Community associations contribute to an orderly and cohesive neighborhood atmosphere. Through board meetings, collaboration, and surveying residents for their input, associations help establish a desirable standard of living that emphasizes both quality and aesthetics. In order to maintain the visual appeal of your neighborhood that you have worked so hard to achieve, it’s important to institute an architectural approval process.
Why Architectural Requests Are Necessary
First and foremost, your board’s Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) should be documented and easily accessible for your community members. CC&Rs clearly state your community’s standards and dictate a list of property-related restrictions. But even when you’ve made your CC&R list evident—, like most things, those standards are still up for interpretation. That makes your architectural-requests process incredibly important. Perhaps you decide to allow your residents to paint their front doors red. Are only a few red hues acceptable, or are you open to every color of crimson? By receiving architectural requests, you and your board can make that judgement call and then add those details to your CC&Rs.
A smooth architectural request process should act as a gatekeeper for your community’s aesthetic and design. Residents looking to spruce up their property with new doorknobs or fresh flowers shouldn’t encounter a series of roadblocks. However, a homeowner seeking to install a guitar-shaped pool in their front yard or thick rows of invasive bamboo will likely face a swift denial.
No matter where each request falls on the mundane-to-the-eccentric spectrum, they still need to be documented and shared with board members.
What Does the Process Look Like?
Residents who are ready to make changes to their property should be able to easily submit their requests online or in-person at a community center. Your process should be clearly defined within your CC&Rs. Residents should explain their plan in detail, and include reference photos whenever possible. Once submitted, requests should receive a prompt review and response. Whether you decide to accept or deny the application, it’s important to document your reasoning.
Rent Manager’s New Architectural Requests Feature is a Gamechanger
One of our latest software enhancements makes this process painless and streamlined. With a few clicks, you can establish and assign community board members by property and designate their term limit, voting rights, and their committee status directly from the Property Tab in your Rent Manager database. Once board members and committees are set up, you can begin taking requests from homeowners. Your residents can submit their requests manually, or through their Tenant Web Access (TWA) portal in a matter of minutes. After they’re submitted, your board members can log onto their own TWA accounts to vote on these requests. You can even establish Automated Notifications to send emails or texts to notify your board members of a new request that’s up for a vote. Once cast, their votes will conveniently appear in your Rent Manager database. Residents can check the status of their request on the Architectural Requests tab in TWA. If a decision has been made, a notification will show up to alert them of the outcome.
In Rent Manager, navigate to Services > Architectural Requests to access your community’s requests register. From here, you can view the applications that have been approved, denied, or are still pending review. Each request will be linked to a tenant and property, and feature a description, photo, and tally of how many votes the request has received. If you receive a request in-person or on paper, you can easily add it to the register.
As a best practice, you should avoid deleting a request—instead, deny it and leave it in the folder. Even if the request is outlandish and violates your guidelines, a denial will be sent to the resident, while a deletion can make it seem like your board never received it, and the resident will try and submit it again.
Keep your community’s visual cohesion flawless with a streamlined process that makes it simple for your board and residents.