Some HOA Boards can credit one person for their success—the person who does 90% of the work. We see many one-person shops in Tri-Cities, Tenn. where the Board and the community would be completely lost if one thing goes awry with their lifeline. Relying on a single person can mean chaos if that person has to step down without transition time. Accidents, sickness and other issues could leave your Board in sudden pandemonium. Rebuilding from the foundation up is a long and painful process. Here are some tips to minimize the risks.
Dual financial signatures: While you may trust the person running your community implicitly, it’s always a good idea for financial transactions to require dual signatures. Identity theft can happen to an association, and it can happen more easily when there’s just one person in charge. Why put your community go-getter and your association at risk when dual signatures reduce the possibility of fraud and create a backup plan?
Back up data: Computer systems crash. External hard drives stop working, and you may not know it until you try to retrieve a document. Yet, it’s common for one-person shops and other HOA Boards to rely on a single computer with do-it-yourself periodic backup. It would be impossible to recreate all your records if a computer crashes, and professionals can’t always retrieve the data. To lower the risk of data loss, you should have three copies of important data (the original, a backup stored on the premises, and a second backup stored off-site or with an online storage service). A property management company has systems in place that can also help protect your information.
Identify dual location storage: Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security if your community leader stores printed documents of all your records. Filing all document records in a single location doesn’t protect them from fire, flood, theft or other disasters. Off-site or alternate storage that is not subject to the same physical threats is a must.
Engage a property management company: A property management company can help you mitigate the risk by implementing the right backup processes. These companies also have system redundancies and a breadth of staff to protect clients’ data.
Whether you rely primarily on one person or multiple Board members, you need safeguards in place to protect the association in the event that a designated person can no longer fulfill their responsibilities. Implement processes that will stand up to the worst-case scenarios when someone must pick up the work with no transition. Taking this perspective helps you think through the right processes to protect your Board and your community.