Community Association Best Practices – Resources Guide
Virginia Common Interest Community Board - The Common Interest Community Board regulates
common interest community managers, as well as certain employees of licensed management firms.
The Board's authority also includes condominium and time-share project registrations, and extends to
transactions occurring within Virginia, even if the property involved is located outside the
Commonwealth. Property owner, condominium, and cooperative associations are required to file annual
reports with the Board.
Virginia Common Interest Community Ombudsman - The Office of the Common Interest Community
Ombudsman offers assistance and information to association members regarding the rights and
processes available to them through their associations. The Ombudsman Regulations requires
associations to establish an Association Complaint Procedure for all citizen complaints against the
association for alleged violations of the Virginia Condominium Act, the Virginia Property Owners’
Association Act and other state codes related to common interest communities.
The Fairfax County Consumer Affairs Branch maintains a Homeowners’s and Condominium Association
page for your conveniences. The Homeowners’ and Condominium Association Liaison may be reached
for advice regarding your common interest community concern at 703-222-8435. The Liaison
coordinates a bi-monthly, educational television program, Your Community, You’re Connected to create
an opportunity to share best practices and guidance to communities on various hot topics. To sign up
for notices of upcoming educational opportunities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leadership Best Practices
Read and understand your association’s governing documents: Articles of Incorporation,
Declaration, Bylaws, Covenants and Restrictions, and Rules and Regulations.
Familiarize your understanding of the local, state, and federal laws that impact common interest
Connect with your local Supervisor and get involved with your District Council, County
commissions, and industry specific organizations. Explore opportunities for engaging with the
Fairfax Federation, an opportunity to engage in countywide topics that impact community
Explore the resources and educational opportunities provided by the national Community
Associations Institute and the local Washington Metropolitan Chapter (WMCCAI).
Conduct board orientations immediately after each election to ensure understanding and
commitment to board roles and distribution of responsibilities.
Encourage member attendance at meetings and participation in committees by providing notice
and conducting open meetings that include a member forum.
Network with communities in your area to learn about their best practices, and experience with
contractors for similar common area maintenance projects, etc. by subscribing to Fairfax County
Office of Public Affairs’ Voluntary Community Association List. The list is available in excel
format for your networking convenience by contacting email@example.com.
Consider obtaining legal guidance on retainer.
Community Engagement and Communication Best Practices
Embrace the age and cultural diversity in your community by planning creative opportunities to
engage and establish an environment of inclusivity. Below are some ideas that have worked
well in other communities.
o Host a Foods Around the World – Potluck Dinner where families prepare dishes from
their native lands
o Brainstorm meeting topics that appeal to a diversity of ages and interests. Reach out to
county agencies to present on a topic of concern to your community.
o Break down volunteer opportunities into smaller tasks and request assistance for one
small project that is clearly defined in scope of responsibility and time commitment.
o Build personal relationships through one-to-one conversations and interactions.
o In large communities, consider a block captain to be the board liaison for
communication to their neighbors. The Block Captain can keep the neighbors informed
and encourage participation since neighbors in close proximity tend to interact more
with one another.
o Know the residents in your community that may be limited-English speakers. Find a
liaison that speaks their language to ensure important community information is
provided to them in a way they can understand.
o Consider doing reviewing the 2015 Fairfax County Demographics Report for current
demographics in your community. Understanding your audience with help you to
create opportunities for engagement that meets their needs and interests.
o Consider conducting an association-wide survey to understand what projects, events or
ideas are important to the community. Share the results at a community event.
o Provide community information to local realtors to share with prospective buyers.
o Host a Community Bulk Trash and Donation Day – purchase a dumpster to allow
community to clear out the bulk items in their homes. Identify items for donation and
contact and schedule a pick-up with a local charity organization.
o Seek out opportunities to work together on a community improvement project where
sweat equity yields a long-term benefit to the community (Community ReLeaf Program,
Neighborhood Enhancement Partnership Program.)
o Seek out opportunities to celebrate your community’s best practices and set the
standard for excellence for other communities. (WMCCAI’s Community Association of
o Engage young people in the community and create opportunities for their civic
engagement. WMCCAI announces an annual Scholarship Opportunity for graduating
high school students. Share the opportunity in your newsletter or on your social media
o Encourage all owners to attend free or low cost educational opportunities and read
educational publications and resources to increase their awareness on what it takes to
create a great community. Visit the national Community Associations Institute
Homeowners page for FREE resources for your community.
o When communicating information using the internet and social media be sure to
provide alternative forms of communication for those who may not use these platforms.
Ensure that your association documents are clear and concise and the board is operating within
the scope of the authority outlined in those documents.
Establish a written procedure for responding to rules violations to ensure consistent
enforcement. Keep in mind the goal is compliance. Consider a personal visit to remind your
neighbor of a violation and the rules and regulations of the community before sending out a
written notice of violation. Be mindful of the tone of written notices to your neighbors.
Seek legal guidance when needed to determine the cost benefits of pursuing a correction of a
violation or grandfathering the violation. In these instances, immediately revisit the rule for
revision for clarity and specificity.
Publish contact information for local county agencies that enforce property maintenance and
other concerns. Neighbors can report issues directly to the county for enforcement. The board
is generally not responsible for resolving neighbor-to-neighbor disputes.
Contact the Fairfax County Homeowners’ and Condominium Association Liaison for an
opportunity to brainstorm the concern and obtain ideas and referrals that may lead to a
Review your governing documents for the need for revision, seeking legal counsel for legal
guidance and compliance with the hierarchy of documents. The Virginia Common Interest
Community Board recently published a Best Practices for Property Owners’ Association
Provide proper notice and due process for rules violations as required by state law.
Explore the services offered by Northern Virginia Mediation Services (NVMS). NVMS offers
mediation and facilitation services that can assist in resolving issues on many levels out in the
community. Whether it is facilitating a meeting, working out an issue between neighbors, or a
dispute over contract terms, our certified practitioners will help you move forward by creating
productive and healthy conversations.
Partner with local county agencies that enforce county ordinances related to the concerns, if
applicable. Feel free to contact the Fairfax County Homeowners’ and Condominium Association
Liaison at 703-324-3218 for guidance and referrals.