The latest estimates of the number of HOAs in the Phoenix/Metro area are somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000. All of those HOAs have volunteer Board members, elected by the homeowners to run a major corporation and protect, for most part, people’s largest investment they will ever make. Millions of dollars in real estate, some with yearly budgets in the 100’s of thousands. We applaud these volunteers! Here’s the rub, even if they come to their Boards with years of corporate management experience, the complexity of HOA management is a challenge at best.
The Community Associations Institute National Chapter was founded in 1973 as a multi-disciplinary non-profit alliance serving all stakeholders in community associations. It provides education and resources to America's 315,000 residential condominium, cooperative, and homeowner associations and to the professionals and suppliers who serve them. This is why we are surprised at how many Arizona Board members have either not heard of and/or not chosen to, join CAI. We must assume that they do not understand their invaluable resources regarding Board member education and their available training and publications for best practices in every area of managing an HOA. In addition their national certification programs for HOA managers and management companies have been ongoing since 1995.
Recently we had an opportunity to speak with CAI’s Central Arizona Chapter Executive Director Kayte Comes below is a portion of that interview.
HOA ADVISORS “How long has the Central Arizona Chapter been here in Phoenix and what is their main purpose?”
COMES “The local chapter began in 1980; I have personally been involved as Executive Director since January 1, 2009. Central Arizona Chapter (CAI-CAC), based in Phoenix, is the primary organization that advocates for homeowner associations (HOAs) in Arizona. It is one of the larger CAI chapters in the United States and has more than 700 members. In Arizona, it is estimated there are approximately 10,000 community associations and approximately 1.2 million homes within these covenant-protected communities.”
HOA ADVISORS “Do you make all the decisions, who exactly runs things?”
COMES “I handle the day-to day operations at the direction of a Board of Directors. Our Board is elected by its members from the three membership categories, Board Member/Homeowner, Business Partners (or vendors servicing the industry) and HOA Managers.
HOA ADVISORS “Why should Board Members join CAI?”
COMES “First I would like to say that all the funds collected for membership stays with the national chapter. Those funds are used for the continuing advocacy for homeowners and development of the educational tools and the courses made available to all members. The reason: as you touched on above, Board members are entrusted with people’s homes. The complexity and responsibility of that position requires knowledge. The better the knowledge, the better the leadership. We try to provide a source for that knowledge.
HOA ADVISORS “Where can Board Members get more information?”
COMES “You can visit our local website at http://www.cai-az.org or the national website at http://www.caionline.org.
The duties of HOA Board leadership is paramount to the protection and enhancement of communities throughout the state. We hope Board members take that responsibility seriously. With the economic downturn we have experienced and the numinous laws passed each year regarding HOAs, self education for Board members is more important than ever. It is certainly ok for Board members to seek out qualified assistance, professional management and financial guidance. It is not ok to blindly follow without understanding. As a Board member you can assign someone the authority to act on you and your homeowner’s behalf, you however are the responsible party. Seek Knowledge!