioid addiction.  What can a community association do?

First, associations can provide education to residents about the opioid crisis and its effects.  Whether in the form of a specially-held seminar or an agenda item at an regular Board meeting, associations can bring in local experts to discuss the epidemic.

Associations can become involved in fundraising and advocacy efforts, as well.  They can offer their meeting spaces or recreational areas to groups looking to raise awareness of the issue – or looking to raise funds to tackle the crisis.  Community members who are particularly passionate about the issue may want to join forces to lobby local, state and federal lawmakers for additional resources to battle the opioid crisis.

Finally, with the push at all levels of government to make the drug naloxone more readily available, associations should monitor the trend and examine the legal issues related to having naloxone available in the community – just as an association may have an automated external defibrillator (AED) in its clubhouse.  Through these, and other interventions, community associations can be good neighbors in helping to battle the opioid epidemic.

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/index.html

[2] https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/ondcp/commission-interim-report.pdf

[3] https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/index.html

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If you’re a Baby Boomer serving on your community association’s board of directors, you may have already begun noticing a shift in the characteristics and tendencies of your neighbors (and maybe even your fellow board members).  Don’t call me, just email or text.  Can I pay those assessments online?  Our community needs to “go green”!  Do we have a Facebook page?

These are just a few of the comments and questions you may have heard from the younger generation of Millennials within your community.

Defining the Generations (all age ranges and numbers are estimates)

  • Baby Boomers are the demographic born roughly between the mid 1940s thru the mid 1960s and make up approximately 76 million or 24% of the U.S. population. One of the defining characteristics of Baby Boomers is a strong work ethic.
  • Generation X are the demographic born roughly between the mid 1960s thru the late 1970s and make up approximately 41 million or 13% of the U.S. population. One of the defining characteristics of Gen Xers is entrepreneurship.
  • Millennials are the demographic born roughly between the late 1970s and mid 1990s and make up approximately 71 million or 22% of the U.S. population. One of the defining characteristics of Millennials is an affinity for technology.

Whether you’re ready or not, community associations need to start preparing for a generational shift.  Over the next 10 years, Millennials will likely overtake Baby Boomers in terms of home ownership percentage.  As a result, community associations will begin to change to reflect the attitudes/wants/needs/personalities of their members.  So how can your community association “Bridge the Generational Gap”?

The following list, although far from exhaustive, are a few useful tips to help your community bridge the gap:

  • The literal “bridge” between the Baby Boomers and the Millennials is Generation X. Gen X’ers within your association may prove a useful resource in relating to the both younger and older community members.
  • Seek input and participation from representatives of each group. Even if your board does not include a particular generational representative, make an effort to include members of each group in community activities and the community decision making process.
  • The “Notice” conundrum. Many of our clients, especially those with younger board members, are eager to shift towards electronic notices, voting, etc.  Although this can be convenient for most, the Association needs to careful that (1) they are complying with the Governing Documents and applicable Arizona law; and (2) that the minority (those who do not use computers or email) are still accounted for, i.e. hard copies are not yet a thing of the past.
  • Plan Ahead. For larger initiatives that appeal to Millennials, such as “Green” initiatives or electric car parking, the community will need to take a longer term approach to ensure that such initiatives have the support of the community and are budgeted for appropriately.
  • Delegate Wisely. If members of the community are eager for a stronger online presence, appoint a computer savvy Millennial to head a social medial campaign.
  • Understand and embrace the generational differences in your community. A “my way or the highway” attitude will almost never result in a positive outcome.
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