Community associations today employ highly-qualified professional community association managers, and we think residents should know what the manager has—and has not—been hired to do.
Some residents expect the manager to perform certain tasks that just aren't part of the job. When the manager doesn't meet those expectations, residents are unhappy. In short, the manager has two primary responsibilities: Carry out policies set by the board and manage the association's daily operations. Too many associations have rules that are unduly complicated, are nearly impossible to enforce, and may even violate current laws.
In practice, what does that mean for some common resident questions and concerns?
The manager is trained to deal with conflict and assist in mediation for the HOA, but he or she typically will not get involved in quarrels you might be having with your neighbor. However, if association rules are being violated, the manager is the right person to notify.
- While the manager works closely with the board, he or she is an advisor—not a member of the board. Also, the manager is not your advocate but a conduit to the board. If you have a concern, send a letter or e-mail directly to the board or managing agent, or plan to attend a Board Meeting.
- Although the manager works for the board, he or she can be available to residents. That doesn't mean the manager will drop everything to take your call. If you need to see the manager, please be courteous and call and arrange a meeting.
- The manager is always happy to answer questions, but he or she is not the information officer. For routine inquiries, like the date of the next meeting, subscribe to receive Community email-news or check the association website.
- The manager is responsible for monitoring contractors' performance but not supervising them. Contractors are responsible for supervising their own personnel. If you have a problem with a contractor, notify the manager, who will forward your concerns to the board. The board will decide how to proceed under the terms of the contract.
- The manager inspects the community regularly also with the assistance of Committees (i.e. Architectural & Landscape Committees) but even many eyes won't catch everything. Your help is essential. If you know about a potential issue, report it to your manager.
- The manager does not set policy. If you disagree with a policy or rule, you'll get better results sending a letter or e-mail to the board and/or attending a Board Meeting than arguing with the manager.
- The manager has a broad range of expertise as a consultant to the Board of Directors. He or she typically has a background in engineering, architecture, accounting, project management, and even horticulture. The manager may offer opinions and options to a concern, but don't expect technical breakdown to individual owner projects.
- Your Manager is considered a Portfolio Manager. 90% of all Managers do not live on-site nor do they manage just one single Community, but sometimes 10+ Communities of various types (i.e. Condos, Townhomes, Single Family Homes, Ranch Properties', High-rises, 55+ Communities & Metro Districts) and even Mixed-Use Residential & Commercial Properties.
- Managers have many meetings. Managers typically work Monday-Friday 9am till... well, to the end of a meeting. Managers are involved with vendor preliminary proposals, pre-construction and work meetings, QA reviews and repairs, to final punch-list reviews on projects. Managers also participate in Board of Director Meetings that are monthly and/or quarterly dependent to the size of a Community, to Annual Owners Meetings. They also have Community Committee Meetings (i.e. Landscape Design Review, Social, Rules Committees, etc.), City & Town Department Meetings, to State Meetings. The State House of Representatives Meeting on Wednesday the 17th went until 11:57pm as an example. These meetings are just some of their responsibility to the Communities they represent in knowing changes in laws, ordinances, to construction & planning going on within or next to a Community they Manage.
- Although the manager is a great resource to the association, he or she is not available 24 hours per day—except for emergencies. Getting locked out of your home may be an emergency to you, but it isn't an association emergency. An association emergency is defined as a threat to life or property.