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Kevin O'Flaherty

When it comes to managing a homeowners association (HOA), one question that often arises is, "does HOA president have to live in the HOA?" While it might seem like a given that the leader of an HOA should be a resident, the reality is much more nuanced than that. In this blog post, we'll explore the factors that influence HOA President residency requirements, as well as the pros and cons of having an HOA President living in the community.

HOA President Residency Requirements

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HOA President residency requirements can vary depending on several factors, including:

  • Governing documents
  • Bylaws
  • State laws
  • Special cases

Understanding these influences plays a key role in assuring that the HOA President meets their responsibilities effectively for the good of the community.

Proceeding further, we'll break down each of these factors.

Governing Documents and Bylaws

Governing documents and bylaws are the foundation of any HOA. These legal documents establish the rules and regulations that dictate the operations of the association, including the duties and responsibilities of the HOA President. In some cases, these association documents may specify residency requirements for the HOA President, ensuring that they are well-acquainted with the community they serve. Take into account that these requirements can differ across HOAs; hence, potential board members should scrutinize their association's governing documents and bylaws to comprehend any residency stipulations.

Although governing documents and bylaws play a significant role in determining HOA President residency requirements, state laws and regulations can also influence these prerequisites. For HOA Presidents and fellow board members, understanding the laws and regulations of their state is paramount, given their potential variation from one location to another.

State Laws and Regulations

State laws and regulations govern various aspects of HOAs, from their formation and operation to the rights and responsibilities of their members. These laws and regulations can have a substantial impact on HOA President residency requirements and their overall responsibilities. For instance, California's Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act stipulates that the HOA President must be a resident of the HOA, while Florida requires HOA Presidents to have a minimum of two years of experience in the management of an HOA or a related field. It is essential to be cognizant of the laws and regulations in your state to guarantee that your HOA, as well as any involved HOA management companies, are adhering to them.

In some cases, state laws may not mandate that the HOA President be a resident of the community, providing greater flexibility in selecting board members. However, bear in mind that regardless of the absence of a legal residency requirement for the HOA President, many HOAs may still prefer to enforce this stipulation, with the belief that a resident President will be more adept at addressing the community's needs and concerns. For the most up-to-date information, read our article, Recent Changes to Illinois HOA and COA Laws 2023.

Exceptions and Special Cases

While governing documents, bylaws, and state laws may generally dictate HOA President residency requirements, there can be exceptions and special cases that allow for non-resident Presidents under certain circumstances. For example, in Illinois, no law discerns whether a board member must be an owner and resident of the community, leaving it up to the discretion of the HOA to determine whether a non-resident President or board member is permissible. HOA boards may also have the authority to grant exceptions, variances, or waivers to enforce certain restrictions during a board meeting.

However, acknowledging that rules must be uniformly applied to all members, including those on the board, is critical. Unbiased enforcement of rules can elicit legal ramifications. As a result, when pondering exceptions and special cases, weighing the potential benefits against the risks and ascertaining that any decisions made serve the community's best interests is vital.

Benefits of an HOA President Living in the Community

Having an HOA President who resides in the HOA community can provide several benefits, including a more comprehensive understanding of community requirements, improved communication with inhabitants, and increased responsibility. Additionally, the presence of an HOA board can further enhance the effectiveness of community management, especially when working alongside an HOA management company. This collaborative approach ensures that the needs of the HOA members are well-represented and addressed.

Proceeding further, we'll delve into these benefits more extensively.

Better Understanding of Community Needs

A good HOA president living in the community can gain a greater familiarity with the issues that the community is facing and thus can more effectively comprehend the needs of the residents. This firsthand knowledge allows the HOA board president to make more informed decisions and address concerns more efficiently.

When an HOA President is intimately aware of the challenges facing the community, they can better advocate for the residents and prioritize initiatives that will have the most significant positive impact.

A non-resident HOA President, on the other hand, may struggle to grasp the nuances of the community's needs and concerns, potentially leading to less effective decision-making and problem-solving. This lack of familiarity with community issues can be a significant disadvantage when it comes to addressing the concerns of the residents and ensuring that their best interests are being served.

