Category Archives: HOA Board

Does Your HOA Need Workers’ Comp Insurance?

Workers’ compensation is a common form of insurance that many businesses employ to protect their leadership and reputation. Although workers’ compensation is required in many states across the nation, Texas allows it’s business owners the choice to enact this type of insurance.

Associations are part of an industry that makes money from owners, therefore making them a business. Business protection from all is paramount. So, let’s take a deeper look at workers comp insurance and whether or not it’s an expense your association should adopt.

What is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

You are legally required to keep your association a safe place for volunteer and employment purposes. However, accidents happen, and when they do, your association could easily be held liable.

If a board member, volunteer, or vendor is injured while performing any HOA duties your association’s finances and reputation are at stake if the injured person pursues a lawsuit. Workers’ comp essentially serves as security insurance that stops lawsuits in their tracks and prevents your association from paying compensation to injured parties out of its annual budget.

Why Would an Association Need Workers’ Comp Insurance?

Although an HOA isn’t the total standard business that has full-time employees performing its daily duties, it’s still recommended that a responsible association invests in a reliable workers’ compensation insurance plan.

Let’s get into why.

Not All Would-Be Vendors Are Honest

Just because a vendor says they are insured and provides “proof” of insurance, doesn’t mean their coverage is in effect.

Therefore, if something were to happen to a vendor that injured them on the job, your association would be held liable. Workers’ comp insurance helps your association avoid any legal troubles and serves as protection against any vendors that attempt to pull the insurance wool over your board’s eyes.

Workers’ Comp Covers Board Members and Volunteers

The community members that bring an association together are mainly a collective of local volunteers. If someone were to get injured while carrying out any association tasks, your workers’ comp insurance would ensure their medical/financial needs are met and that your association is thoroughly covered.

How Much Coverage Does an Association Need?

While there really isn’t a general average for coverage, it’s safe to say that the amount of coverage necessary depends on the size of the association and the level of work required to maintain it.

Your association management team can help your Board make an educated decision about how much workers comp coverage your organization needs. Keep in mind that if you are working with an association management company, that organization’s workers’ compensation coverage does not apply to your HOA in the event that something goes wrong.

Cover Your Association’s Insurance Needs With Goodwin & Company

If you have questions about the different types of insurance your association needs for security, the team at Goodwin & Company can help! We have experienced association management professionals that can give your Board the assistance it needs to create a successful and pleasant association for its members.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help improve your association from behind the scenes.

Tips for Handling Your HOA Noise Issues

Noisy neighbors don’t typically make for a happy association. Even though you may have noise ordinances in place, there is always the possibility of an owner or their tenant slipping up and disturbing the peace of those around them.

As association board members, you want to ensure every violation in your HOA is handled with organization, patience, and neutrality. Here’s a closer look at what you can do to reduce noise complaints within your community.

Make Sure Your Rules Are for a Specific Audience

There are always federal, state, and even city-wide noise ordinances in place. When establishing your own noise bylaws, it’s important to take these rules into account.

Some federal and city noise regulations may not be well-established for residential use and could leave your community open for noise violations that make it through legal loopholes.

Even after you’ve studied federal noise regulation and established your community noise ordinances, it’s essential that you ensure your rules clearly apply to the residents that live within your community.

Remind Members About Your Noise Guidelines

Some members of the community may not even be aware that their level of noise is breaking your community guidelines. Before jumping straight into fines and other regulatory action, it’s only polite to approach the neighbor with a gentle reminder of your association’s noise bylaws.

If your board’s verbal request goes ignored, make the request in writing as the next official step towards HOA board resolution. From there, if the noise violations continue, fines and further HOA action will be necessary from your Board.

Prepare to Mediate When Necessary

As board members, it’s your responsibility to ensure that all homeowner disputes are resolved with peace and fairness. If a noise issue between neighbors goes far enough that a civil suit begins to loom, your Board must be prepared to serve as a forum for mediation that helps owners avoid a lengthy and costly lawsuit.

Your HOA management team can help you prepare to serve as a neutral party that guides neighbors at odds through the alternative dispute resolution process that typically results in the common ground without legal consequences.

Remind Owners That Tenants Are Their Responsibility

If you have owners that rent out their property, they aren’t off the hook for noise complaints their tenants bring in. As owners of the home, they are likely going to be the first ones that receive notice of the noise violation.

It’s then their responsibility to address the issue with their renter and get to the bottom of the incident. If it results in a one-time occurrence, the problem is solved. However, if your tenant continues to create repeat noise complaints, not only are you liable for any fines or other action, but it may be time to start looking for a more reliable tenant.

