A well-maintained Boston HOA is safe and secure. The well-being of your community members should never be in danger, and safety must be important to the HOA leadership and the entire association. If you’re not already taking every measure possible to establish and enforce safety and security procedures, now is the time to start.
This is important because every association wants to make sure that residents, their homes, and the entire community is safe. Working with an HOA property management company in Boston can help you establish procedures for the prevention of accidents, criminal activity, and any other unexpected situations. You’ll have qualified experts with a plan in place to respond to things like fires, blizzards, and even hurricanes.
Some of the steps we’re sharing to better safety and security will illustrate why it’s so important to take this seriously as a Boston HOA.
Establish, Evaluate, and Revise Security and Safety Processes
Board members need to put together a complete security policy and then enforce it. When such safety precautions are mandatory, you’ll ensure there’s maximum protection for all homeowners in the community. We recommend that once you have a plan in place, you review it annually in case there are areas in which it can be improved or new issues that need to be addressed since it was last revised. Put this on the agenda for one HOA board meeting per year.
Deterring Criminals Helps Homeowners Feel Safe
Rarely is criminal activity anticipated. It’s usually a surprise, so you want to do everything you can to make it difficult for criminals to successfully surprise potential victims in your community.
This should start with the basics. Maybe your community has a gate or your building has an entry code that only residents know. These are great ways to stay safe, but you have to think beyond the basics. Landscaping, for example, can help you deter criminals and keep your neighborhood safe.
Thick hedges and bushes or trees with low-hanging foliage can provide the type of protection that people up to no good may seek out. Eliminate these potential hiding spaces by assessing your landscaping. Stay up to date with services so that bushes and trees are routinely trimmed back. This won’t necessarily be expensive. You can plant some thorny shrub barriers to keep people away from the buildings. You can increase the exterior lighting in parking areas and common areas.
Instruct your landscaping team to trim the height and width of shrubs as well as tree canopies. You can also make sure that the trees don’t become overgrown to the point where they obscure lighting.
Personal Safety for Boston HOA Homeowners
Every HOA in Boston will have different security needs. Whether it’s a security patrol, a staffed fence, gated entrances, or alarms, your safety plan that gets evaluated every year should address most of the community-wide safety and security issues that are present. You also want to communicate with your homeowners the importance of taking control of their own personal security.
Some HOAs will begin a Neighborhood Watch program, which helps residents feel like they’re making a team effort to keep their neighborhood safe. You also want to encourage investments at each personal residence, which may include things like:
- Home alarm systems.
- Video doorbells
- Dead bolts on exterior doors and locking pins on sliding doors.
- Up-to-date insurance policies and inventories that document personal possessions.
- Smart home technology that includes timers for lights.
Make sure you don’t have any rules or regulations in place that prevent homeowners from making changes to their doors and windows for extra security.
Inspect Roads, Sidewalks, and Walkways for Potential Hazards
The HOA is likely responsible for maintaining streets, streetlights, sidewalks, and in some cases, lawns, and yards. This is a good opportunity to make sure there aren’t any slip and fall hazards that could cause injury to a homeowner or guest.
Look for large potholes in the roads, especially after long winter months that have included snow and ice. You don’t want your residents blowing out tires or having accidents. Sidewalks shouldn’t have any large cracks or tree roots growing through them. If you are in a condo building, make sure the elevators, stairwells, and common areas are safe and functional.
Routine preventative maintenance can also help. If you schedule annual inspections, you’ll have the peace of mind that the community and all of its common spaces are safe for residents and guests. You don’t want to be surprised by unknown hazards, but even worse is having a hazard reported over and over again without any action. Not only can that put your residents at risk, but it can also put your HOA at risk for liability if something happens.
Do What You Can to Prevent Fires and Floods
Remind your homeowners about the importance of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Fire can be an unexpected danger, and odorless carbon monoxide from heaters and appliances can be deadly.
Water is another potential hazard. Encourage your residents to check their property’s gutters and roof every year and make sure there isn’t any moisture creeping into the home. That can lead to mold, which presents health issues and expensive remediation issues. A preventative approach is far safer and more cost-effective. Offer your residents workshops, educational materials, and guest speakers on issues that may be of concern.
Extreme weather isn’t as rare as it once was. Before the cold winters and the hot summers, have your community prepared for the change in seasons. You want to make sure buildings and homes can sustain high temperatures, freezing nights, and fierce winds.
Build a Relationship with Local Responders
When your HOA can develop a good working relationship with local law enforcement and emergency personnel, you’re more likely to have a community that’s safe from crime and security issues. Assign a community liaison to be the go-to person when information or assistance is needed from the local police, fire department, poison control, or other government agency. If a problem develops, you’ll have a relationship in place and a designated person to communicate on behalf of your HOA.
Having a healthy relationship with your community’s local police force and other first responders will make your neighborhood more likely to receive immediate action when problems do occur. The police benefit from your support and involvement, and you benefit from their protection.
Make sure your residents have their own emergency plans in place. Encourage them to know where the closest hospital and police station are. Provide all the necessary contact information and introduce your community liaison to the entire community so they know who to reach out to if help is needed.
Communicate Transparently with Your HOA Members
Communication is an important part of keeping your residents safe. If there has been a recent series of break-ins or car thefts, don’t try to cover that up. Let people know what is happening, and remind them to take every precaution when it comes to keeping their homes safe. Reminders to lock car doors can be helpful, and it’s a good idea to recommend security systems and devices that are effective and proactive. Invite them to provide input when you’re reviewing and revising your safety and security plan.
If your HOA has a newsletter or a regular blog, use it to pass on valuable safety information, security information, and HOA tips to your residents. You want to keep your community updated on everything from the coronavirus to CO poisoning to community health and safety events. You can also use your newsletter, blog, and other platforms to provide prevention techniques, self-defensive home preparation, safety plans, and crime prevention tips.
If your HOA is not doing a great job communicating with residents, now is a good time to start. Put together a community newsletter or add a section to your website where homeowners can go for resources. Open the lines of communication in your community, encouraging dialogue over accident and danger prevention. When all of your homeowners are informed, it’s much easier to keep your community safe.
Consider Professional HOA Boston Property Management
We know most volunteer HOA boards in Boston already have a long list of to-do items on their action list. It may be difficult to find the time and the resources to prioritize safety and security. However, you really cannot afford to backburner this issue. Talk to a professional HOA management company if you’re not already working with one. It will be much easier for professionals to evaluate your risk, make recommendations, and implement policies that will keep your community safer.
Our team works extensively with HOA boards in Boston, and we can help you take your security and safety procedures a step higher. We’ll take a look at what you’re doing now, identify opportunities to make things better, and help you come up with a plan for better safety, security, and peace of mind.
Contact us at Platinum Realty Group and we’ll talk about some of the best moves you can make right now and in the future.