Homeowner Association (HOA) Resources
To reference some useful links for your area, CSI has compiled a list of HOA, Community, online Government and local resources.
5 Things That Make Community Management Unique
by Burke Nielsen | Aug 30, 2017
Community management is a tough job and community managers take pride in their work. Just try calling a community manager a “property manager”. You’ll probably get a strange look or even a stern correction. After all, those in the community association industry know there’s a big difference.
Don’t get me wrong, property managers are great, and most of them do a good job managing apartments and commercial buildings. But, using property management methods to manage HOAs and condos will result in a poorly managed community.
What is the difference
While there are some similarities on the surface, the differences run throughout every aspect of community management. Here are a few of the differences.
1. Governing Documents — Apartment and commercial management is usually governed by rules established by the manager or property owner. In a community association, CC&Rs and bylaws give each community a unique set of rules and procedures that must be understood and followed. These governing documents make managing more complicated, especially for portfolio managers.
2. Who’s Calling the Shots? — Every type of property management requires a person or entity that makes the important decisions. For apartments, it’s usually the building owner. HOA’s, on the other hand, have a board of directors elected from among the membership. This board consists of several individuals with differing opinions, backgrounds, and personalities. To make things more complicated these members change on a regular basis. This means that important decisions take more time to come about and policies can change with the turnover of board members.
3. State Laws — Each state has unique laws that govern HOAs, and different but similar laws for condos. Not to mention the laws governing non-profit corporations. A knowledgeable community manager knows when to bring in legal counsel to help the board navigate these laws.
4. Residents are Owners — One of the key differences are the people. HOA and condo residents are often the homeowners. This means they are more interested in the association’s success and how things are managed. This is a good thing, but it also can lend itself to heated confrontations when ideas and expectations don’t align.
5. Financial Management — Because of the reasons mentioned above, HOAs must follow financial and accounting practices that other property managers do not. These differences are found in the way funds are deposited, collections, who signs the check, and how large replacement expenses are paid for.
So next time you refer to your community manager as a “property manager”, don’t be offended by the look of disgust that will inevitably follow. It’s not that she thinks the position of community manger is high and mighty, and no, she doesn’t hate property managers. It’s just that she knows what it takes to manage a community and she’s seen what happens when a community is not managed properly.
Clarifying Misconceptions About the Manager's Role
By Gil Cross
Community associations hire
managers for two reasons: to carry out
the policies of the board of directors
and to manage the association's
day-to-day business affairs.
Frequently, however, residents and
even some directors don't understand
the manager's role. They see the
manager as a referee and information
source. They expect the manager to be
on call 24 hours a day. They believe
the manager works only for them.
That's not how it works. In most
communities, the manager meets with
the board of directors each month to
report on association business. Often
the manager gives advice,
suggestions, and recommendations. A
board typically directs the manager to
perform 10 to 20 tasks before the next
meeting. This may include writing
letters, soliciting bids, preparing
policy statements, and negotiating
contracts. The manager also must deal
with maintenance and rule
enforcement problems. The limit on
the manager's authority generally is
spelled out in the management
What are the most common
misconceptions? Consider the
1. The manager is a referee.
Homeowners should not expect
managers to arbitrate disputes with
their neighbors. Unless the dispute
involves a violation of association
restrictions, the manager does not
need to be involved.
2. The manager is the
Homeowners should have enough
interest in their community to
present their concerns to the
board--forwarding those concerns is
not the manager's job. The manager
does not vote on any board issues.
Venting frustrations at the manager
may make a homeowner feel better, but
it's unproductive for everyone
involved. Homeowners should direct
their attention to the board. Likewise,
managers cannot update each owner
on association activities. Residents
should attend board meetings to learn
what's happening in the association.
Those who can't attend meetings
should read the newsletter or contact
board or committee members for
3. The manager is available at all
times. With the exception of on-site
managers, most community managers
have commitments to other
associations. They are entitled to a
courtesy call to arrange a meeting.
4. The manager is responsible for
contractors. The board and the
manager try to choose the best
contractors for the association. But
they do not have direct control over
the contractors' actions and they are
not responsible for poor performance.
The contractors are responsible for
supervising their personnel, not the
manager. The manager is responsible
for monitoring their performance and
reporting problems to the board.
Homeowners should report any
problems with the contractor to the
manager, who will forward them to the
board is responsible for any
5. The manager anticipates every
problem. Managers typically inspect
the property on a monthly basis, but
even an experienced manager can miss
a problem--particularly if there's no
evidence on the building's exterior.
Owners should not rely solely on the
manager to safeguard their
investment--their participation is
essential in identifying problems.
6. The manager takes orders
from each owner. The manager is
accountable to the board of directors,
not individual owners. Homeowners
who disagree with the board's
polices--and, in turn, the manager
who carries them out--should
resolve the conflict with the board of
7. The manager takes orders from
individual directors. Managers act
under the orders of the entire board of
directors, not one individual director
or committee member (unless the
board grants a particular individual the
authority to deal with a specific
matter). The management agreement
between an association and a
management company usually
stipulates that the board should
identify one person to act as liaison to
the manager. Too many bosses
creates problems for everyone.
8. The manager is responsible for
delinquent accounts. A manager or
management company typically has
three responsibilities regarding
* Send monthly notices to delinquent
* Give the board a monthly
* Represent the association in small
The manager's collections efforts
do not include phone calls or visits to
delinquent owners. Beyond small
claims courts, collection activities
should be handled by the association
9. The manager should give advice
on everything. Managers have a
broad range of expertise, but they are
not engineers, architects, attorneys,
or accountants. Owners should not
expect them to give advice if they are
10. The manager responds to all
emergency calls. The manager
responds to all true emergency calls.
Inconveniences, however, are not
emergencies. Failing to plan a party
around the association's lawn
irrigation schedule or getting locked
out of the house does not damage or
threaten the community--which is
how the association classifies an
emergency. Understanding this--and
understanding the manager's
role--will reduce future conflicts.