Problems with HOA management companies can range from minor inconveniences to impending signs of management failure. When you start seeing a pattern with HOA management complaints, it’s time to take a closer look. Here’s how to tell if HOA management problems are fixable, or if it’s time to seek better service elsewhere.
Top Problems with HOA Management Companies That You Should Avoid
Does an HOA need a management company? In many cases, the answer is yes. However, when looking for an HOA management company, it’s important to consider the capabilities of your potential candidates. Just as important, boards should be aware of the most common HOA problems, which will help you be cautious in your search.
1. Frequent HOA Manager Changes
A high turnover rate for HOA managers can significantly impact your operations. It takes a lot of time for a new HOA manager to learn the ins and outs of your association.
It’s also hard to achieve continuity because you’re starting from scratch each time there’s a new manager. Instead of focusing on community goals and objectives, the board must spend time introducing the new manager to HOA operations.
If your management company is sending a new HOA manager every couple of months or so, this could be a major red flag. It could indicate that there is instability within the management company — significant enough that long-time employees are resigning en masse. An HOA management company that is too busy handling internal conflicts may not have the manpower and resources to devote to your community.
2. Lack of Communication
Lack of communication is one of the major problems with HOA management companies. In order to get things done, the board must have clear and open communication lines with their HOA manager.
If your calls, texts, or emails are frequently met with silence, it means that your management company is not prioritizing you — or worse, they do not care. If that’s the case, it may be time to consider switching HOA management companies.
HOAs should choose a management company that can respond to queries or concerns in a timely manner. Ideally, your HOA manager should touch base with you within 24 hours. Even if they can’t immediately take action, they should at least acknowledge that they have received your message. HOA management isn’t cheap so your company shouldn’t make you feel ignored.
3. Low-Quality Vendor Services
When faced with low-quality service, the first instinct of your HOA is to blame the vendors. However, you keep receiving low-quality vendor services, there could be a deeper problem. One of the responsibilities of a management company is choosing vendors for your community.
If there are issues with their vendor selection process — such as having a poor screening process or not spending enough time vetting a service provider — it’s your association that will suffer. You might even wonder if there is something nefarious going on behind the scenes, such as a management company choosing these subpar vendors in exchange for gifts or kickbacks.
Vendor services are crucial in maintaining the appearance and operations of your association. If you keep working with low-quality vendors, the residents will lose confidence in their board. They’ll also develop a low opinion of vendors in their local area, which is unfair to the vendors who do their job well.
4. Lack of Bookkeeping
One of the major advantages of having an HOA management company is that they can take over the financial management of your association. Not all board members are familiar with accounting and bookkeeping. And so, the expertise of an HOA manager can be crucial in maintaining the financial stability of your association.
As such, HOA management companies should always have skilled bookkeepers in their roster of employees. Unfortunately, some management companies will be tempted to try and handle bookkeeping themselves to save money. This can have disastrous consequences for your HOA. Be wary if your management company is not willing to invest in a proper bookkeeper as this could lead to inaccuracies in your finances.
5. Lack of Professionalism
An HOA management company primarily interacts with board members, but they work for the entire community. As such, it’s important for HOA managers to maintain a level of professionalism when dealing with homeowners.
Many times, managers will have to deal with irate homeowners with unreasonable demands. This can be frustrating, but that doesn’t give them an excuse to be disrespectful or inconsiderate when dealing with these homeowners.
It’s your HOA manager’s job to properly handle homeowner complaints and concerns. As such, it’s important that they always remain firm but respectful. If your manager responds inappropriately, it will be harder to resolve issues.
It could even escalate the issue further — to the point that one party starts making threats or shows aggressive behaviors. If you have an HOA or condo manager that is rude to residents, consider switching to one that has a professional and friendly attitude.
6. Inability to Resolve Maintenance and Homeowner Issues
The longer that HOA complaints sit and wait, the worse it gets for the association. Residents will certainly not appreciate having to follow up on their complaints. These issues can generate friction between homeowners and the HOA board. Any unreasonable delay is like adding gasoline to the fire.
Try to get to the root of the problem. Is there a reasonable excuse for the delays? Or is your HOA manager simply not doing their job? It could also be that your management company is overbooked. They may have taken on too many clients that they can feasibly be responsible for.
If you are hiring a new management company, look into the ratio of communities that they are managing. Make sure that the number of employees is proportional to their workload. Having an understaffed management company means that your issues won’t get the attention it deserves.
7. Lack of Proper Guidance
Many self-managed HOAs look to hiring a management company due to their extensive expertise in community association management, as well as knowledge of federal, state, and local laws that govern HOAs.
Non-compliance with these regulations will lead to very costly fines or even potential litigation. As such, board members come to rely on their HOA managers.
If your HOA management company is not providing the guidance you need, it can feel like the association is just floating aimlessly or without a purpose.
Board members won’t know which steps to take. Or worse, they make decisions that lead to major consequences for the HOA. Make sure that your HOA management can provide the vital support that associations need. This will enable your board to make sound and informed decisions that will lead to success and growth.
The Value of Knowing Common Problems with HOA Management Companies
An HOA with a bad management company is just as bad as an HOA without a management company. But with the latter, at least you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Hiring an HOA management is a major investment for the association so it’s important to get your money’s worth.
Steer clear of the common problems with HOA management companies. Make sure that you find one that is capable and reliable. This will not only ensure seamless HOA operations, but you also get the assurance that HOA funds are being used properly and efficiently.
If you’re experiencing these major problems with HOA management companies, it’s time to make the switch. To aid in your search, feel free to use the HOA Management online directory to find the best HOA management companies and vendor services in your area.
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