Homeowner Forums are great for capturing thoughts and ideas of residents in community associations.  Forums, when conducted the right way, are extremely useful in generating feedback and ideas from residents.  Homeowners are usually passionate about their ideas for the association. That’s why when you get owners together to share ideas, these forums can spin out of control quickly and become gripe sessions or problem solving meetings.  Below are a few guidelines that can help put your Homeowner Forums on the right track.

Request Topics in Advance

Although you don’t want to get into discussions during a Homeowner Forum, it’s still a good idea to request topics in advance.  When someone provides a topic, it helps him or her start mentally preparing how to state it.  In addition, it keeps the meeting on track so it flows smoothly from one topic to the next.

Postpone Discussion

New thoughts and ideas require some research time to gather facts and statistics.  Even if the homeowner provides complete information to the Board, you still need “think” time to build on the idea and weigh pros and cons.  Ensure that the Forum is used to convey thoughts and ideas without entering into problem solving and brainstorming.  Schedule a future time for more discussion when warranted.  You’ll find that giving people “think” time creates richer discussion with better results.

Move Forum to End of Meeting

When Forums are slated at the beginning of the meeting, it’s easy to allow them to consume all the meeting time. By shifting it to the end of the meeting, you have time to handle other agenda topics. Include allotted times for each agenda item and stay within the timeframe consistently in every meeting. This conveys to all homeowners that each presenter will have their turn and reduce interruptions throughout the meeting.

Use Established Channels for Routine Requests

HOAs have by-laws outlining established procedures for routine repairs and work order requests.  Ask owners to use these channels for standard requests so that the Forum doesn’t deviate into a “fix-it” list.  Using the proper methods to request repair work usually means that issues are resolved faster, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to follow rules.

If the Homeowner Forums in your association is taking over your meetings, it’s time to restore order.   A few tweaks can turn pandemonium into order.  Follow these four easy steps to create productive Homeowner Forums in your community.

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Wise Property Solutions serves condominium and homeowners associations by addressing their financial, association and facilities management needs. The only certified and licensed community association management firm serving the Mountain South (Virginia, North & South Carolina, Tennessee) with offices in the Tri-Cities and Knoxville.  Wise Property Solutions provides condo and homeowners association management services in Johnson City, TN; Bristol, TN; Kingsport, TN; Knoxville, TN and the surrounding region.

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