Established in 2008 to proactively support the volunteers and/or members of Homeowners Associations (HOAs) and Bodies Corporate and their management teams to establish, maintain and enhance the value of properties and the lifestyles of their residents, the Association of Residential Communities (ARC) works to support and optimise estate leadership writes Jeff Gilmour, President of ARC.

Whether you are a current director, a trustee or even a newly elected board member, ARC understands the support required for those who volunteer to serve.

In many instances, they are thrust into an environment where they’re expected to meet high levels of governance and good practice, including sometimes onerous criteria as it relates to their fiduciary responsibilities.

In too many cases, more experienced board members and communities do not take cognizance of the fact that first-time volunteers are usually thrown in at the deep end and expected to “learn on the job”.

Note here that members who are property owners in the community are elected to the board by other members via a nomination process, and they become directors or trustees often because of their willingness to serve rather than their skills and knowledge in community leadership. Also note that, while learning, the letter of the law applies to them as much as it does to members with long-term industry and legal knowledge.

Meeting challenges with legal and fiduciary compliance 

Fiduciary duties can be daunting. A fiduciary is obliged to act in the community’s best interests by meeting stringent and often complex legal standards. 

Community managers are regarded as prescribed officers in terms of the Companies Act and therefore carry the same fiduciary responsibility as if they were a director or a trustee. In fact, any staff member who implements decisions taken by the board carries an element of fiduciary duty.

To meet these and many other challenges that members across all stages of their journey in HOAs and bodies corporate are likely to face, ARC offers an online induction programme that ensures community managers understand exactly what their commitments are.

The ARC Director and Trustee Induction Programme covers all aspects of good governance as it relates to the memorandum of incorporation, or constitution, rules and regulations and policies and procedures of the community. 

Carrying out your duties as a director, trustee or prescribed officer in relation to the requirements of governing documents is of paramount importance, and this is extensively covered.

The online learning program recently launched by ARC includes a self-learning component, as well as live online sessions where directors, trustees and prescribed officers can interact with the specialists who developed the programme, as well as participants from other communities on the same journey.

Online participation and discussions

The approach used to develop the online induction programme is a blended one, meaning structured digital input is provided in the form of recorded sessions, animated images, relevant documentation, links to extra resources, summaries, activities and quizzes. Then, live online discussions and Q&A sessions help consolidate the learning and application to your specific role on your estate.

As a leading resource for directors and trustees in our industry, ARC continually strives to improve access to information for leaders and management of residential communities. By providing online learning opportunities, you can work at your own pace and stay abreast of legal and best practice issues on your journey.

With ARC, it’s not just about the service you give willingly to your community to maintain the property’s value and enhance resident’s lifestyles, it’s about enabling you to constantly improve your knowledge and lead your team effectively.