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HOA Vendors: How To Select Vendors And End Contracts?

Choosing the right HOA vendors is vital to the community’s well-being. But, it can be hard to pick a contractor with the right experience and skills the community needs. Let’s take a look at the selection process to help your HOA choose a fitting vendor.


What Are HOA Vendors For?

Condo and homeowners associations exist to maintain property values and boost the community’s quality of life. To do this, they must hire vendors to maintain the neighborhood’s common areas and keep it aesthetically pleasing. The right vendors can keep facilities and amenities clean and in good condition.


What HOA Vendors Do Communities Need?

It takes a lot to run a planned community. As such, there are several HOA vendors communities need to hire. These include but are not limited to the following:


  • Landscaping Vendors. These vendors cover landscaping needs like caring for the lawn and outdoor facilities. It can also include the maintenance of sports surfaces and artificial grass.
  • Developers, Builders, and Engineers. These vendors can help HOAs with large repairs and projects.
  • Commercial Painting. These vendors paint and repair building interiors and exteriors.
  • hoa vendor request for proposalFencing, Entrances, and Security Services. These vendors help monitor and improve the community’s security.
  • Financial Management and Accounting. These contractors help HOAs with bookkeeping, budgeting, and other financial management tasks.
  • Collections and Legal Services. HOA vendors can assist associations with collecting HOA fees, outstanding dues, and closing fees.
  • Debris Removal and Tree Service. These contractors help clear fallen trees, remove debris, and prune mature trees.
  • Plumbing and Backflow Testing. These maintenance vendors repair and maintain drainage and plumbing systems.
  • Pressure Washing. These maintenance vendors clean and prepare exterior surfaces.
  • Gutter and Roofing Services. These maintenance vendors replace and replace gutter and roof systems.
  • HVAC Services. These maintenance contractors maintain, repair, and install heating, cooling, and insulation systems.
  • Waterproofing and Pool Services. These maintenance vendors repair and maintain pool systems and winterize them.
  • Snow Removal. These services clear walkways and roads of accumulated hail or snow.
  • Towing. These services tow stalled cars and clear accident sites.


These are but a few services a homeowners association might hire. Depending on the community’s needs, there are many more, like masonry and phone answering services.


Which Is Better: Employees or Independent Contractors?

Associations have two options when it comes to hiring help. They can choose between hiring a regular employee or an independent contractor. Full-time workers receive a regular salary and fulfill their tasks daily. For example, a self-managed HOA may want to hire an HOA manager or maintenance person full-time. Meanwhile, independent contractors are better at fulfilling large-scale tasks and projects.

Regular employees are often good for fulfilling smaller roles that require ongoing attention. But, they do have their disadvantages. That’s because employees get sick and need vacation days. In these scenarios, the HOA must temporarily hire part-time workers or contractors to fill the role.

Moreover, employees are slightly more complex to work with as the HOA must verify their legal residency. HOAs must also find good referrals and conduct background checks. As a result of these many caveats, communities often prefer to hire independent contractors over employees.

Independent contractors are what most people think of when talking about HOA vendors. HOAs prefer these over employees because they have niche skills and years of industry experience. They are also licensed, insured and are less likely to become liabilities to the association.

Moreover, they’re not as complicated to hire as less paperwork is needed. HOAs only need to provide form 1099 to the vendor. They also do not need to report their status or activities as much to the IRS. Some examples of independent contractors include landscapers, roofers, and HOA attorneys.


How to Hire HOA Contractors

Communities should not randomly hand out an HOA vendor request for proposal to every contractor they find. That’s because doing so can confuse the HOA board and give them too many proposals to sift through. Instead, HOAs should carefully consider various factors to choose the right vendor.


1. Keep It in Writing

Contracts should never be verbal. Instead, HOAs should carefully draft and review contracts when choosing a vendor. All of the terms, including the work to be performed, its duration, and the price, must be written in an agreement. This will eliminate confusion and discrepancies between the vendor and HOA.


2. Obtain Vendor Bids

Homeowners associations should obtain at least three vendor bids from third-party contractors. This allows the HOA to compare the terms and choose the vendor that offers the right price and services. It gives the association a good idea of the value these services provide.

Moreover, multiple states have laws that require HOAs to receive more than one bid. Hence, it’s generally better to obtain multiple bids. Otherwise, the HOA may risk breaking their local laws.


3. Review Each Bid

HOA vendors may be tempted to add various beneficial services to their unnecessary proposals. Hence, it’s important to review each bid and ensure the offering matches your request. If the bid has extra services that the HOA may need later on, ask the vendor to provide a separate bid for them. Moreover, ask if the bid expires so the HOA board can deliberate further.


4. Ask for References

HOAs should ask the vendor for references from past clients. This can help the association understand what kind of experience the vendor provides. It’s also a good idea to ask for before-and-after photo references of past projects. These may help the homeowners association see what kind of output they can expect. Finally, HOAs can also look at online reviews left by past customers.


5. Verify Credentials, Insurance, and Licenses

hoa contractorsReliable vendors will usually provide licensing and bonding proof to reassure their clients. Otherwise, homeowners associations should ask for these documents to prove that the vendor is qualified. This is crucial as credentials may determine how well the vendor performs. Moreover, it’s especially important for tasks that require technical skills, such as property development or engineering.

