Realtytimes.com, Written by Richard Thompson
Homeowner associations hire managers for two basic reasons: to carry out board policies and to manage the homeowner association's business affairs. Sometimes, however, the manager's role is misunderstood which could bring the manager into conflict with the board or members.
What are the most common myths?
1. Manager is Available 24/7. HOA managers generally manage many homeowner associations and must divide their schedule among them. While the management company usually provides emergency response 24/7, the manager's time is carefully orchestrated between clients to maximize efficiency and cost effectiveness to the clients.
2. Manager is Responsible for Contractor Performance. The manager does not have direct control over the contractors. It's up to the contractor to provide agreed upon services in a timely manner. When the contractor fails, it's up to the manager to enforce provisions of the contract by whatever means necessary including withholding payment or legal action.
3. Manager Should Anticipate Maintenance. There is a perception that the manager should catch maintenance problems as they happen. In reality, the Management Agreement typically calls for periodic property inspections which are supplemented by maintenance requests from the board or homeowners and feedback from maintenance contractors. To control management costs, identifying maintenance problems in a timely way is a team effort.
4. Manager Works for the Owners. The management company enters into a written agreement with the board of directors which authorizes the manager to run HOA business in accordance with the governing documents, approved budget and additional direction provided by the board or board president. Owners have no contractual authority and the manager should not take direction directly from an owner.
5. Manager Takes Direction from Every Director of the Board. Managers act under the direction of the entire board of directors or the board president, who generally has authority to speak for the board between board meetings on many but not all issues.
6. Manager is a Referee. Homeowners should not expect managers to arbitrate disputes with their neighbors. Unless the dispute involves a violation of HOA rules or policies, the manager should not be involved.
7. Manager is an Owner Advocate. Venting frustrations at the manager about a board action or inaction may make a homeowner feel better, but it's up to the homeowner to make the case directly to the board. The manager is not hired to be an advocate.
8. Manager is Responsible for Delinquencies. The manager is responsible to follow the HOA's Collection Policy or as directed by the board. Demanding payment doesn't ensure getting it but the manager is responsible to keep up the pressure by following the Collection Policy which, hopefully, provides for escalating penalties for non-payment (late fees, legal fees, restriction from amenities, curtailing voting rights, etc.).
An HOA manager's list of duties is long and encompasses many categories of management including financial, maintenance and administration. The manager is a hired contractor that works under direct supervision of the board and according to conditions of the Management Agreement. The job is complex and each day presents a new series of challenges. De"myth"tifying the job tells you what the manager is or is not.
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