In this age of technology and the growing integration of the internet into so many aspects of routine living, more and more homeowners associations are discovering the benefits of establishing internet HOA websites for their community. Such HOA websites provide homeowners association members with 24/7 access to the information that is posted on the website.
To protect against potential liability to the association for claims relating to the items that are posted on an association’s website (i.e. claims for defamation, invasion of privacy, or defamation), homeowners associations typically create their websites in a manner that contains a portion of information that is accessible by the public in general, and a portion that contains information that is restricted to members only. The information that is available to the public typically consists of an introductory or welcome page that describes the common interest community and the homeowners association and contains photos of the development and its common area facilities. The members-only portions of the HOA’s website contain such things as links to the association’s governing documents, financial information that is made available to all of the owners, past minutes of board and membership meetings, names and contact information for board members, officers and management personnel. Access to the restricted information requires a password that is unique to each member.
The beneficial uses of a well-constructed website to a homeowners association are considerable and include such things as:
- Providing a secure location to post minutes of director and member meetings that is accessible at all times by directors, management personnel, and all members of the association;
- The economical creation and dissemination of a periodic newsletter (i.e. monthly or quarterly);
- The ability to integrate accounting and other financial operations of the homeowners association including the online payment of dues and assessments by homeowners;
- The creation of a library of all of the association’s governing documents and other important information including operational forms;
- The maintenance of a community calendar;
- The prompt and economical dissemination of email bulletins, announcements and all other information;
- The creation of online reservation procedures for the use of community common area facilities;
- The ability to generate revenue through website and newsletter advertising that is made available to homeowners and third-party vendors and service providers;
- The creation of a community directory;
- The creation of surveys to obtain member feedback;
Notwithstanding all of the possible beneficial uses of a website to a homeowners association, some homeowners associations are resistant to the creation of websites for their communities due to concerns about issues such as the costs necessary to create and maintain the website, privacy, and contingent liability. Additionally, there are many associations that are governed by older directors who are not as knowledgeable about technology and are less comfortable with computers and the use of the internet then younger people who have grown up with such technology being a part of their lives. Those who are not comfortable in utilizing the technology that is now available to homeowners associations tend to be more adverse to the advanced use of technology within their homeowners association. Nevertheless, the world-wide acceptance of the internet and its integration into our daily lives through computers, hand-held electronic devices, and cell phones has resulted in a proliferation of homeowners association websites and this trend will no doubt continue into the future the point that, sooner or later, nearly every homeowners association will have a website to facilitate its operations and homeowner involvement.
If your homeowners association does not currently have a website to facilitate its operations, it would be well worth the investment of time and money to inquire into the various website platforms that have been designed specifically for use in connection with the management of a homeowners association. If you’re interested in more information, we recommend Condo Communities. Condo Communities provides efficient, cost effective, and innovate HOA Software Solutions and Websites to it’s clients. More information about Condo Communities can be found below and they offer a special free trial offer. Be sure to check it out today by clicking “Try It For Free.”