Enhanced Communication with Residents

As an HOA President residing in the community, one can be more available to the residents and gain a better understanding of their concerns and requirements. This can, in turn, facilitate improved communication between the HOA President and the residents, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and working toward common goals. Excellent communication skills are essential for an HOA President, and living in the community can significantly enhance these skills, making it easier to address concerns, share information, and maintain transparency.

On the other hand, non-resident HOA Presidents may find it more challenging to communicate effectively with residents due to their physical distance from the community. They may be less accessible for face-to-face conversations and may struggle to keep their finger on the pulse of the community's needs and concerns, potentially leading to misunderstandings and miscommunications.

Increased Accountability

Living in the community can enhance the HOA President's accountability to the residents by establishing a direct connection between them and the leader. This connection enables the HOA President to be more cognizant of the needs and issues of the community members and to be more responsive to them. As a resident of the community, the HOA President is likely to have a vested interest in making decisions that benefit the community as a whole, and their personal connection to the community can serve as a powerful motivator to act in the best interests of the residents. Understanding the HOA president's responsibilities is crucial for effective leadership.

In contrast, a non-resident HOA President may not feel the same level of accountability and may be less responsive to the concerns of the community members. This lack of personal connection can make it more challenging for a non-resident President to prioritize the needs of the community and make decisions based on the best interests of the residents.

Challenges Faced by Non-Resident HOA Presidents

Though there are circumstances where non-resident HOA Presidents can serve effectively, they may face unique challenges that can impact their ability to fulfill their duties. Some of these challenges include reduced familiarity with community issues, potential conflicts of interest, and weaker connections with residents.

Now, let's delve into these challenges more extensively.

Reduced Familiarity with Community Issues

As previously mentioned, non-resident HOA Presidents may have a decreased understanding of community issues due to their absence from the community. This lack of familiarity can make it difficult for them to effectively address the concerns of the residents and to make decisions that are in the best interests of the community. Without a deep understanding of the community's needs and the issues they face, a non-resident HOA President may find it challenging to prioritize initiatives and allocate resources effectively.

To overcome this challenge, non-resident HOA Presidents should make an effort to stay informed about community issues, attend community events whenever possible, and maintain open lines of communication with residents. By staying connected to the community in these ways, non-resident Presidents can minimize the impact of their reduced familiarity with community issues and better serve the needs of the residents.

Potential Conflicts of Interest

Non-resident HOA Presidents may be exposed to potential conflicts of interest arising from their personal investments in the community, such as businesses or real estate. Additionally, they may have potential conflicts of interest associated with their external employment or other activities. These conflicts can create a perception of bias and potentially lead to decisions that do not align with the best interests of the community as a whole.

To minimize the potential for conflicts of interest, non-resident HOA Presidents should:

  • Be transparent about their personal interests
  • Ensure that they make decisions based on the collective benefit of the community
  • Prioritize the needs of the community over their personal interests

By following these guidelines, non-resident Presidents can build trust with the residents and demonstrate their commitment to serving the community. If you are concerned about HOA mismanagement, read our article, Suspected HOA, and COA Fraud and Mismanagement.

Weaker Connections with Residents

A non-resident HOA President may have reduced connections to the community's residents due to their lack of residency. This can result in a lack of understanding of the community's needs and a lack of trust in the community. Weaker connections with residents can make it more difficult for non-resident Presidents to effectively communicate with the community, gather feedback, and address concerns.

To overcome this challenge, non-resident HOA Presidents should make a concerted effort to build relationships with community residents, attend community events, and maintain open lines of communication. By actively engaging with the community and demonstrating a genuine interest in the residents' concerns, non-resident Presidents can foster stronger connections with residents and better serve their needs.

Tips for Non-Resident HOA Presidents

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While serving as a non-resident HOA President may come with its challenges; there are steps that can be taken to effectively fulfill the role of a board president and serve the community, similar to the responsibilities of a chief executive officer.

This section will offer advice for non-resident HOA Presidents, encompassing strategies for regular attendance at community events, maintaining open communication channels, and eliciting feedback from residents.