Settle Your HOA Noise Ordinances With the Help of Goodwin & Company

If you are a board member for your association and know that you need help getting noise ordinances and regulatory actions in place, it’s time to turn to a trusted association manager for help.

At Goodwin & Company, we have experience working with and improving the inner workings of associations large and small. We bring a unique management approach and perspective to every community we serve and know we can help make a difference with yours.

Contact us today to learn more about our services.

How to Properly Create an HOA Board Resolution

HOA resolutions are set in place to ensure that a community Board effectively manages a community and makes all of the right decisions during board meetings. Essentially, resolutions are governing documents that bring validation to a board’s actions for a community.

Since resolutions go beyond the standard rules and regulations that can easily change to meet new state, federal, and local requirements, there is definitely a process a Board should follow when its members decide a new resolution is best for the community.

Here’s a closer look at the proper steps a Board and HOA management team should take to ensure that a new resolution is enacted with essential due diligence.

How Should Your Board Approach a New Resolution?

Since resolutions usually involve subject matter like policies, procedures, and special individual situations that impact a community, they can’t simply be created and enacted on a whim. Here are the appropriate steps a Board should take when attempting to create a new HOA Board resolution.

Review State Laws

Before any action can be taken to create a new resolution, it’s essential that the board reviews the legality of their decision. State and local laws typically trump any changes an association makes in its operations.

A quick chat with your association management team or legal advisors should easily clear up the legalities of the resolution. If all is clear, move forward with the following steps. If not, it’s unfortunately, back to the drawing board.

Know the Authority of Your Board of Directors

Not all governing documents are drafted in the same language. So, before moving on with the creation of a resolution, consult your association governing documents. Only then will you know if your board is legally able to make new resolutions within the community.

Understand Why This Resolution is Necessary

Before you really dig into pushing a new resolution onto your community, do your research and answer the following questions:

Why does your community need this resolution?

How would it impact owners?

How will the board enforce this resolution?

Are all board members in agreement with the resolution?

Does the resolution create a long-term solution to a current problem?

Once you’ve answered these questions and others that fellow HOA board members may pose, you should have all of the research necessary to begin drafting and filling out the details of your resolution.

Create a Draft

At this point, create a rough draft of your resolution that details the full extent of the resolution, what it resolves, and the specific bylaws that allow the board to complete the resolution.

Try to make this draft as close to the final resolution as possible, because the next step towards resolution creation involves bringing your ideas to your fellow owners.

Obtain Feedback From Owners

Circulate the draft of your resolution throughout the community and across your online portal’s community boards. Ask for feedback from those the resolution will impact the most. If owners know that their voices have been heard, the transition into the new resolution is less likely to be a contested effort.

Make Any Decisions With the Whole Board Involved

Once the details of your resolution are ironed out, it’s time for the Board to take a final vote. In order for a resolution to be passed, board members must vote based on all community voting procedures.

If the resolution is passed, the president and secretary of the Board will sign and date the document.

Create Resolutions With Experience Through Goodwin & Company

If you are a member of a community’s Board of Directors and know that your team needs help from a property management firm, Goodwin & Company is ready to speak with you.

We are an association management team that has experience with resolution changes and other behind-the-scenes essentials that dictate the path for a community’s success. We’ve helped associations of all sizes make the best decisions for their owners, and know that we can help you.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how you can become a part of the Goodwin & Company family.

5 Ways Your HOA Can Go Greener in the New Year

An HOA serves as a pillar of the community it resides in. So, while it should always strive to provide the best owner experience for its residents, it should also do everything in its power to reduce its environmental footprint and improve the immediate environments around it.

Fortunately, going greener doesn’t have to be an expensive initiative, and there are several ways that your community can help make the planet a better place.

Here are 5 green tips your HOA should enforce in 2022!

Go Digital for Your Notices and Announcements

Paper is one of the most often used materials in an HOA. From general announcements to late notices, many associations find themselves printing sheet after sheet, knowing that it’s all eventually going to make its way to a landfill.

As technology advances, the need for paper notices is becoming ever more null and void. An association management team can help create an online portal that connects your board and your community members to everything important with your community.

Going digital means saying goodbye to paper calendars and saying hello to easy online payments. It’s the simplest way to go greener and is also one of the most innovative steps your community can take towards improving its general practices.

Create Recycling Opportunities for Your Owners

Whether your HOA invests in recycling bins for the community or starts a weekly recycling pickup for your owners, making recycling opportunities available is excellent for the community.

Most of your homeowners already want to make the world a better place but just don’t have the time to get to a recycling center to drop off their recyclable goods. A community-wide recycling effort puts the hard work in your community management team and vendor’s hands and makes recycling an easier option for eco-conscious owners.