Apart from this, HOAs should also prioritize organization and transparency. Remember to keep all the documentation you receive from rejected bids. That’s because these will prove the association’s due diligence in fulfilling its fiduciary duty to maintain the community.


6. Choose the Right Price

HOAs often fall into the trap of simply settling for the lowest bidder, but this would be a mistake as the lowest price doesn’t guarantee the best quality. Instead, homeowners associations should choose bids that offer the best value for the money. The best one may be the cheapest or most expensive. However, the best value bid is usually somewhere in the middle.


7. Schedule a Meeting

Once the HOA has narrowed down its options, it’s time to schedule a meeting. This is especially crucial for new vendors the community has never worked with. Moreover, it’s important for larger tasks and projects.

Pay attention to how the vendor’s staff carries themselves during the meeting. You want vendors that are forthcoming, punctual, and professional. They should also be ready with all the licenses, references, and insurance you requested.


How to End HOA Vendor Contracts

Homeowners associations may want to end vendor relationships that don’t work well, so how should they go about this? Here are some things to keep in mind.


1. Talk to the Contractor

HOAs usually develop long-term relationships with their vendors. But, the relationship may deteriorate when vendors fail to perform their duties. It can also go south when they miss deadlines, unexpectedly issue change orders, or do a poor job.

If the HOA has a long-standing relationship, it’s best to communicate with the vendor first. They might simply be undergoing financial difficulties or management changes. Both parties may be able to work out an agreement. This should be the first course of action to maintain vendor relationships.


2. Withhold Full Payment

Most contracts allow the homeowners association to withhold the final progress payment when the work is incomplete. This should prompt the vendor to complete their unfinished work. Once the work is completed, the board can finally assess the output before releasing the payment.

That said, HOAs should refrain from rehiring vendors that leave unfinished work. These vendors have already shown you how poorly they perform and how little they value the relationship. More often than not, it’s best to move on and find a new contractor.


3. Check the Contract Terms

form 1099When a vendor performs poorly and cannot be negotiated with, HOAs may want to terminate the agreement. But, are homeowners associations allowed to end vendor contracts for poor performance? Can they fire a vendor for a botched job?

It depends on the contract terms. HOAs should review the agreement and its provisions for termination. Some contracts allow termination due to poor performance. However, some do allow for termination without cause as long as there is a 30-day notice.

It’s also important to review the contract with an attorney. Otherwise, the HOA may end contracts illegally and have to face a lawsuit. Once reviewed with an attorney, the HOA can end the agreement according to the contract’s terms.


4. Document the Contractor’s Work

It can be hard to terminate a contract without mutual consent. The vendor may even sue the HOA for breach of contract. Hence, it’s important to document the vendor’s poor performance while the contract is ongoing. Document everything with photos and videos. Moreover, keep track of the dates, times, and staff involved. The HOA can use this as evidence during the lawsuit.


Choose HOA Vendors Wisely

Finding good HOA vendors can be tricky, and it’s certainly worth the effort. A reliable vendor can timely deliver high-quality work to homeowners associations. They’re invaluable to the community’s operations. Moreover, hiring the right vendor from the start can help the HOA avoid problems and potential lawsuits.

Condo Manager offers automated HOA management systems to HOA management companies, condo associations, and homeowners associations. Call us at 800-626-1267 or contact us online today for a free demo!



9 Advantages Of Hiring HOA Security

Security is a primary concern for many homeowners associations. But, is hiring HOA security guards or companies even worth the investment?


Top Reasons to Hire HOA Security Guards

One of the chief considerations many homebuyers make before purchasing a home is security, especially if the home is located within a community association or subdivision. Even after the homebuying process, though, security remains important. The residents of an HOA community deserve to feel safe in their own neighborhoods. And, when security starts to lax, residents will surely bring the issue to the HOA board.

If an HOA wishes to beef up its security, hiring a security company or security guards is a good place to start. Here are the benefits of employing HOA security guards.


1. Maintain Exclusivity

Gated communities manage to preserve property values and maintain appeal through exclusivity. But, it is also a way of protecting the people who live within the community. By screening visitors and keeping non-residents out, the community can remain exclusive.

Even if a community isn’t gated, though, security guards remain a useful investment. Homeowners associations typically have common areas and amenities that are only available to members. Associations can post security guards outside of these areas, and they can screen people who enter the facilities. They can disallow entrance to outsiders and keep residents safe.


2. Deter Crime

homeowners association securityDid you know that more than 1 million home burglaries happen in the United States every year? With break-ins and theft such a big problem for homeowners, security guards are well worth the money.

When you post security guards at entrances and exits, you can help deter crime in the community. This includes break-ins, theft, and even vandalism. A lower crime rate within the neighborhood can help boost property values and keep residents feeling safe. If crime is a big issue for your HOA, hiring security guards or a security firm can improve homeowners association security.


