Being a community manager is a difficult job, and you have to wear many hats. To be successful, a good community manager must have many different skills. These are the top 10 qualities all community managers should have.
A community manager communicates with a lot of people: residents, vendors and the board. As a result, you need to have great communication skills, which allow you to articulate your thoughts and feelings clearly and without causing confusion. Continue reading →
The person assigned to run the HOA is called the property manager. However, while the job only has one title, it actually encompasses five different jobs. When you’re searching for the next property manager, ensure they have the skills to perform these five jobs. If they can’t, they won’t succeed as your association’s manager. Continue reading →
The board members of a community association make decisions. As the property manager, it’s your job to take action. This delicate balance requires proper teamwork between you and the board. Teamwork means a better HOA and a better place to live. Continue reading →
HOAs have long complained about how difficult it can be to collect delinquent fees that they are owed by homeowners who rent out their homes. In response, some states have taken action to allow HOAs to demand payment from the tenants of properties that have past due rent or fees, even though they are not technically the ones who have an agreement with the association.
While many HOAs are breathing a sigh of relief that they now have more avenues to recoup their losses and put pressure on delinquent accounts, these laws have also created a situation where the people being held responsible are technically innocent parties that have been put in the middle of a conflict they may have no control over. Despite this, some associations are resorting to booting residents’ cars, even those owned by tenants and not delinquent owners. Is this going too far? Continue reading →
“Due diligence” is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot, and most people at least have a vague understanding of what it means. But many times, an HOA doesn’t actually follow through with all of the steps that make up proper due diligence. Sometimes this is out of ignorance, sometimes it’s just out of convenience, but not following through on taking all the necessary precautions before entering a contract or making a hire can have disastrous consequences.
What is Due Diligence
Due diligence is, of course, the proper investigation of a person or business before entering into a contract or partnership with them. It’s an important part of successful business operations, especially those of an HOA. Because an association’s business is managing a community where people live, making poor decisions thanks to not doing the proper amount of research can have serious effects on people’s homes and lives.
Steps for Due Diligence for HOA
So what steps should an HOA take to make sure that it is performing its proper due diligence? The following steps are some of the basic requirements:
Don’t just hire a contractor based on a recommendation. Even if the recommendation comes from someone you believe to be trustworthy, their word is not enough ensure that a contractor is fit for the job. It is a good starting point, but it’s not the end of the process. Look into consumer reports, check that the contractor has the proper permits, and also make sure that they have experience in the job for which you are hiring them.
If you need to hire a lawyer, find one who specializes in the area of law for the specific issue with which they will be dealing. There are a lot of areas of law, and specializing in the specific areas that a case involves will give the lawyer you hire a much greater chance of getting you a successful outcome.
Get references from other associations or homeowners. The best way to know whether or not a lawyer, contractor, accountant, or other person your HOA is getting ready to partner with is a good match is to talk with the people they’ve worked with before. If their previous clients have nothing but horror stories or found them hard to work with, it’s best to find someone else. Remember, you don’t have to settle for the first person you find.
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How an HOA should handle security is a very touchy issue. Which security measures should be taken, who is responsible for implementing them, and how those decisions can leave a community association vulnerable are all important matters that need to be taken up. While this post does not have all the answers, it is a starting guide for which security-related questions need to be asked first, and how to approach them. Continue reading →
One of the greatest things about living in an HOA is that many of them have their own security that monitors and protects the community. Safety is something that everyone values, and many people gladly pay the extra fees and costs associated with homeowners associations to get it. Continue reading →
People like to complain about rules. It’s in our nature. Rules placed on us that are at most inconvenient, or a little unfair, turn into grave injustices in our own minds. If you live in an HOA, it’s likely that you’ve either been warned about a rules violation, or have a neighbor who has. In the unlikely event that everyone in your neighborhood obeys all the rules, it’s at least likely that you’ve grumbled to one another about one or two that feel particularly ridiculous.
As bad as we like to imagine we have it, some HOAs take rules above and beyond “inconvenient” into “absurd.” Below the break, we’ve got a list of some of the most absurd rules that HOAs have fined or punished residents for breaking.
Craziest Rules Violations Ever
In the unlikely event that a plane crashes into your neighbor’s house and kills his wife and infant child, you’d have some sympathy, right? A man in Florida found himself in this situation, and discovered that his HOA was quick to take action after the accident … by slapping him with a rules violation because the shingles didn’t match while he repaired his roof.
If you live in Florida, you know that hurricane shutters are an absolute necessity for protecting homes during storms. Apparently, a few HOA boards didn’t get the memo on that one; several of them classify hurricane shutters as “eyesores” and will fine residents for having them on their houses.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. In the case of one retirement community, it turns out it takes a village to drive a child away. After an elderly couple’s drug addicted daughter was ruled unfit to care for their six-year-old grandchild, the couple took the young girl in since she had nowhere to go. Their retirement community responded to this act of kindness by trying to force the girl out, and then by suing the grandparents when they couldn’t sell their home fast enough.
Still Think Your HOA’s Rules Are Bad?
Unless you’re unfortunate enough to live in one of the communities mentioned above, you’re probably feeling a bit better about the HOA where you live. For those poor souls stuck in those neighborhoods, let’s hope those HOAs aren’t also the same ones that sue their residents for posting “For Sale” signs in their yards.
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While laws vary state by state, there is a general rule that an HOA can set restrictions on who may or may not serve as a board member. As long as the restrictions do not discriminate by race, class, gender, etc. and are applied equally to all candidates and members, it is perfectly within an HOA’s rights to formally adopt its own set of rules preventing certain people from being able to serve on the board. Continue reading →
In May of this year, the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) was ordered on appeal to pay a Florida community association nearly $100,000 plus costs and attorney’s fees. The ruling stems from a suit involving a foreclosed condo, past due association fees, and how the mortgage giant came into possession of the property. Continue reading →