Enforce Management Company Green Initiatives

Most management companies already have a list of green initiatives that they follow for each of the communities they serve. Make sure to review your management company’s green practices they have in place and ensure that any you aren’t already practicing are implemented within your community.

Reduce Water Use Where Possible

One great way to save the environment and save money is to reduce water use throughout the community wherever you can. Aside from educating your owners about the importance of water conservation and creating a community watering schedule, your HOA can invest in water-saving technologies like smart sprinkler systems that can detect recent rainfalls and reduce the waste of one of our planet’s most precious resources.

Go Solar

Although it may be an initial investment to go solar with your community lighting, we guarantee that it’s an investment that will save your association money in the long run. Solar-powered lights eventually pay for themselves and are something that your community can gradually introduce if a full solar effort isn’t currently available in the budget. Even buying a light at a time makes a difference in the environmental big picture.

Take Steps Into a Greener New Year With Goodwin & Company

If your association is ready to go green this year, it’s time to work with an association management company that has similar priorities in mind. At Goodwin & Company, we help get our associations connected to an online portal, find eco-friendly vendors in their area, and ensure that other green initiatives are enforced.

Trust us to be your partner on your journey to becoming a better association for the environment and your community members alike. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how to become a member of the Goodwin family.

Common HOA Dog Ownership Rules to Keep in Mind

One of the most popular gifts given during the holiday season is the gift of “man’s best friend.” While we all love our furry family members, it’s important to remember that all associations have established rules in place regarding dog ownership.

Before you purchase a pooch this holiday season, make sure you ask your association management and Board members what your community’s rules are regarding dogs.

In the meantime, keep these points in mind as you apply for seasonal puppy adoption.

Restrictions on Numbers, Weight, and Breeds

Every association has its rules about the specifics of dog ownership. Some of the most common restrictions you’ll see in most communities are:

  • Breed restrictions
  • Maximum size limits
  • A limit on the number of dogs per property

So, before you rush out to bring home an adorable new puppy, first, take a look around your home and meet with your association management to ensure that your decision isn’t one that ends in heartache.

Pets Must Be Registered

Pet registration is important in an HOA because it allows management to keep track of pets and alert owners if their pet has violated any regulations or caused damage to HOA property.

Before purchasing a pet, submit pet registration forms to your management company and create a generally safer environment for you and your pet.

Keep Up With Vaccinations

If you are planning on owning dogs, your HOA may require you to present proof of a rabies vaccine. Always keep your pet’s vaccinations records on hand so that you can continually update your pet’s association records over the years and keep up a positive relationship between management and your fur baby.

Homeowners Must Pick Up Their Pet’s Waste

Keeping the community clean is one of the biggest priorities of HOA management. So, if you are going to bring home a new dog this holiday season, be prepared to do your part and clean up your pet’s waste on your property and around the community.

Failure to do so can result in unpleasant neighbors and even more unpleasant fines as a result of your CC&R violations.

Keep Restraint in Mind

Leashes are typically mandatory when a person takes their dog out into the neighborhood on a walk. However, some communities have designated off-leash areas, so it’s always a great idea to look into how your management approaches leash restrictions before making an assumption.

Remember, Owners Are Liable for Their Pet’s Actions

Never forget that even a loving animal can cause destruction or injuries. Most associations will have an owner liability clause in place that holds homeowners accountable for the actions of their pets. So, be prepared to accept full responsibility if your pet accidentally (or purposefully) damages community property or harms another animal/community member.

Create Pet Restrictions That Keep Your Association Comfortable With Goodwin & Company

If you are a board member of a newer association, it’s important to have all of your regulatory bases covered when it comes to the satisfaction of your community’s owners.

Working with an experienced HOA management company like Goodwin & Company can help your board create fair and balanced CC&Rs that keep the majority of your owners happy and your association headed in the right direction.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how your association can become a part of the Goodwin family!

The Guide to Solving Common Issues New Board Members Face

A new year around the corner can mean that your HOA’s board is about to welcome in some new board members.

Yes, new bodies on a board can bring an exciting chance for new ideas to mold the community, but new board membership also often comes with common issues that can leave Boards and communities frustrated. 

What Are Common Issues New Board Members Face?

In order to have a smooth transition into board membership, it is important to address standard issues early. While you are easing new members into their roles, go through these common problems during orientation and how they can quickly be nipped in the bud.

Misunderstanding Their Role

Being on an HOA board may mean a person plays a prominent role in how the community flows, but it doesn’t allow a single board member to make immediate helpful or spiteful decisions.