3. Minimize Parking Violations

Parking and traffic violations are not always easy to spot. This is because these rule violations require a keen eye and actual time spent outside. In that sense, security guards are perfect for the job. One of the HOA security responsibilities they can perform is to look out for any traffic or parking rule violations. The offender may not feel too good about receiving a notice of violation or being slapped with a fine. But, it will help your HOA board consistently enforce the rules and minimize future violations.


4. Liaise With Law Enforcement

It is imperative for every homeowners association to maintain a healthy relationship with local law enforcement. After all, not all problems can be resolved in-house. There are some things, such as crime reports and issues of domestic violence, that require police intervention.

HOA security companies can act as the first responder. When a security guard receives a crime report, they can refer the issue to the local police department. Essentially, security guards can act as the liaison between the homeowners association and the law enforcement agency.


5. Patrol

hoa security guardsSecurity guards are not omnipresent beings. They are usually posted to a specific area and given responsibilities to fulfill. But, when you hire a security company, they can also supply guards who can conduct regular patrols. Foot and vehicle patrols are great because they can help identify crime and rule violations as they occur. An HOA security patrol also works to ensure the community remains a safe place to live in, as residents tend to feel more secure when there are trained professionals watching over the neighborhood.


6. Assist Guests

Gated HOA communities are only usually open to members of the association. But, it is not uncommon for residents to receive guests and visitors, especially during the holiday season when parties occur more frequently.

When guests visit the HOA community, security guards can meet them at the gate. Guards can provide them with a gate pass that will grant them entry into the community. They can also educate guests on where they can park and offer directions to their destination. Additionally, guards can keep a physical record of guests’ names, making it easier to use as a reference in case the need arises.


7. Monitor Security Cameras

It is normal for an HOA to install security cameras in common areas. But, depending on the make and model, these security cameras aren’t always advanced enough to alert board members when an altercation is happening in real-time. For full effect, your HOA security will still need a human touch. This is where security guards come in.

Security guards can monitor surveillance cameras while on duty. They can spot crime and other unwanted activity from afar and then either respond to it or pass it on to management. Just make sure the security cameras in your HOA community don’t infringe on privacy laws.


8. Round-the-Clock Safety

hoa securityThe great thing about hiring security guards is that you can post them 24/7. Security firms offer different packages, with shifting schedules allowing for round-the-clock safety and patrolling. While it is true that people tend to feel more uncomfortable under the cloak of darkness, there are plenty of things that can happen in the daytime, too. In fact, almost half a million home burglaries occur during the day because thieves think people aren’t at home during this time.


9. Professional Training

Although an HOA can theoretically rely on volunteers to conduct neighborhood watches, volunteers are far from experts. Security guards are trained and licensed professionals. They know exactly what to do and how to respond when faced with different scenarios. Residents are also more likely to listen to security guards than their neighbors.


Taking the Right Steps

Many homeowners associations struggle with improving HOA security in their communities. But, by hiring security guards and installing security cameras, HOAs can take one step closer to ensuring the safety of residents.

Managing a homeowners association poses several challenges, whether for HOA boards or for HOA management companies. Simplify your life with the help of management software from Condo Manager. Call us today at (800) 626-1267 or contact us online for a free demo of our product.



HOA Master Insurance Policy: How Does It Protect An HOA?

One thing that every homeowners association should have is comprehensive insurance coverage. Insurance, of course, comes in several forms, though one of the most important is an HOA master insurance policy.


Understanding an HOA Master Insurance Policy

A homeowners association master policy, often referred to as simply HOA insurance, is a form of insurance designed to protect HOAs. Standard master insurance policies typically cover two things:

  • Property damage to any structures or shared spaces that the HOA owns; and,
  • Liability expenses that the HOA is responsible for, including if a guest becomes injured in a common area.

This type of policy differs from homeowners insurance in that it covers things owned by the association itself. Individual homeowners or condo owners will generally still need to purchase their own insurance to cover their personal residence and belongings.

An HOA master policy is essential to homeowners associations because it offers financial protection. For instance, if a guest slips and gets injured on HOA property, insurance can cover the cost of the guest’s medical expenses. If that guest decides to sue the association, the HOA will not need to tap into its own funds. Instead, the master policy can pay for the cost of legal fees and attorney’s fees as well as any monetary damages the HOA is ordered to pay (if any).

Similarly, if an HOA building becomes damaged due to a covered peril, a master policy can cover the cost of repairs or replacement. This means HOAs won’t have to use their own funds or levy special assessments to pay for the expenses.


Types of HOA Master Insurance Policy

There are three kinds of HOA master policies: bare walls in coverage, single entity coverage, and all-in coverage. Let’s break them down further below.


1. Bare Walls in Coverage

As its name suggests, a Bare Walls in Coverage policy provides bare minimum protections. This policy usually only covers the structure of the building, specifically the drywall, insulation, and studs.


2. Single Entity Coverage

A Single Entity Coverage policy includes the same protections as a Bare Walls in Coverage policy but with additional protection for the interior structure. It can also extend to the outside of the walls, top flooring, bathroom fixtures, and cabinets. Other names for this type of master policy include walls in coverage and studs in coverage.


3. All-In Coverage

The third type of master policy, the All-In Coverage policy, is the most comprehensive. It offers the same protections as the single entity coverage policy but takes things up a notch by covering built-in appliances as well. An all-in coverage policy can also cover unit improvements and modifications.


