For many years my profession was researching sustainability and creating programs mostly in landscape and water management. I worked with local communities and many major corporations here in the Phoenix metro valley designing such schedules. Our responsibility was to construct a ten-year plan in maintenance and management processes expecting to find ‘best known practices’ in each category to ‘protect, preserve, and enhance property values’. All corporations are required to elect board members as a team who are given these strategies to use as references to manage by.
Living in a Non-profit Corporation, a Homeowners Association, (HOA), I noticed our maintenance practices did not fall in line with the research obtained from the multiple government backed associations teaching ‘best known practices’.
I have campaigned for years wanting a sustainable practice to be used in our community and was eventually elected on the board, but all sustainable programs were quickly shot down. Not because the process was bad but because no one knew what ‘best known practices’ meant or how to use them.
Even though property managers can help guide or assist in making professional decisions, they are not trained in sustainable practices and can only share what they are familiar with. Property management companies are not responsible for any decision the board makes.
“They are doing the best they can” was a line I heard a lot. “They are listening to the professionals”, “those were bad contractors” and the list of excuses continued.
It finally occurred to me the real problem is the system, not the contractors, not the board members, not the property managers but the lack of information given to the homeowners, to the board members, and to the contractors.
That is when Community Resource Advocates, (CRA) was born. We are a free website for all homeowners and board members to gain information that the state, the counties, and cities sponsor to promote sustainability. These resources were created to assist HOA’s, and it is CRA’s purpose to support you, and your board members in understanding how to use them.
“If your community is not following ‘best known practices’ then your community is not doing what is best for you, or your community.”
According to HOA rules and regulations the only way your HOA is required to follow “best known practices is if 50% to 70% of your community votes for the ten-year sustainable program to be created. Then it must be included into the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, (CC&Rs) or the program cannot be created or sustained.
This means if your community decides to change your CC&Rs then you can create a community-based set of rules, require the board to utilize ‘best known practices’ and be rest assured you are doing your part as shareholder by voting for sustainability in your HOA.