An HOA board is a team of community members that work together to maintain the happiness of the community. All decisions are made as one and the community CC&Rs always come first.

In short, enjoy your time as a member of the board, but remind yourself that you aren’t the sole judge and jury of the community.

Making Decisions Before Knowing Governing Documents

Knowing where you have flexibility is vital to making the right decisions for your community. This all starts with becoming extremely familiar with your community bylaws, governing documents, and covenants.

Putting this effort into practice helps ensure your decisions are all legal and don’t accidentally violate your community’s bylaws.

Difficulties With Member Engagement

Member engagement can be difficult for any HOA board. However, getting your neighbors involved in the leadership process only stimulates great ideas and ensures your community meets the goals it truly wants.

While some may say that no news is good news, we believe that your board should always strive to get closer to its constituents. 

This can easily be done through:

  • Incentives for meeting attendance
  • Movie nights
  • Pool parties
  • Block parties

Juggling Daily Duties With HOA Duties

People often forget that the duties of being an HOA board member get tacked onto the daily work and family responsibilities that elected members have. 

In order to prevent excessive amounts of stress, we suggest utilizing your association’s management team as much as possible. With our behind-the-scenes help, new board members can enjoy their time in the community spotlight and make the big decisions without sacrificing work and family obligations.

How Can an Association Management Team Help?

Community management is essential for a Board of Directors that has several new members. A team like Goodwin & Company knows what it takes to set a community on the course of success and can help with some of the following duties:

  • Dues collection
  • Vendor bids
  • Project oversight
  • Legal counsel
  • Financial counsel
  • Budgeting, and more!

Guide Your HOA Board Members on the Right Path With Goodwin & Company

If your new board members need a little extra direction with leading your community, the team at Goodwin & Company can help.

Contact us today to learn more about our success with communities like yours and schedule an initial meeting with a member of our team.

7 Steps to Starting an HOA in a Community

Some community members in a neighborhood may find it’s time to improve community property values and create a homeowners association (HOA) for the greater good of the community.

Obviously, a neighborhood can’t just say “We are now an HOA! Please pay your dues.” There’s a process involved that could take months or even years for a neighborhood to become one.

While we know there are several details between the lines, here’s a closer look at the major steps necessary for starting a new HOA.

Why Should You Start an HOA in Your Community?

If you live in a community that is already beautiful or has absolute potential, it’s always a great idea to start an HOA. Some of the biggest reasons to start an HOA in your neighborhood could be:

  • HOA dues help easily maintain home curb appeal
  • Property values increase
  • Your neighborhood becomes more tempting for the right buyers
  • An association actually creates a community where decisions are made to improve the neighborhood for generations to come
  • HOAs help maintain shared amenities like community pools and recreation centers

Steps to Starting an HOA

So, you and some neighbors have decided to start an HOA. Here are some of the first big steps you’ll need to take to turn your dream into a reality.

1.   Ask About Interest

Just because you want to start an HOA, doesn’t mean the majority of your neighbors are ready for such a big change.

Take some time to test the waters. Create a signature sheet and find out who really wants to become an HOA. Take the time during these conversations to show them the benefits of an HOA and ask them what they’d expect from an HOA if there was one in place.

This approach gets everyone involved and takes any unintentional peer pressure out of the equation.

2.   Figure Out Your Community Needs

The whole point of creating an HOA is to improve the overall community. This means finding out what needs to be fixed and prioritizing.

So, take the questions about HOA expectations a step further and create a social media group or pose a question on a site like Nextdoor that gives your neighbors a chance to express the needs they think the community has.

This will put community needs in full focus and give your team a jumping-off point when it comes to making initial proposals for the HOA.

3.   Start Researching Local Laws and Procedures

If you’re serious about creating an HOA, it’s necessary to know the local laws and procedures involved. It’s important to know what an HOA can and cannot do within a community.

From general research into nearby CC&Rs to hiring an attorney to help answer questions and serve as your legal representative, this is one of the most important steps to take when starting a new HOA. After all, your time as a board member or leader of your HOA is a volunteer service; you don’t want to spend it fighting avoidable legal battles.

4.   Search for HOA Management

Hiring an HOA management company to help your board is one of the most beneficial steps you can take when starting an HOA.

Management companies have seen all the ups and downs your association project may experience. Even though you and your neighbors are passionate about creating an HOA, you’ll still need the experience an association management company has to create the framework of a great association.

We have the expertise on our teams to help potential associations:

  • Plan their initial budget
  • Examine vendor possibilities
  • Find insurance that the association will need
  • Plan the structure of their association
  • Determine the dues and fees necessary for successful operations

5.   Create Your CC&Rs

Your community’s by-laws and CC&Rs are the literal blueprints that detail how your community is to be run over the years.