Who Pays for HOA Insurance?

master insurance policy for homeowners associationWhile the homeowners association technically pays for HOA insurance, the funds really come from the owners. Homeowners have an obligation to pay regular dues or fees to the association as determined by the annual budget. This budget includes projections for insurance premiums, including premiums for the HOA master insurance policy. Because homeowners share the use of common areas, it makes sense for homeowners to share the expenses needed to maintain these areas as well.


How to Get HOA Master Insurance Policy

Taking out a master insurance policy may seem easy on paper, but there are a few things that go into it that not many people know. Whether you’re on the board of your HOA or are involved in HOA management in any way, here are the steps for getting a master insurance policy for homeowners associations.


1. Determine Needs and Budget

First of all, it is important to assess the needs of the association. What type of coverage is the HOA looking for? Obviously, a more comprehensive policy will cost more, but it does offer better protection. Conversely, some board members or managers might feel tempted to save a buck and go for the cheapest option. This will not bode well for the HOA, though, once a risk occurs and it is not covered by the association’s insurance.


2. Scope Out the Market

Once you have determined your needs and set a budget, it is time to examine your options. Don’t be afraid to shop around for a good deal. You can search online for the best insurance providers or ask around for recommendations. Again, cheap does not always mean good, and an insurance provider’s low prices can very well reflect the quality of their service.


3. Ask for a Quotation

Reach out to your list of prospects and ask them to provide you with a quotation. Make sure to let them know what type of coverage you want for the HOA, the target coverage limit, and your budget. Providers will be able to come up with a proposal with these details in mind. But, make sure to standardize your request for a proposal so that you can compare apples to apples.


4. Check Reviews and References

Cost is not the only thing you should take into account when searching for an insurance provider. Some may offer great deals but fail miserably when it comes to customer service. Be sure to do some research and check the company’s reviews. If they have any references to give you, contact them as well. Ask about the provider’s claims process and if clients had any negative experience whatsoever.


5. Evaluate Yearly

Insurance is not something you can just set and leave behind. As an HOA community grows and evolves, its insurance needs may change. And you don’t want to be stuck with inadequate coverage. Therefore, make sure to review your insurance needs and policies every year. The process should include re-evaluating your needs as well as your insurance provider. If your provider has not performed well, don’t hesitate to make a switch.


What Other HOA Insurance Policy Should You Get?

Besides an HOA master insurance policy, there are other types of coverage all homeowners associations should have.

  • how to get hoa master insurance policyProperty Value and Replacement. Buildings that belong to the HOA must be insured for the property’s full replacement cost. There are three building ordinance coverages: contingent liability (coverage A), demolition (coverage B), and cost of construction (coverage C).
  • D&O Insurance. Another essential form of HOA insurance coverage is D&O insurance. This applies to directors and officers and provides coverage for indemnity, defense costs, liability claims, and errors.
  • Workers’ Comp. Whether your HOA employs workers or not, workers’ comp is vital. It can cover the employees of vendors and contractors as well as volunteers in the event they are injured on the job.
  • Crime and Fidelity. This type of insurance protects the actual money in the association’s operating and reserve accounts. It covers check fraud, false invoices, embezzling, wire fraud, and computer fraud.


A Lesson to Be Learned

Insurance is something that no homeowners association should ever go without. One of the most important types is an HOA master insurance policy, which offers coverage for property damage and liability expenses. If an HOA does not have proper or sufficient coverage, it will, without a doubt, eventually find itself in financial trouble.

Tracking your insurance policies can be hard, especially if you’re doing it manually. Automate your process and know when your insurance has expired with the help of Condo Manager. Call us today at 800-626-1267 or contact us online for a free demo.



Community Association Management: Frequently Asked Questions

Community association management — a lot of people come across this term but don’t quite understand what it means and what it entails. If you want to find out, keep on reading.


What Is Community Association Management?

Community association management is the process of overseeing and governing a community association and its operations. Community associations can come in many forms, including homeowners associations and condo associations. Typically, a set of governing documents dictates how a community must be managed. This includes stipulations on how much to charge in association dues, what obligations homeowners have, and what authorities the community association possesses.

Additionally, many states have enacted their own laws that govern community associations. North Carolina, for instance, has the North Carolina Planned Community Act as well as the North Carolina Condominium Act. California, on the other hand, has the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act.

Aside from community association-specific laws, there are also corporation laws that broadly apply to these organizations. In a lot of states, community associations are formed and recognized as corporations and must, therefore, abide by the corporation acts that govern them. To use the two states above as examples, these include the North Carolina Nonprofit Corporation Act and the California Corporations Code.


Frequently Asked Questions About Community Association Management


What Does Community Association Management Involve?

