As the summer season approaches, homeowners associations (HOAs) and community associations need to start thinking about preparing their amenities for use by residents. From maintaining pools and tennis courts to organizing community events and budgeting for emergency repairs, many tasks must be completed before the HOA summer season begins.
Review Your Vendor Contracts & Budgets
Your community budget should be completed by now, but budgets are educated guesses, not guaranteed costs. The HOA summer season is a great time to review the health of your financial situation and see how your anticipated expenses have stacked up with actual spending. Check your budget to ensure that you are on track for summer expenses such as:
- Pest control
- Pressure washing walkways.
- Pool water treatment
- Repainting tennis courts
- Outdoor Lighting
- Playground maintenance
Additionally, ensure that any long-term or major repair preparation is budgeted correctly. The summer season kicks off some major natural disasters for many (we’re looking at you and hurricane season, Florida), so it can also mean some major repairs or updates like:
- Window treatment
- Roof repair or replacement
- Backup generators
- HVAC system repairs or maintenance
And don’t forget for community events such as block parties or pool opening celebrations!
Once those decisions are made, you'll want to ensure your vendors are ready for their responsibilities and deadlines. Start by reviewing existing vendor contracts to ensure all needs are met. Summer months typically mean droughts and less grass growth, for example, meaning a shift in landscaping responsibilities should be taking place – whether that’s fewer mows per month, or some growth enhancement to keep lawns lush, your contract should accommodate for those needs or should be modified to do so.
Review all your current contracts, and begin sourcing new vendors for additional, short-term needs.
Review Your Emergency Preparedness Plans
The HOA summer months are a time for fun but can also be a time of increased risk. Your community should already have an emergency preparedness or business continuity plan. Taking time before the HOA summer activities begin to review and update that plan will save you time and energy.
If you don’t have a plan at all, make one. It should include information including (but in no way limited to):
- Emergency points of contact. Typically, these are the Board President or Vice President, and their responsibility is to provide additional information to those residents who may not have access to the full plan.
- Local resources. Shelters, soup kitchens, etc., should be included in this list.
- Utility contacts. Phone numbers or email addresses of all utility providers for the community should be easy to access and available to all residents.
- Evacuation procedures and routes. These can typically be found on your city or county websites.
When reviewing your plan, be sure to make essential updates such as:
- Changes to emergency points of contact. If the board president previously listed has since stepped down or moved, their information should not remain part of the emergency planning materials.
- Review contact information for local shelters and utility providers to ensure accuracy.
- Verify evacuation maps and expectations. For our coastal friends, this is crucial, as flood zones tend to change over time. Review your plan’s current evacuation steps and compare them to current information on your city or county’s evacuation guidelines to ensure your information is current.
Communicate With Your Community
Making your residents aware of the activities and changes planned for the HOA summer months is a great way to generate greater community and homeowner engagement. There are a few ways to go about this, such as:
- Create an HOA newsletter. A monthly newsletter is the best way to inform your residents about upcoming events. This can be an email blast, a page on your website, or just a flyer on the bulletin board.
- Establish rules and regulations for the summer season. You should review all existing policies with your HOA board members, including any parking or noise level restrictions that may apply during this time of year. Making these rules available always is critical – be sure you’ve put this information somewhere highly visible, like on your community site, in a homeowner portal, or again, on the bulletin board.
- Review safety protocols with homeowners association board members, management company representatives, and other community leaders so everyone is clear about what needs to be done to stay safe during everyday activities in public areas, such as in/around pools, on playgrounds, or in clubhouses, and what to do if an emergency arises (e.g., evacuation procedures).
HOA Summer Is Fast Approaching!
There are many things to consider when preparing your HOA for summer–and remember, there is plenty more you can do on top of everything here. If your community faces an uphill battle tackling these summer preparation tasks, consider bringing in a little help.
HireSmart Virtual Employees are fully equipped to tackle every item on this list. Whether you need assistance managing your maintenance and repairs calendar, reviewing and making changes to your community budget, or juggling all of the above tasks and then some, HSVE has a community association management VE for you. Find the virtual assistant that’s right for you with a free 30-min consultation