Work with your management team and general startup committee to determine fair, effective rules that HOA members will need to abide by.

Keep in mind that your CC&Rs must be detailed and cover every possible curveball that could be thrown at a Board in the future. The CC&Rs will be the end-all resource for all community issues because it is the official determination of how the community should successfully be run.

6.   Create an LLC

Once all the details have been ironed out, now’s the time to turn your idea into a full-blown business. Your management team can help guide you through the process of creating an LLC, paying essential fees, and most importantly, coming up with an original name for your HOA.

7.   Elect Your Board

Finally, it’s time to elect your Board of Directors! Remember, this initial board is especially important because it sets the tone for your association and election process right out of the gate.

Ensure that your election processes follow all guidelines laid out in the CC&Rs, and lay out a smooth election experience that is fair and balanced.

So, when accepting nominations for board members, make sure to look for the following qualifications:

  • Strong skills in different areas pertaining to the association (i.e. finance, technology, business)
  • Reliability
  • Well-spoken
  • Team players
  • Passionate about improving the community

Start Your HOA Off On the Right Foot With Goodwin & Company

At Goodwin & Company, helping new HOA communities grow is our bread and butter. For decades, we have assisted board members with behind-the-scenes decisions and helped keep community projects running smoothly for the betterment of an association.

We know how important your community is to you, and that’s why we put your association’s needs first. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help turn your budding idea into a blooming HOA.

Top 6 HOA Meeting Protocol Tips

Every HOA board meeting should be one that pushes a community in the direction of positive progress. A great meeting doesn’t just come together on its own but is molded through the adherence of tried and tested practices of an experienced HOA management team.

When your board is planning its next open meeting, make sure that it has these six meeting protocols in place to ensure a productive session.

1.  Don’t Veer From Your Agenda

The average board meeting should last about an hour depending on the topics to cover. So, once your board members have created an agenda for an open meeting, make sure that you all stick to the plan.

Sure, extra items may pop up every now and then. So, prepare some extra padding towards the end of your meeting, or plan to take additional topics into your next executive session.  But remember, while any items may be discussed, only items on the agenda may be formally voted upon and enacted.

2.  Set a Quorum

If your board has six members, but only two showed up to a meeting and voted on major community development, that wouldn’t be a valid vote or decision. In order to avoid such situations, a board should ensure that a quorum of board members is available prior to schedule a meeting.

Usually, the required quorum for an association board is found in the association’s governing documents.

3.  Set Time Limits

In order for the maximum number of people to be heard at an open meeting, it’s essential to set some time limits that keep the flow of the meeting moving.

You want every scheduled speaker to effectively express their thoughts without straying from the schedule. In order to do this, we recommend setting a 3-5 minute time limit for each community member that addresses the board.

4.  Emphasize Civility

The beauty of a mixed community is the melting pot of ideas and opinions it creates. HOA meetings are known to bring up passionate opinions from their board members and speaking community members.

Regardless of the acceptance of an opinion within the rest of the community, everyone speaking has the right to be heard. So, at the beginning of each session, it may be a good idea to remind those in attendance to remain civil when discussing contrasting opinions or bringing a talking point to the board.

5.  Don’t Forget to Take Minutes

Every open board meeting requires the creation of minutes that are later distributed to the members of the association. Meeting minutes serve as an official record of what occurred at the meeting and can be used as future reference if any clarification is required on a certain meeting topic.

Aside from being proof of the discussions held in a meeting, the meeting minutes are also a great way to keep those who couldn’t attend the meeting informed of any decisions made.

6.  Ask for Advanced Topic Submissions

As we’ve mentioned before, board meetings are extremely time-sensitive, and should strictly follow a planned agenda. While numerous community members may have a topic they want to bring to the board, time constraints don’t allow for unplanned talking points.

Well in advance of the meeting, ask your constituents for advanced talking points they’d like to address at the meeting. This can be done through mail notices, emails, or even a social media post.


Not only will pre-planned talking points save time during your meeting but they will also give your board members a chance to prepare the best answers possible to the approaching community member.

Goodwin & Company Keeps Your Board Meetings Organized

Whether you need help getting the word out about your next board meeting or behind-the-scenes assistance for meeting preparation, Goodwin & Company is at your service.

Our experienced management team is ready to help you make every board meeting a positive experience for the members of your association. If you’re ready to have a management team on your side that makes a difference in your community, we want to hear from you.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how your association can become a member of the Goodwin family.