Managing a community involves performing numerous tasks that facilitate the smooth operations of the association. These tasks include but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Preparing the annual budget
  • Calculating and collecting association dues
  • Maintaining the association’s reserve fund (if applicable)
  • Preparing and presenting financial reports to the membership
  • Enforcing the covenants and rules of the association
  • association managementReviewing and amending the governing documents
  • Holding board meetings and annual membership meetings
  • Signing off on projects and initiatives
  • Soliciting bids as well as hiring vendors and contractors to complete various jobs
  • Managing payables
  • Conduct frequent inspections of the community’s common areas and elements
  • Maintaining the common areas of the community
  • Ensuring repairs for any damaged common areas
  • Communicate with homeowners, including sending out notices and making announcements
  • Tracking maintenance requests
  • Purchasing and updating insurance policies for the association
  • Planning and executing community events
  • Ensuring the association remains in compliance with changing laws

Tasks generally depend on a few factors, including the type of community association, the extent and nature of its common areas or amenities, and the size of its membership. Smaller communities with only a handful of common spaces to maintain typically don’t require as much work as larger ones with more comprehensive facilities.


Who Is Responsible for Community Association Management?

Community associations are generally managed by a set of board members collectively known as an HOA or condo board. Typically, board members fulfill different roles, such as a president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. These board members are responsible for maintaining the community, i.e. fulfilling all of the duties listed above. More often than not, board members receive their designation by running for open seats and getting elected into office. Board members are volunteers, which means they are not paid and must still pay association dues like everyone else.

Because there are only a select number of board members and countless responsibilities to juggle, associations also typically set up committees. Committees are formed either perpetually or on an ad hoc basis. Each committee performs a specific function. For example, an Architectural Control Committee reviews requests for architectural changes and enforces the community’s architectural standards. A social committee, on the other hand, is tasked with planning events and functions as well as welcoming new homeowners into the community.

Many community associations also seek professional help in the form of a community association manager or management company. Professional managers essentially assume most of the responsibilities of board members. These include dues collection, homeowner communication, service request tracking, vendor management, and other duties listed above. Managers or management companies can also provide assistance with tax filings and legal matters as well as advise the board on decisions.


Do Community Association Managers Need a License?

It depends on the state you live in. Currently, eight states and the District of Columbia require managers to carry a community association management license. These are Alaska, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, and Virginia. There are different certifications as well, such as Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM) and Accredited Association Management Company (AAMC).


How Much Do Professional Community Association Management Services Cost?

The cost of hiring a community association management company can vary depending on a few factors. These include the size of the community, the location of the community, the cost of living in the area, and the nature of a community’s amenities. The company you ultimately choose can also have an effect, as companies can charge different rates. On average, though, associations can expect to pay somewhere between $10 to $20 per unit every month.


Are Community Association Managers on the Board of an HOA?

No, community association managers are generally not part of the HOA or condo board. They are a separate entity whose role is to make the job of board members easier by shouldering most of the burden of community management. Managers should not make important decisions for the community. They can merely advise board members, who reserve the ability to make a final decision.


Do All Communities Need a Manager?

community association management servicesCommunity associations come in different shapes and forms. Whether or not an association needs the help of a professional manager will depend on its unique situation. There are many communities that get by just fine with self-management. But then, there are also many that require expert assistance.

Generally, hiring a manager is the best option if the HOA or condo board is inexperienced. Community management demands a certain level of skill and expertise, particularly when it comes to accounting and financial management. As such, if there is no one on the board who is well-versed in this field, it is a good idea to hire a manager. Many boards also lack sufficient time to manage the community. After all, board members are just volunteers who have their own personal responsibilities to deal with.


Community Association Management Made Easy

As you can see, community association management is not something all boards can accomplish alone. If hiring a professional manager or company is not in the cards, consider investing in management software instead. A community management software can automate many tasks and generally make the job easier. The software also comes with built-in tracking capabilities, allowing for more seamless and accurate reporting.

If you need reliable management software, look to Condo Manager. Call us today at 800-626-1267 or contact us online for a free demo.



11 HOA New Year’s Eve Party Ideas For The Community

A new year marks the beginning of a new chapter, which is why cultures around the world celebrate the momentous occasion. For homeowners associations, it is a chance to bring residents together. If you’re running out of HOA New Year’s Eve party ideas, you’ve come to the right place.


Welcome 2022 With These HOA New Year’s Eve Party Ideas

The holiday season is the perfect time for people to relax and enjoy quality time with their loved ones. For many others, though, it is a time to celebrate and let loose. After a physically and mentally exhausting year for homeowners associations, a celebration is certainly deserved.

One of the challenges of planning an HOA New Year’s Eve party, though, is coming up with ideas. From party themes and favors to activities and costumes, here are some of the best ideas for New Year’s Eve events.


1. Livestream the Ball Drop

The Times Square Ball Drop is a headline event that attracts at least a million attendees every year. But, for those who can’t make it in person, the event is televised on a national scale. As a way to bring the community together, consider counting down to the new year by streaming the ball drop at the community clubhouse. The HOA can organize the event, serve simple snacks and drinks, and show the ball drop through a screen or projector.


2. Stick to a Simple Dance Party

HOA new year's eve party ideasWho says HOA New Year’s Eve party ideas need to be complicated and fresh? Even a modest dance party can do wonders for community spirit. The great thing about a dance party is that it caters to all ages. Kids, adults, and elderly residents alike can participate and have fun. Add some refreshments, a few snacks, and perhaps even a disco ball, and you’ve got yourself a banger!


