The ‘Pareto’ Rule of HOA Life

APATHY begets silence and APATHY portends a stagnant organization. Those in the vocations of the day may apply this observation only to a corporation, a nonprofit, or a governmental division. But what about common interest developments (aka homeowner associations or HOAs)? Surely, this caveat applies here as well in TRILOGY Glen Ivy ▶ PDF

From Trilogy Glen Ivy, incorporated on October 11, 2001, one of the first common interest developments in the Temescal Valley, Inland Empire, Riverside County, CA 92883

How many residents live here?
Total dwellings = 1317

514 (est.) are dwellings with a single occupant (39% is the CA state average)
803 dwellings have two occupants, generally married couples =
1606 dual habitants +
514 single habitants =
2120 total population of Trilogy Glen Ivy (est.)

This may or may not be the actual number that only the HOA knows.

 So consider this…

 If 20% of the 2120 Trilogy residents actually voted in and became informed about HOA elections that number would equal 424 residents. The 2018 TGMA election had 471 participants, or about 10% greater than the expected 20% (as per the Pareto’ Rule), but still very close to the 20% rule.

But that enumeration may not tell the complete story.

On any given day, due to the nature of a 55+ community, the following factors may diminish (shrink) homeowner (member) participation in HOA matters:

  1. 20% of the population may well be on vacation or out-of-area (A. 424)
  2. 20% of the population left may have health reasons that prevent participation (B. 339)
  3. 20% of the population left may be home, but not able to understand the election issues well enough to be comfortable with election participation (C. 271)
  4. 20% of the population may simply be too apathetic to be engaged (C. 217)
  5. So add the numbers: 424 (A) + 339 (B) + 271 (C) + 217 (D) = 1251
  6. 2120 – 1251 = 869

So these calculations leave the HOA to consider influencing the remaining 869 homeowners who are not otherwise preoccupied or unable to be engaged. In the last election (2018), TGMA was able to get more than half (471) of this number to actually vote. Such is the reality of conducting HOA elections today. 

One other consideration? What about the number of 55+ residents in an HOA community who still work?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about 40 percent of people ages 55 and older were working or actively looking for work in 2014. That number, known as a labor force participation rate, is expected to increase fastest for the oldest segments of the population—most notably, people ages 65 to 74 and 75 and older—through 2024. In contrast, participation rates for most other age groups in the labor force aren’t projected to change much over the 2014–24 decade. 

So, if you consider that 40 percent of 2120 Trilogy residents (848) are likely to still be working, what impact might occupations, vocations, and avocations have on their attention, interest in matters HOA? It is a safe bet to believe this is a real underlying cause for what HOA managers, legal counsel, and other residents like to blame on APATHY.

The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few, or the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. … Pareto developed both concepts in the context of the distribution of income and wealth among the population.

Maybe, these statistics have some bearing on why the 2019 election for the TGMA board included the minimum number of candidates (3), all incumbents. No new candidates declared. So, truly, there is a dirth of new candidates available to run for the HOA board after the Pareto 20% principle is applied and after one calculates the number of 55+ residents (40%) still in the workplace, either full-time or part-time.

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