Navigating the Challenges of Managing a 15-Year-Old HOA

Here's a question from a new HOA President: 

New member here and enjoying the conversation. I'm a new HOA president of 266 single family homes. The HOA has been around for 15 years. Due to people on and off the board, we really don't have any solid procedures. I'm struggling with a handful of vacant houses where the owner stretches out cutting the grass to every 2 weeks. By the time the owner has the grass cut, it's an eye sore. I retained new legal counsel. They are digging through our documents to find the authority of the ACC. The covenants state that we can go on the property to resolve the

Being elected as the new HOA president of a community with a rich 15-year history is a significant responsibility. Congratulations on stepping up to lead your HOA and enhance the well-being of your community. As with any established HOA, there are bound to be challenges to address, particularly when it comes to solidifying procedures and handling vacant properties. In this blog post, we offer some words of wisdom to guide you as you embark on this important journey.

Seek Legal Counsel

As a new HOA president, one of your first steps was to retain new legal counsel. Wise decision! Legal advice is crucial for understanding the authority of the Architectural Control Committee (ACC) and exploring the possibility of self-help in resolving issues with vacant properties. While waiting for a solid answer from legal, keep communication channels open with the property owners and the community. Understanding your HOA's legal standing from website law to local ordinances and responsibilities is crucial. Familiarize yourself with the governing documents, such as covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs), to ensure compliance and informed decision-making.

Emphasize Communication

Effective communication is the cornerstone of any successful community. Reach out to the owners of vacant houses through letters or emails, clearly explaining the importance of maintaining the property's appearance. Highlight how it benefits the community as a whole and fosters a sense of pride and unity. Make sure to post board meeting notices, minutes, and community events on your hoa website

Collaborate with Professional Landscapers

Finding a solution to the grass-cutting issue on vacant properties may involve working closely with professional landscapers. Explain the situation to them, emphasizing the collective well-being of the community. Some landscapers may be willing to help maintain the properties, knowing it serves a greater purpose.


Document Everything

Clear documentation is essential when dealing with property-related matters. Keep a record of all communication and actions taken regarding the vacant properties. This documentation will prove valuable if further action becomes necessary.

Harnessing Technology

As you bring your community together online, utilize technology to streamline communication and tasks. Digital platforms can enhance transparency, allowing residents to stay informed and engaged. Online tools also aid in tracking vacant property maintenance and sharing updates efficiently. 

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Encourage Community Involvement

The strength of an HOA lies in the active involvement of its members. Encourage residents to look out for vacant properties and promptly report any issues to the HOA. This sense of community vigilance can greatly assist in maintaining the neighborhood's overall appearance.

Practice Patience and Persistence

Resolving issues related to vacant properties may take time, but do not lose heart. Stay persistent in seeking solutions and working with your legal counsel. Patience and dedication will eventually lead to progress.


Providing Notice to Property Owners

When addressing issues on vacant properties, use various communication channels to reach property owners promptly. Email, phone calls, and posting notices on the property and website are effective methods. If mailing letters is your primary method, send them as soon as possible, even if it takes a few days to arrive.


As the new HOA president, you have the support and trust of the community. Embrace your role with confidence, and remember that effective communication, collaboration, and documentation are your allies. By adopting a proactive and patient approach, you can navigate through the challenges and lead your HOA to even greater heights. Your dedication to the community will undoubtedly inspire positive change and foster a sense of pride among residents.

Best of luck in your new role!

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