3. Countdown With a Movie Marathon

Parties don’t have to be physically engaging. Homeowners associations can keep it simple by organizing a movie marathon that ends at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Guests can bring their own snacks and beverages or the HOA can provide them for a fee. Some of the best movies to watch this holiday season include “About A Boy,” “Sleepless In Seattle,” “Love Actually,” and, of course, the star-studded “New Year’s Eve.”


4. Bring Vegas to Your Community

In need of HOA New Year’s Eve party ideas for adults? Bring out the poker sets and blackjack tables — it’s Vegas night!

To plan a Vegas-themed New Year’s Eve party, an HOA will need a space big enough to accommodate card tables and guests. The community clubhouse will usually suffice. It may also be necessary to rent gaming tables, though a DIY approach is also possible. Of course, it is a good idea to play with fake money for legal reasons.


5. Get Started With a Workout Party

The two most popular New Year’s resolutions for Americans this year are to improve their fitness and to lose weight. Homeowners associations can encourage residents to get a head start on their resolutions by counting down with fitness classes. This one is relatively easy to set up if the HOA already has a gym or fitness center. Though, classes can also take place in other common spaces. Some of the best community workouts to organize include aerial silks, cycling, restorative yoga, and dance classes.


6. Get Fancy With a Masquerade Ball

HOA new year eve party games ideasTransformation is a key element of New Year’s celebrations, so it makes sense to plan a masquerade ball. To attend, guests must wear masks and formal attire.

Associations can also provide masks at the venue to take the burden off of residents. With a masquerade ball, HOAs can encourage residents to tap into their mysterious sides. For an extra dash of adventure, count down to midnight with a New Year’s Eve kiss before asking guests to take their masks off.


7. Get Competitive With Games

Parties are more fun with games, so associations can consider planning a game night instead. Residents can bring their own board or card games from home to share with everyone else. Alternatively, the HOA’s social events committee can organize party games ahead of time and even offer a prize for the night’s ultimate winner. Gift checks to local shops and restaurants work great, though cash prizes are fine, too.

Some of the best HOA New Year Eve party games ideas include:

  • Musical chairs
  • Charades
  • Pictionary
  • Heads up
  • React and act


8. Have a Bubble-Themed Night

One of the more unique HOA New Year’s Even party ideas is a bubble-themed night. To throw such a party, HOAs can decorate the venue with balloons and streamers. For kids, associations can hand out bubble blowers or bubblegum to enjoy. As for refreshments, you can get creative by serving bubbly water, champagne, and even bubble tea. Then, before the night ends, the HOA can give away bubble bath bombs as party favors.


9. Stay Comfortable With a PJs Party

Sometimes, it is much easier (and more comfortable) attending a party in your jammies. Homeowners associations can change things up this year by throwing a pajama party instead of a fancy one. Guests can come sporting their favorite or most eccentric sleepwear along with comfy slippers. Decorate the venue with bedsheets and lay down pillows on the ground in place of chairs. For activities, watching a movie or telling exciting stories work great. Finally, as HOA New Year’s Eve party favors, you can hand out soft socks.


10. Have Some Fun in the Sun With an Outdoor Party

HOA new year's eve party favorsOne of the best HOA New Year’s Eve party ideas for kids is to throw a daytime party outdoors. Kids often need to be in bed by a certain time or they get sleepy before midnight.

As a way to celebrate with them without having to keep them up too late, an HOA can host an outdoor New Year’s Eve party. The party can include snacks, beverages, and games, as well as an early countdown. Aside from kids, this type of party works perfectly for the elderly and those who simply can’t be bothered to stay up until midnight.


11. Have a Virtual Party

The past two years have been wrought with uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even with vaccines available, there are still a lot of people who are afraid to go to crowded places, especially with a new variant of concern spreading. As a compromise, homeowners associations can plan a remote New Year’s Eve party instead. The party can take place on Zoom while residents stay in their respective homes. It can include games played over an online platform and end with a countdown to 2022.


Not a Dull Moment

Ringing in the new year is always more fun when done with other people. For homeowners associations, this is the perfect opportunity to spread some holiday cheer while fostering community camaraderie. Start with these excellent HOA New Year’s Eve party ideas!



HOA Holiday Planning: How To Prepare For The Holidays

The holidays are when you gather with your family, friends, and neighbors to celebrate the season. Not everyone likes the planning that usually comes with this time of the year, though. But, with the proper preparations, HOA holiday planning can be easy as pie.


A Guide to HOA Holiday Planning for Homeowners

Many people enjoy the holidays because it means attending parties and throwing ones of your own. If you plan to welcome guests into your home this year, there are some key points you should not look over. Here is your guide to holiday planning for homeowners.


1. Let Your HOA Know

If you live in an HOA community, there is a good chance you will need to inform your association of your intention to throw a party. Homeowners associations typically have strict rules when it comes to occupancy limits or guests, noise, and parking. When you have people over, it automatically increases the likelihood of parking congestion and loud noises at night.

Inform your HOA board in advance that you plan to host a party. You may need to fill out a form consisting of the details of the party, such as the time, expected number of guests, etc.


