As professionals who work with a number of HOA boards throughout California, we know that time and resources are rather limited for busy board members, most of whom are volunteers committed to their communities.
If you’re not already working with an HOA management company, you may find that you have more time to think about long term strategies for community improvement. You can be more available to your homeowners, and you’ll find you aren’t forgetting simple things that need to be done in the course of your work as an HOA board member.
Once you are partnered with an HOA management company, what should you have them do?
The specific scope of work will depend on the company you choose and the needs of your own community. Our experience in HOA management has allowed us to identify a handful of specific responsibilities that an HOA can immediately delegate to an HOA management company.
Taking these things off your plate will save you time and stress.
Start with Improving HOA Meetings
There’s a lot that your HOA management company can take on, but let’s start with something as simple as HOA meetings. These can consume a lot of time, especially when you are trying to organize what you’ll present as the HOA board at annual meetings.
What are the agenda items?
Instead of trying to organize all of this yourself, delegate meeting management to your property managers. When you’re working with experienced HOA managers, you’ll find your meetings are more organized and productive. Let your management company schedule the meetings, get the word out to homeowners, and follow up on action items and agenda issues.
HOA Management Companies and Resident Communication
Your HOA should be good about communication, and if you struggle to remain available and accessible to your residents, delegating the communication to your property management company makes excellent sense. You want a property manager who values responsive communication.
When everything is transparent, you earn more trust from your residents.
By delegating all routine and emergency communication to your HOA management company, you’re ensuring that correspondence and information is consistent and reliable.
One of the main reasons a lot of HOA boards partner with a management company is to improve communication. As a board, you have dozens of competing priorities, and your time is limited. A property management company can help by working with your board leadership as well as the entire association and the homeowners in your community.
Delegate your management partners to liaise with the board, the association, and the homeowners within your community. You can expect your management company to take the lead with owners, vendors, and even potential new residents.
Management companies are good at systems and processes, and communication is often a specialty. We have some of the most innovative technology that’s available in the property management industry, and we’ll utilize that to keep communication efficient and responsive.
Delegate Enforcing Rules and Regulations
Enforcing the rules and regulations in a community that you also live in can be uncomfortable.
You don’t want to make your neighbors mad, but you also have a responsibility to hold everyone accountable to the standards they agreed to when they moved into your HOA.
This is one of the best responsibilities to delegate to your HOA management company. Not only does it provide a buffer between you and your homeowners, it also helps you avoid liability. If your association is enforcing the rules with one homeowner but not another, you’re welcoming a lot of legal risk into your HOA. The board must enforce the rules uniformly in your homeowner association otherwise the entire organization will be vulnerable to lawsuits and legal claims. An objective third-party can do that for you and eliminate any risk of favoritism or special treatment.
Your community has to trust that the HOA is going to hold everyone accountable to the same standards and requirements. If your board allows rules and regulations to be broken without consequences or enforcement, you will lose your ability to maintain the trust of your homeowners. The entire community will feel like the HOA doesn’t care about the rules they’re supposed to uphold. This will strip away any authority or legitimacy of the association. Leave it to your management partners.
Ask your HOA management company to:
- Monitor violations
- Send correspondence to homeowners
- Collect fines and penalties
- Follow up to ensure the homeowner is in compliance
You’ll want to be sure your management company documents everything that’s done, whether it’s a warning letter or the collection of a fine.
Accounting and Budgeting for Your HOA
Delegating when it comes to money matters can be difficult.
However, effective homeowner association management includes accounting and financial services that are detailed, accurate, and transparent. You can benefit by having your management company take over key parts of the way you manage your accounts receivable, accounts payable, and financial reporting. Management companies can also help you with budgeting – whether it’s making projections or analyzing expenditures.
Keeping reliable books is one of the most essential functions of any HOA, and you need a qualified and experienced team of professionals who can collect and account for dues, manage violations, and keep the community running according to the goals and priorities of the association.
Work with property managers who are willing to solicit bids from vendors and contractors for work that needs to be done and make sound recommendations on how to put together an operating budget and a reserve fund.
Hiring HOA Maintenance Vendors and Contractors
Good relationships with local vendors and contractors are essential.
Maintenance is only getting more expensive, and you have likely noticed that it’s harder to find good workers who will complete the projects you need done in the time that you want those projects done.
The board doesn’t need to waste its time asking for proposals from landscapers, roofers, pool cleaners, and other service providers. Hand this off to your HOA management team. They’ll know what to look for and how to measure cost against value and services.
We do all of these things and more for the HOAs that we work with. If you’d like to talk about how we can help you, please contact us at Hill & Co. We can deliver full-service management or virtual management if you’re looking for something more flexible and cost-effective.