Many homeowners associations rely on the services of an HOA management company to function smoothly. Unfortunately, there are some communities that experience bad management. So, how can you know if you have a successful HOA management in your community?
Homeowners associations can be hard to run, especially since boards usually consist of volunteer members from the community. That means board members, like you, have other priorities in mind. More often than not, to keep the association running effectively, HOA boards turn to management companies. These HOA management companies do most of the grunt work, with your board acting in a more supervisory capacity.
As an HOA leader, you naturally want the best for your community. So, how do you know if the HOA management company you hired is doing its job right? Here is how you can tell if you have a successful HOA management running your community.
During the interview process, companies will usually say what you want to hear to get you to hire them. But, not all of them actually deliver on their promises. A successful HOA management company does.
To know whether your HOA management company checks this box, revisit your management contract. Under the services section, see whether they have so far been able to deliver the items outlined. But, beyond a simple yes or no, it is important to evaluate the actual services. Does the company deliver these services in a timely manner? Are they top-quality services?
Aside from the concrete services detailed in the contract, recall your interview with them. Did they fulfill the promises and guarantees they gave? Some promises may not appear in the contract. As such, it is important to make it a habit to document even your interviews.
Many homeowners associations hire HOA management companies to help them with various compliance issues. Whether that has to do with legal requirements, taxes, etc. There is an abundance of laws — federal, state, and local — that HOAs must keep up with. And these laws seem to grow in number on a regular basis. A successful HOA management company stays up-to-date on these laws and best practices.
Let’s face it. Volunteer board members simply lack the time or expertise to constantly consume new legal information. That is why a lot of associations seek professional help. If your management company is never on top of current and new laws, then it is time to reconsider renewing your contract with them.
Your HOA management company should also work to educate you and your fellow board members on the best management practices. Not every HOA board member has a background in managing a community, and the management company can’t do everything. Your board must still play an active role and oversee the company’s work. A successful HOA community is one headed by competent leaders.
When choosing whether to stay with an HOA management company or not, consider how they handle liability. A good company does not expose its HOA to liability. Instead, it protects them from liability. Generally, there are three threats your community could face:
Any successful HOA management company is aware of these threats and should work to shield your community from them. For insurance, your management company must regularly and carefully assess the association’s policies. If your policies are up for renewal, the company must let your board know. Similarly, if they come across expired or lapsed insurance, the company must notify your board immediately. Additionally, the company itself must have adequate liability insurance.
When it comes to contractors, your management company must carefully review candidates before hiring. They must make sure the contractor you choose has an up-to-date license. In addition, they must have proper insurance, such as liability insurance and worker’s comp.
As for fraud, many HOAs have unfortunately fallen victim to it. There are a number of fraud types, from embezzlement to simple bribery. A successful HOA management company actively works to prevent such cases. That means requiring two board member signatures on checks and maintaining transparency at all times.
A good board member always prioritizes the community’s best interests, so your management company should, too. You know your association is in capable hands when your management company does not try to control the board.
A management company is there to offer support, not to make all the decisions. Your management company can weigh in on association matters like vendor contracts and bids, but it can’t make the final say. Ultimately, your board should still retain that right.
Ethics is also a big issue for many, as some associations engage in not-so-ethical governance and activities. A good management company will refuse to participate in such acts. When you have an honest management company, you can have a successful community.
An HOA management company may provide your community with a lot of help, but that does not give it the excuse to treat homeowners with disrespect. A good HOA management company maintains professionalism at all times. If you find that your management company does not fit this criterion, then it is time to take action.
You can start by filing a complaint with the company itself. If that does not work, consider making a switch. You can also consult an attorney about possible legal action if the company committed a grave action. For instance, if the HOA manager discriminates against a homeowner, that may be grounds for a lawsuit.
Choose an HOA management company that possesses all of these qualities. And, if you already have one, you can measure how good they are by these identifiers. Remember that a community is only as good as who runs it. A successful HOA management company will deliver on its promises, stay updated, protect you from liability, have your best interest in mind, and maintain professionalism.