2. Follow the Community’s Rules

Again, this applies to homeowners who live in an HOA community. Your association will definitely have rules concerning parking, noise, and indecent behavior.

community rules and regulations | hoa holiday planningIf your neighborhood does not have enough parking space for guests, ask them to carpool instead. Your neighbor may also be able to lend you a parking space or two. Noise rules also likely exist in your community. This usually means no loud noises beyond a certain time, so keep the laughter and holiday music on low volume.

Make sure to sort out these issues ahead of time so that you don’t feel rushed when the date nears. Educate yourself on the community’s rules, and do your best to adhere to them. This way, you can avoid violations, which can come with hefty fines. You should also let guests know of these rules and ask them to follow them, too.


3. Clean Up

If you are throwing a holiday party at your house, you will want to make it look presentable. That means cleaning up toys, laundry, and any other knick-knacks that are lying on the ground. It is also a good idea to give your bathroom a quick wash so that it is ready for heavy use, especially if you are having a lot of guests over.

Put away anything that might limit your guests’ walkways. There should be a clear path from your front door and inside your home. This way, guests can move around freely. Don’t crowd the couch or seating area with your belongings, too. You want to make sure your guests have somewhere to sit.


4. Prioritize Kitchen Safety

The kitchen is where most of the preparation takes place when you throw a holiday party. If you are cooking a holiday feast at home, kitchen safety should come as a priority.

When cooking multiple dishes, you should stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Make sure no pot boils over and no pans burn. Keep anything flammable away from sources of fire. While Thanksgiving takes the cake for the single day when most home cooking fires occur, Christmas Day and Christmas Eve are close seconds.

Holiday dinners also usually involve the use of knives and other sharp utensils. Keep these things away from children or the inexperienced. Only those who know how to handle knives should be allowed to use them.


5. Don’t Over Serve Alcohol

Most holiday parties serve alcohol, but it is important not to serve too much. Unless you are having your guests sleep over, you should keep the alcohol to a minimum. Remember that you are not the only resident in your neighborhood. Intoxicated guests may become a nuisance to your neighbors and the association. Designated drivers should not drink either.


6. Going Out of Town? Secure Your Home

Home burglaries increase during this time of the year, as more people leave their homes to go on vacations. If you have plans outside of your home this holiday season, here are some tips to prevent break-ins:

  • install security cameras | hoa holiday planningLeave a light on inside to give the illusion of someone at home. To save on energy, install timers that turn on your lights at specific hours.
  • If you have an extra car, leave it parked in your driveway. You can also ask a neighbor to park their vehicle there instead.
  • Request a neighbor to check on your house every now and then.
  • Invest in security cameras or a home security system (or both).
  • Hire someone to house-sit.


How to Plan HOA Holiday Events for the Community

Many homeowners associations host community-wide holiday events. These events help bring neighbors closer and encourage new connections to form. If your HOA board wants to throw a holiday event or two this year, follow the steps below.


1. Gauge Interest

When it comes to HOA holiday planning, the first thing you should do is gauge interest. If no one in your community wants to attend the event, then there is no use planning it.


2. Start Early and Advertise

Once you know that people are interested in attending an HOA holiday event, you should get to work immediately. Give your board or committee enough time to plan the event. You should also start promoting the event ahead of time. This way, residents can block out their schedule early on.


3. Decide on Details

When planning a holiday event, you will need to work out the details. Decide on the date and time, the venue, and the theme (if necessary). Don’t schedule the event on a day when you know most people will be busy. This includes Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

As for the time, it will depend on the type of event you plan. Holiday parties usually happen at night, though you can schedule them earlier if you plan to invite kids. Larger events, such as carnivals, typically take place over a multi-day period. For your venue, you can hold it at your community clubhouse or open space.


4. Work Out Parking

If the venue is located far from residents’ houses, you will need to organize a parking scheme that can accommodate everyone attending. Make sure to account for extra traffic, too. On the other hand, if the venue is near, people can simply walk there.


local food festive | hoa holiday planning5. Plan for Food

Most holiday events involve food. There is simply nothing like breaking bread with your neighbors to bring the community together. For holiday parties, decide whether your HOA will organize catering or have people bring food over like a potluck. If you plan to hold a holiday carnival, you can partner with local restaurants and have them set up food booths.


6. Prepare Activities and Games

Having fun is a can’t-miss part of the equation for holiday events. For holiday parties or dinners, hold a White Elephant gift exchange. You can also organize fun games for all ages. Carnivals, on the other hand, will need larger forms of entertainment such as balloon houses and activity booths.


Balancing Holiday Planning With Community Management

When done right, HOA holiday planning can be a fun and festive time for homeowners and HOAs alike. Most associations, though, face difficulty juggling community events with other aspects of HOA management. This is where Condo Manager comes in.

Our software makes HOA management easier by automating most tasks and letting you keep up with your social calendar simultaneously. Give us a call today at (800) 626-1267 or contact us online for a free demo.



Condo Decorations Rules: Fair And Unfair Policies

Condominiums typically have strict decoration rules to preserve the aesthetics and property values of the association. But during the holiday season — where most homeowners want to express their holiday spirit — how should boards handle their condo decorations rules?


