Originally, I was going to blog about resolutions that Board members should make for 2014, but that topic has been written about a million and one times.  Everyone seems to have suggestions about how to be a better Board member.  Let’s flip it around this time and resolve to be better unit owners, neighbors and friends.  Here’s a top ten list:

  1. Learn to appreciate that the members of your Board are unpaid volunteers, the overwhelming majority of whom ran for the Board to simply make their community a better place to live.  Not everything that goes bad in a community is their fault.  Your assessments are going up for example because insurance rates are going through the roof, not because of anything wrong your board is doing.
  2.         If you’re convinced that I’m wrong about number 10, get up off your behind and run for the Board yourself.  If you truly believe that the members of your Board are incompetent, you have an obligation to your community, if not to yourself, to run for the Board and try to do a better job.
  1. Never make accusations about Board members you can’t prove.  All year long I hear allegations that “I’m sure that this Board member or that Board member is getting a kickback.” It’s a horrible thing to say about someone if you don’t have the proof.  Moreover, it may get you sued.  If you have the goods on the Board member, go to the police.  If you don’t, keep your thoughts to yourself.
  2. How about being a little kinder to that community association manager who works his or her butt off the whole year?  It wouldn’t hurt to say “Please” or “Thank You” when they help you out with a records request or answer a question.
  3. Here’s my personal favorite:  Stop yelling at the association’s attorney that he or she works for you as a unit owner and not just the Board and therefore the attorney can’t take any action against you.  That is simply incorrect.  The attorney works for the association of which you are a member, but the attorney takes direction from the Board of Directors. You know, the people that were elected to do just this.
  4. For heaven’s sake — put some clothes on when walking in the hallway.
  5. Be a little kinder not just to the Board members, but to all of your neighbors.  My father lost the ability to walk the last few years of his life.  My mom however made it a point to take him out to a restaurant a few days a week.  It was very hard for a woman in her late 70s to wheel my father in a wheelchair to the car, put my dad in the car and then fold up the wheelchair and place it into her trunk — and then do the reverse when getting to the restaurant.  Many a day she would comment that men would see her struggling to lift my dad or the wheelchair and turn a blind eye, while others always asked if she needed a hand.  Don’t turn a blind eye to a neighbor who may need a helping hand.
  6. How about understanding that the appearance and upkeep of your home has a direct effect on the value of mine?  Have the decency to keep your home or exterior of your condo unit in a neat and clean fashion.  Don’t use your balcony as a storage closet.  Your front yard does not have to look like the Garden of Eden, but the grass can at least be cut, and if you don’t have grass you can certainly buy some.  If you can’t afford to paint your entire home, at least try to get by with a pressure cleaning.  Have pride in your home and in your community.
  7. No matter how bad things may seem in your community, don’t ever make      comments like “It’s like Nazi Germany in here” or “it’s worse than living in a concentration camp.”  I have to tell you….I don’t like reading that.  It’s an insult to every person that spent time truly living through hell.  In all candor, the minute someone writes that comment to me, their credibility is a huge problem.
  8. And whether you’re a Board member, unit owner or homeowner,  make 2014 the year where you learn all about the laws that govern your community association.  Attend one of our Condo Craze Board Member Certification Classes that approximately 7,000 Floridians have now taken around the state.  Our next one is Saturday, January 25th at 9:00 a.m.  It’s fun, it’s free and it even provides 4 continuing education credits for community association managers.  Following the Board Certification class, there will be other free classes on fraud, elections, roofing, watching your wallet, electricity, water damage, concrete and more.  All of the show’s sponsors will be there too with information on how they can help your community.  To register, go to: condocrazeandhoas.com.
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