If you are considering moving into a home in a community with a homeowner’s association, or HOA, you must take the time to consider the pros and cons first. The quality of the HOA depends on the organization. Some offer safe and well-maintained communities for residents, while others are full of problems and are poorly managed. It’s important to do your research first.
What is an HOA?
An HOA, or homeowner’s association, is an organization that manages a particular community by setting and enforcing rules and maintaining the grounds. These are most common in apartment buildings and planned communities. When you decide that you want to lease or purchase a home in an HOA community, you are typically required to pay fees and dues to live there, and you may even be required to meet with the HOA to review the rules before you rent or buy in the community.
Advantages of HOA Living
One of the primary reasons people choose to live in an HOA community is that they get a sense of safety and security. Some of the other advantages include:
- You typically don’t have to maintain your yard
- Utilities are usually included in the monthly fee
- You can access a variety of amenities
- You don’t have to deal with annoying neighbors; the board will do it for you
- You have access to social activities
Disadvantages of HOA Living
Of course, it’s important to also look at the disadvantages of HOA living:
- Your fees may be expensive
- You may not be able to personalize the exterior of your home, and if you can, there are usually certain guidelines you must abide by
- Community management may be less than ideal
- You won’t have as much privacy
- There are rules to follow
Ways HOA Security Can Protect Residents
One of the primary advantages of living in an HOA community is the sense of safety and security you get. There are several ways that HOAs can protect their residents, including:
Virtual Security Guards
Protecting an HOA community is a 24/7 job, but that doesn’t mean you need to have security agents present all the time. A virtual security guard will do the trick. By going digital with this protection protocol like using a virtual security guard, you can achieve the following:
- Increase protection, but reduce staffing costs
- Speed up alarm/response times
- Provide visibility for threats that are unexplained or unnoticed
- Enables “always-on” protocols with automated integrations
- Improves security quality with well trained, supervised remote security guards
Make it Hard for Criminals to Hide
The next thing HOAs can do to protect their residents makes it difficult for criminals to hide. A neighborhood that doesn’t have enough lighting at night is at an increased risk of crime. Therefore, the HOA needs to ensure that there are no dark alleys or corners where criminals can hide.
The HOA must ensure that there are enough light fixtures in the community and that they are in proper working order. They need to make sure that there’s never a pitch-black area.
Also, HOAs should be enforcing landscaping regulations to promote safety. Bushes and hedges should not be allowed to grow past a certain height, and steps should be taken to ensure no places around trees or privacy fences where criminals can hide.
Establish Safety Practices When Residents Go On Vacation
The unfortunate truth is that most burglaries happen when residents go on vacation, leaving their homes unoccupied. This is something that HOAs need to be prepared for by establishing safety practices for when residents go on vacation.
Neighbors can help each other out by picking up the mail and parking a car in the driveway so that it looks like someone is home. After all, criminals are less likely to target a home if they believe someone is home.
Work with Security Professionals & Volunteers
HOAs should make sure that they are regularly inspecting and evaluating the community’s safety and looking for ways to protect their residents. This can be done by hiring professional security- which virtual security guards are best- or having volunteers from the community take care of things.
Depending on the size of the community, it may be best to outsource this to make residents feel safe. Also, the local police department should be willing to help you audit your HOA security.
A neighborhood watch is a great way to get residents involved. Plus, it can help mitigate some of the common safety issues.
Enforce Safety Regulations
There is a reason for the safety regulations- HOAs should be enforcing them to protect their residents. They often mistakenly assume that residents will follow the regulations- but they need to be reminded of the safety regulations that are in place and updated when changes are made.
HOA communities are popular primarily because of the sense of safety and security. There are several ways that an HOA can protect its residents, as you can see.
Securiteam can provide you with all the safety and security you need for your HOA community. We will be happy to discuss your options. Call us today to schedule an assessment and learn more about our Virtual Security Guard Systems.