Condo Decorations Rules: A Case Against Restrictive and Unfair Policies

Those who live in condo units are well-aware of their association’s decoration rules and regulations. As stakeholders in the association, owners know that these policies are crucial to maintaining property values. However, decorating for the holidays is a classic American tradition. Seeing festive decorations is one of the best ways to get into the holiday spirit.

As such, condo associations should think twice about implementing unfair and restrictive holiday decoration policies. Here are some points to consider when creating condo decorations rules.


Prohibiting Religious Holiday Decorations

In the Novi suburb of Detroit, an HOA came under fire after it had banned a family from displaying a Nativity scene on their front lawn. The HOA was forced to apologize after receiving widespread media attention and international protests. In Chicago, a COA faced legal action after it had removed a mezuzah from a Jewish family’s doorpost. There are many more cases like these throughout the United States.

Prohibiting religious holiday decorations could open up your association with religious discrimination lawsuits based on the Fair Housing Act. In some states like Chicago and Florida, there are also laws that prohibit the ban of religious displays or symbols. Remember that your condo owners have a legal right to equality and non-discrimination.

If your association’s governing documents have rules regarding the display of religious holiday decorations, make sure that it is implemented fairly and uniformly. For instance, you cannot ban owners from having mezuzahs on their doorposts but at the same time, allow Christmas wreaths.


Defining What is Tasteful vs Obnoxious

Many condo association’s governing documents will have a provision against tacky or obnoxious holiday decorations. Owners must only stick to tasteful apartment décor ideas. However, there is no 100% true consensus on what is tasteful and obnoxious. To avoid misunderstandings and disputes regarding holiday decorations, make sure to clearly define what the association considers as tasteful and obnoxious. These should be written down in your governing documents.


Fair Policies to Include in Your Condo Decoration Rules

Need help with your condo association’s holiday decoration rules? Here are fair and reasonable policies that you can implement.


1. Establish Holiday Decoration Schedule

Some associations give owners free rein on how they decorate their units during the holiday season. However, they have strict rules on when these decorations come up and come down.

The general standard for holiday decorations is to allow them 30 days before Christmas. Then, they must be taken down within the first two weeks of the new year. For other holidays like Halloween, many associations allow owners to display decorations at least two weeks before the specific holiday and have them removed the following week.


2. Implement Aesthetic Guidelines

For associations that want to maintain uniformity during the holiday season, consider implementing aesthetic guidelines for the owners. For instance, you can decide on a specific color palette for the entire building. You can also choose neutral holiday decorations so that residents do not feel that the association is biased towards a certain religion or holiday.

Prior to the holiday season, the board can put up sample boards. The owners will then vote on which aesthetic they prefer to have for the holidays. Since it’s impossible to please every owner, having a majority vote will prevent disputes or trouble.


3. Prohibit Holiday Decorations that Create Hazards

Prohibit Holiday Decorations | condo decoration rulesHoliday decoration restrictions are fair if the reason is to promote the health and safety of the community.

For example, you can prohibit large decorations outside units as they could create tripping hazards for the other residents. You can also prohibit candles and dry Christmas trees as they create fire hazards for the condominium.

Bright, flashing lights can cause migraines and trigger seizures so the association may also want to place some restrictions on these holiday decors. Meanwhile, sound-producing decorations could become a nuisance so you can implement rules like turning them off by 8 p.m.

Make sure to consult your local fire department on which holiday decorations could be dangerous for the condo association. Communicate this clearly to the owners so that they understand why you are prohibiting certain holiday decorations.


4. Require Permission for Exterior Holiday Decorations

Condo associations have strict rules for how owners decorate exterior surfaces such as windows, balconies, decks, patios, driveways, and lawns. This is so that the building has a uniform appearance from the ground up.

If you want to give owners some leeway during the holidays — but still have control over the aesthetics of your condominium — consider having the owners submit applications to your architectural review committee. You can set up guidelines on how owners can decorate their exteriors.

Through the application process, the association can ensure that all the holiday decorations are aligned with the aesthetics of the building. Just make sure to act swiftly so that owners have enough time to decorate their units.


5. Announce Condo Decorations Rules Ahead of the Holiday Season

The condo association should announce its holiday decoration policies early. Post them in the lobby and on elevator notice boards. You can also make the announcement electronically through the HOA online portal, website, social media accounts, or email.

If owners know the condo decorations rules before they shop for the holidays, the association will see better, overall compliance. It also gives owners the chance to raise their décor-related concerns to the board. You can avoid potential liabilities and disputes by making these changes or accommodations before the start of the holiday season.


Condo Decorations Rules That Promote Unity and Equality

The holiday season isn’t the time to instigate fights or disputes with the members of your community. Everybody just wants to experience the holiday spirit. Keep this in mind when you are formulating your condo decorations rules for the upcoming holiday season. It’s still possible to promote the interests of the association without impinging on the religious and spiritual traditions of your homeowners. Consider unity and equality as your apartment essentials for the holiday season.

Want to keep homeowners informed about your condo decorations rules? Contact the Condo Manager team today! Call us at (800) 626-1267 or email us at sales@condomanagerusa.com to learn more about our association management software solutions.