An HOA property manager fulfills several important responsibilities that are essential to the smooth operation of a community. Whether you’re thinking of hiring a manager or becoming one, make sure to familiarize yourself with these duties ahead of time.
The Importance of an HOA Property Manager
Managing a homeowners association, especially larger ones, can come as a huge challenge. While there is an HOA board responsible for this undertaking, board members face difficulties all the time. They have personal and professional lives to juggle, which means time is usually a luxury. Board members also don’t always have the right skills needed for the job. After all, they are just volunteers.
This is where an HOA property manager comes in. Also known as a community association manager or a condo association manager, an HOA property manager essentially shoulders most of the board’s burden. But, rather than acting autonomously, the HOA manager works with the board to manage the community. It is worth noting, though, that the HOA manager is not a part of the board.
The Duties and Responsibilities of an HOA Property Manager
A homeowners association manager performs many tasks that keep the community in good condition. These include common area maintenance, invoicing and collections, homeowner and board communication, rule enforcement, vendor management, financial management and reporting, board education and assistance, risk management, and administrative duties. Let’s break each of these down below.
1. Common Area Maintenance
HOA property managers must make sure all common areas and amenities remain clean and well-maintained. This often means conducting site inspections, fielding maintenance requests, and hiring vendors when necessary. Safety is also a top priority, as a lot of things can happen to residents while using common areas. Any injuries that occur on-site could hold the association liable.
Additionally, preventive maintenance is paramount and always trumps corrective maintenance. By following a preventive maintenance schedule, managers can keep structures and equipment functional for a longer period of time. It also avoids breakdowns, which can cost the association a lot of money to repair. If there are any special projects underway, the manager also holds the responsibility of carrying out the contracts, ensuring the project remains on schedule, and making sure the HOA stays on budget.
2. Invoicing and Collections
Homeowners associations collect regular fees from homeowners as a way to fund their expenses. The HOA property manager carries the burden of sending out invoices to homeowners ahead of time and making collection efforts. This includes any collections done online and offline. The manager should also track and manage delinquencies to keep the association and its members in good standing. This could mean imposing late fees, offering payment plans, placing a lien, and initiating foreclosure proceedings.
3. Homeowner and Board Communication
Communication plays a significant role in the success of an HOA community. The HOA manager is responsible for keeping an open line of communication, whether with residents or the HOA board.
This includes sending out notices on time, facilitating the creation and distribution of newsletters, and making sure residents gain easy access to relevant information. It also means manning phone lines and email inboxes for any concerns coming from homeowners. Though, it is often better to have a website or management software that allows for a more streamlined method of communication.
4. Rule Enforcement
Every HOA manager should have a good grasp of the association’s bylaws and CC&Rs. This will allow them to enforce the rules more consistently and thoroughly. Part of the job description is to perform frequent inspections for any violations, send violation notices, and organize disciplinary hearings. Keep in mind, though, that the manager does not have the final say on these matters. Managers still have to defer to the board’s decision and implement it accordingly.
Additionally, an HOA property manager should have more than just a working knowledge of the law. That doesn’t mean they should be lawyers. But, a deep understanding of the federal and state laws that apply to HOAs is critical in ensuring the association keeps out of legal trouble. Some examples of federal laws that apply to HOAs include the Fair Housing Act and the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act.
5. Vendor Management
Homeowners associations don’t work alone. Oftentimes, it is necessary to employ outside help to carry out different functions. For instance, an HOA would need to hire a contractor to perform repairs or a landscaper for landscaping. The manager would be responsible for preparing requests for proposals (RFPs), helping the board choose a vendor, coordinating with existing vendors, and ensuring vendors do a good job.
6. Financial Management and Reporting
For many homeowners associations, financial management is the most difficult aspect of HOA management. But, an HOA manager can help with this, too. The manager would be in charge of accounting and bookkeeping. They would also prepare the monthly financial statements for the board’s review. Managers can also help the board plan and stay on budget.
Reserve studies, though, are often outside of an HOA property manager’s expertise. For that, the manager would need to hire a professional but still possess an understanding of the study itself. Other than that, an HOA manager can assist the board with tax filing.
7. Board Education and Assistance
Board members don’t always come equipped with the skills and knowledge required for successful community management. Fortunately, an HOA manager can help the board understand and implement the best practices. They can also help assess the current policies of the community and recommend any changes. After all, some boards just create policies on a whim without considering whether or not they comply with the law and the association’s governing documents. Several management companies also offer board education and training programs.
8. Risk Management
Homeowners associations assume a lot of risks, too. It is the job of the HOA manager to help mitigate these risks through careful evaluation and planning. By determining the possible risks, an HOA manager can help the board prepare for the worst-case scenario. This also means ensuring the association has the right insurance policies in place.
9. Administrative Duties
Aside from those listed above, there are several other tasks that managers have to fulfill that are more administrative in nature. These include planning and attending board meetings, contract reviews, answering homeowner concerns, emergency after-hours services, organizing events, and maintaining the community website.
The Best Choice You Can Make for Your Community
Many homeowners associations struggle with community management on a daily basis. While self-management is certainly an option, it is often best to outsource the job to an HOA property manager.
Condo Manager is the best HOA management software provider you can find. Whether you’re a self-managed HOA or an HOA management company, we have a solution for you. Call us today at 800-626-1267 or contact us online for a free demo.
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