Regularly Attend Community Events

Attending community events is a crucial aspect of serving as an effective non-resident HOA President. By participating in community events, non-resident Presidents can stay connected to the community, build relationships with residents, and stay informed about community issues. Utilizing technology, such as video conferencing and streaming services, can enable non-resident Presidents to attend events even if they cannot be physically present.

To ensure regular attendance at community events, non-resident HOA Presidents should:

  1. Create a schedule and set reminders for upcoming events, including meeting agendas.
  1. Allocate time for these events and prioritize attendance.
  1. Demonstrate the President's commitment to the community.
  1. Build stronger connections with residents.

Maintain Open Lines of Communication

Maintaining open lines of communication with residents is essential for non-resident HOA Presidents to stay informed about community issues and effectively address concerns. By leveraging technology such as:

  • email
  • text messages
  • video conferencing for board meetings
  • social media

Non-resident Presidents can maintain a constant flow of communication with residents and ensure that their concerns are heard and addressed.

In addition to utilizing technology, non-resident HOA Presidents should make an effort to be accessible to residents for face-to-face conversations and phone calls. By making themselves available and actively engaging with residents, non-resident Presidents can foster a sense of trust and demonstrate their commitment to the community.

Seek Feedback from Residents

Actively seeking feedback from residents is an essential aspect of serving as an effective non-resident HOA President. By soliciting feedback, non-resident Presidents can gain insight into the community's needs and ensure that their decisions align with the expectations of the residents. There are several methods for gathering feedback from residents, including hosting regular meetings, conducting surveys, and engaging in conversations with community members.

By actively seeking feedback and incorporating it into decision-making, non-resident HOA Presidents can demonstrate their commitment to the community and ensure that their actions reflect the best interests of the residents. This proactive approach to communication and decision-making will help build trust in the community and foster a sense of unity and collaboration.


In conclusion, while the question of whether an HOA President must live in the community they serve may not have a definitive answer, the various factors and considerations discussed in this blog post provide valuable insights into the potential benefits and challenges associated with both resident and non-resident HOA Presidents. Ultimately, the most effective HOA President is one who prioritizes the needs of the community, maintains open lines of communication with residents, and demonstrates a genuine commitment to serving the best interests of the residents.

By understanding the factors that influence HOA President residency requirements, the benefits and challenges associated with resident and non-resident Presidents, and the tips for effectively serving as a non-resident President, HOAs and their leaders can make informed decisions that best serve the needs of their communities. With dedication, transparency, and a strong sense of responsibility, HOA Presidents – whether resident or non-resident – can make a significant positive impact on the communities they serve.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much power does an HOA president have?

The HOA president has considerable power, appointing members to various committees and presiding over other elections. They can also set the agenda for meetings, approve or reject proposed changes to the bylaws, and even levy fines against members who violate the rules.

What are the benefits of being the president of an HOA?

The President of an HOA has the power to shape the future of their community while also maintaining communication between the board and its members. Presidents often partake in successful resolutions or social gatherings that strengthen interpersonal relationships within the community, allowing them to advocate for their neighbors and fight against injustice.

How do you remove a president from an HOA?

HOA boards typically do not have the right to directly vote a member off the board; however, they do have the power to remove an officer, such as the president, through a majority vote. This power is an important tool for boards to use when they need to make changes to the board's leadership. It allows them to quickly and efficiently remove an officer who is not performing their duties or is otherwise not a good fit for the board.

What happens if no one wants to be president of HOA?

Without someone to serve as HOA President, the Board of Directors cannot properly attend to business. This could result in costly legal action and the appointment of a receiver to take care of your Association's needs. It is never a desirable situation when nobody is willing to step up and serve.

What factors influence HOA President residency requirements?

Residency requirements for HOA Presidents are determined by a combination of governing documents, bylaws, state laws, special cases, and the HOA board's preferences. These requirements can vary greatly from one HOA to another, so it is important to understand the specific requirements for the HOA you are considering. It is also important to understand the implications of the residency requirements for the President's role in the HOA.

While we serve most of Illinois, if you're in the Elmhurst, IL area and are looking for an experienced HOA attorney to assist you, please feel free to reach out to O'Flaherty Law at:

O'Flaherty Law of Elmhurst

110 E. Schiller St., Ste. 200B Elmhurst, IL 60126

(331) 253-4060

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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