Posts Tagged ‘dues’

Several recent news articles have underscored the necessity of social-networking software for homeowners associations, such as Interaction Community Systems.

Perhaps the most shocking, if not entirely surprising, was this story in the Dallas Morning News, about an HOA that foreclosed on the home of a U.S. Army National Guardsman while he was deployed in Iraq. Depressed in his absence, the man’s wife had stopped opening mail and didn’t see the HOA’s notices that the couple owed $978 in dues. The HOA has expressed regret — apparently sincere regret — but argues that it can no longer help the couple because it sold the foreclosed house to an investor who then flipped the house to a second buyer.

Whether or not the foreclosure was justified, it has created a headache for everyone involved, and it might have been avoided if the HOA had been using Interaction or a similar platform. Interaction lets HOAs announce upcoming due dates through multiple channels — e-mail, message boards, “walls” and calendars. And it’s easy for Interaction users to arrange automatic payments to their HOAs.

A rep for the HOA in Dallas called the series of events a “perfect storm.” And of course the Guardsman and his wife are not an entirely typical case: Not everyone who ignores their mail is going to be checking their e-mail, for one thing.

But HOAs foreclose on numerous houses each year, for all sorts of reasons, as detailed in this article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

I’m guessing that some homeowners simply don’t prioritize their HOA dues highly enough in relation to other expenditures. The Interaction platform helps avoid that problem — and probably a lot of other problems — simply by strengthening residents’ sense of community and connectedness. People who interact with their neighbors and their association on a regular basis — whether in person or online — feel a stonger sense of obligation to the group. Interaction users can post pictures from a neighbor’s touch-football game on a “wall” where it’s visible only to their neighbors. They can put out alerts on stray dogs or suspicious loiterers. They can reserve a block of time at the community clubhouse, tennis court or golf course.

On a different note, a widely read blog about issues in condo associations features this recent post about a spat between an HOA board member and an executive at the management company that the HOA had just fired. The jilted executive e-mailed HOA board members to complain about one of their colleagues, labeling him “a troublemaker.” The alleged troublemaker is considering a lawsuit. With Interaction, you won’t have to worry about defamatory e-mails from an incompetent management company — or about the incompetent management company itself.

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