George Markle has been involved with homeowners associations for the past four decades and authored the Homeowners Association Directors' Survival Kit. He has a Community Associations Institute Homeowner Leader designation and is a CAI Advocacy Ambassador for legislation. He is Chief Imagineer for the MakeMyHOAok project.

This site is for you and others living in and serving community associations to participate in developing a legislative solution to the long-term conundrum: How to increase competence of volunteer Community Association directors without discouraging volunteerism.

The puzzle we need to solve

Anyone involved professionally or on a board of a community association is too familiar with the dearth of willing, qualified volunteers competent in the skills of overseeing what, for many of its members, constitutes the bulk of their net worth. Normal means for ensuring competence for such stewardship involves the state requiring certification and licensure. However, such requirements may present an untenable burden for unpaid volunteers to pursue such credentialling — with no remuneration or ostensible personal reward and the prospect of absorbing relentless political ire. (Who in their right mind would serve as a community director?!) This conundrum has long plagued communitites accross our country

Thus, we have all seen and read about consequences of unsophisticated governance of community associations — from petty irritations of hapless adminstration of architectural rules preventing a homeowner from flying a flag, to catastrophic loss and devestation of an entire community and lost lives, resulting from failure to maintain adequate reserves for buliding infrustructure maintenance.

For the past few years I've contemplated this as-yet unsolved puzzle of essential requirements for competent oversight vs. circumstances malignantly aligned to defeat it. I finally began crafting a plan — a decidedly unconventional approach involving incentives to education and improve competency for community association directors. And importantly, it explodes conventional local- and state government barriers to involve the marketplace. Get ready for an interesting ride.

State of affairs

Note, language in the examples is for California, one of the states leading the nation in community association legislation. But there is no reason a program like this couldn't be adopted by any state. If you have suggestions particular to another state, just say so. It would be an excellent idea to visit the GitHub site and suggest a new folder with your state's name on it. I'll create it so we can track how legislation would differ.

Heads up

If two heads are better than one, opening this up to many contributors has the potential to craft a truly great and effective program. We can use each other's help on all aspects, including sanity checks, legal review, awareness of potential unexpected barriers and a raft of other surprises certain to arise. It'll be an adventure!

Legislation won't write itself

So please review the plan and provide your comments and suggestions so we can make it better — before we begin working with our legislators to implement.

While this program was drafted with the California legislature in mind, Community Association citizens and professionals and legislators across the country can participate here in crafting a program that can be adapted for other states. If you have a suggestion specific to your state, just so indicate.