It has now been a full year since COVID-19 has taken the world by storm. We have seen massive shifts in every facet of life across the globe. And on a local level, in our HOAs, condo associations and housing cooperatives, we have had to make many adaptations to the pandemic.
Here’s a look at how COVID-19 has impacted our BODs, HOAs and community associations.
Safety, security and compliance
In the past, weekly cleaning may have been sufficient for your community, but with the pandemic, we are looking at cleaning and sanitizing daily or every other day. All common areas, especially high use areas must be cleaned regularly and thoroughly. Many associations will also need to alter their rules and regulations to respond to state and local guidelines. The BOD has the tremendous task of adopting emergency rules and procedures until the threat passes.
Throughout the pandemic communication has been vital to maintaining a safe and informed community. At the beginning, rules were changing so rapidly it was hard to keep up. Community associations realized very quickly that if their communication system was lacking they would need to adopt better models very quickly. Most associations have seen the importance of maintaining a community website. In addition, it is crucial that every member of the community have a way of receiving information, preferably in multiple forms such as a community board, email, phone and access to the community website.
Foreclosures, forbearance and assessments
The economic impact of COVID-19 continues to hit communities hard. With so many people losing their jobs or otherwise losing income sources there has been a huge rise in foreclosures, forbearance and delinquent assessments. Looking to 2021 we will see the foreclosure ban lifted and a court system backed up with foreclosures and evictions. Community associations across the country, but especially in Florida, could see continued economic hardships and a need for special assessments and late fees. If your association is struggling to collect assessments and dealing with liens, foreclosures and forbearance, contact us to learn about your options.
Board meetings have moved to remote primarily in response to the pandemic. While we have adapted to Zoom, conference calls and other forms of electronic communication, it has brought challenges to communication and board meetings. Voting in particular has had to adjust to the new world but HOAs and community associations continue to acclimatize to the changing environment. One way or another, BODs will continue to face the challenges ahead and keep their communities safe and thriving.
The reserve fund, meant to be a backup for irregular or unforeseen expenses, has had to be accessed by many associations. For some communities this means that the reserve fund will need to be considered in future budgets while others may not have had much or any reserve funds to draw from. Since we may continue to see an economic crunch, reserve funds should be used wisely and conservatively.
COVID-19 has certainly shaken up the world as a whole and changed community associations in large and small ways. We applaud the work that BODs have done and the many obstacles that communities have overcome. It has been a trying year but we have met the challenges and continue to persevere. Here’s to our boards and community associations continuing to thrive amidst challenging times! If there is anything we can do to make your lives easier, know that we are always here to help.