Both Oregon and Washington now have “stay at home” orders, a minimum of two weeks according to Gov. Inslee of WA and until terminated by Gov. Brown in Oregon. The order covers public and private gatherings, social, spiritual, and recreational, and it’s enforceable by law. What does this mean for your HOA’s board and residents? Below are a few things to consider.
Close Common Areas
If your community has a clubhouse, pool, exercise room, etc., they must be closed until this period ends. People can still use outdoor spaces and walking trails, as long as they maintain the 6’ social distancing rule. However, playgrounds should be closed. And of course, be aware of any surfaces in your community that may need to be disinfected frequently.
Go Virtual with Board Meetings
Board meetings should be held virtually. We recommend using Zoom, or GoTo Meeting for video conferencing. Meetings via email are not allowed. Notify homeowners of the meeting time via email (per your governing documents) and include the link to join the meeting.
Plan for Unpaid Assessments
A number of owners may be temporarily or permanently without work, which will likely result in unpaid assessments. Associations should consider making temporary adjustments to their policies. Some options may include allowing for payment plans (for example, smaller payments over a longer term), and allowing more time before delinquent accounts are sent to collection.
Review the Budget
The board may take this opportunity to review the budget and make adjustments as necessary. Consider delaying non-urgent maintenance and repair projects. You should also anticipate an increase in legal fees.
This is a stressful time for everyone. But a lot of people suddenly have more free time, which creates a great opportunity for neighbors to connect in new (socially-distant) ways. Put on your creative thinking caps and come up with some ways to encourage positive neighborhood interaction. As your community for their ideas. Some neighborhoods have set up Help Maps on NextDoor, so people can offer help to those in need. You could create a neighborhood Facebook group to communicate with each other. The Internet is full of ideas, for example: a neighborhood parade, lawn dining, and outdoor music and dancing.
This situation is continuously changing and we encourage you to check your local government’s current guidelines as things are changing daily. As always, contact our office if you have any specific questions that come up.