Category Archives: Community Manager

What does a community association manager do?

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.

In practice, what does that mean for some common resident questions and concerns?

  • The manager is trained to deal with conflict, 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 with or conduit to the board. If you have a concern, send a letter or e-mail directly to the board.
  • Although the manager works for the board, he or she is available to residents. That doesn’t mean the manager will drop everything to take your call. If you need to see the manager, 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, read the newsletter or check the association website or bulletin board.
  • 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 but even an experienced manager won’t catch everything. Your help is essential. If you know about a potential maintenance issue, report it to the 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 than arguing with the manager.
  • The manager has a broad range of expertise, but he or she is not a consultant to the residents. Neither is he or she typically an engineer, architect, attorney, or accountant. The manager may offer opinions but don’t expect technical advice in areas where he or she is not qualified.
  • 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.

For more information on the community association manager’s role, visit www.caionline.org and search “community managers.”

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‘Twas the Night Before (the HOA’s) Christmas

‘Twas the night before the HOA’s Christmas, and through the community
Not a complaint was heard, there appeared just pure unity;
The thank-you notes were placed by the bulletin board with care,
In hopes that the board and manager would soon see them there;

The homeowners were nestled all snug in their beds,
No worries of paint or roofs bothering their heads,
And the Vice President in her condo, and I in mine too,
Had just settled down for a break from reviewing the dues,

When out in the courtyard there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my balcony to see what was the matter.
Away to the railing I flew like a flash,
Only to see neighbors with gripes to rehash.

I couldn’t figure out in the dark of the night
Exactly what they thought gave them the right,
But I knew from my time on the homeowners board,
Our meetings these neighbors had always ignored,

Then in a flash I noticed a visitor,
Who tried to join that group of inquisitors
He wore a red fur coat over an ample belly, and
His hearty laugh made it shake as it were jelly,

His smile quickly faded as they all turned away,
They told him that tenants had nothing to say,
The jolly man disappeared as quickly as he came here,
Amid the sound of eight snorting… reindeer?

In a moment came another, without much ado,
He arrived with a viewpoint needed and new,
I knew in a flash it was manager, Nick.
He knew what was needed and he brought it quick,

He exclaimed “Now, Member! now, Neighbor! Now, Bylaws and Covenant,
Please read the rules before bringing your comment.
Now back to your homes, and back to your castles,
Please, just for today, have a cease to the hassles”

He said “you by choice bought in a community,
Which works at its best when all live in unity,
Remember that your board serves you for free,
and consider joining a committee – or three.

“You have no busy elves, and HOAs thrive when all work as a team,
If all think only of selves, a nightmare soon it will seem.
Your association is much like a large but rowed boat,
If each rows as a solo, not for long will it float.”

Amidst headshakes and handshakes the courtyard then cleared,
And I hoped that above still flew a sleigh and eight impatient reindeer.

No reindeer or jolly elf’s labors returned to the site,
But folks reached to their neighbors, and started treating them right.
A different air began to take hold in the complex
As the Golden Rule became our theme and our text.

Manager Nick surveyed the scene, pleased,
Knowing the group a happy future had it seized.
And laying his finger aside of his face,
He ran toward his car as if in a race;

He sprang to his auto, heading home in a dash,
And away he drove as quick as a flash.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!

[Readers: May peace and neighborliness permeate your communities in the coming year!]

The post ‘Twas the Night Before (the HOA’s) Christmas appeared first on Ungated: Community Associations Institute Blog.

Different strokes, different folks: How community managers and property managers have distinct roles

A common mistake in state legislatures considering community association manager licensing—and among the general public—is to lump community association managers and property managers into the same bucket. While both are very important roles, they are distinctly different professions with functions, skill sets, and responsibilities specific to each.

A community association manager can manage every type of community: condominium associations, homeowner associations, resort communities, and commercial tenant associations. A community association manager works directly with property owners and homeowners.

Property managers oversee individual rental units or a group of rental units, such as an apartment complex. They’re responsible for managing the entire property, while community association managers are responsible for common areas—not individually owned properties.

“From a legislative standpoint, this incorrect categorization occurs because state legislators misunderstand the nature of community association management,” says Matthew Green, director of credentialing services for Community Association Managers International Certification Board (CAMICB). “They believe that community association management skills are identical to those of a property manager without recognizing the vastly different responsibilities of these two positions.”

This misunderstanding of the two professions often bleeds into more general conversations occurring in this space. Compounding this is the reality that there’s a slight overlap in a couple of the duties performed. For example, both property managers and community association managers supervise certain maintenance activities, such as swimming pool upkeep and trash removal. But it’s important to understand that community association managers oversee and direct all aspects of running the business operation. This means that they authorize payment for association services; develop budgets and present association financial reports to board members; direct the enforcement of restrictive covenants; perform site inspections; solicit, evaluate, and assist in insurance purchases; and even supervise the design and delivery of association recreational programs.

Property managers are responsible for managing the actual property and therefore handle the physical assets of the unit at the owner’s request. Property managers generally oversee rental units and leases. Their responsibilities might include finding or evicting tenants, collecting rent, and responding to tenant complaints or specific requests. If a property manager is responsible for a vacation or second home, he or she may arrange for services such as house-sitting or local sub-contracting necessary to maintain that property. Alternatively, an owner may opt to delegate specific tasks to a property manager and choose to handle other duties directly.

Stephanie Durner, CMCA, AMS, director of community management at River Landing, a gated golf course community in Wallace, N.C., views the distinction this way:

“While property managers are generally charged with overseeing physical structures that are used by people who are not the owners of the property, association managers represent the property owners themselves and are involved in just about every aspect of the overall community. For instance, if a garage door is broken at a rental house, the tenant would call a property manager or owner/landlord. But if there’s a pothole that needs repair or if a neighbor’s dog is running loose through the neighborhood, that’s a task for the community association manager who both maintains the common areas and upholds the governing rules. To me, community association management is a more holistic approach that contributes to the overall quality of life for all the owners in a community.”

Green emphasizes that while some job responsibilities are similar, community association managers have additional functions. “It’s critical that community association management be recognized as distinct from property management because association management requires a wider variety of knowledge and skills,” he says.

Because of these differences, community managers and property managers need different training and education.

CAMICB offers and maintains the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) credential, the only international certification program designed exclusively for managers of homeowner and condominium associations and cooperatives. The CMCA credential means an individual has taken and passed the rigorous CMCA examination, proving they have a solid understanding of the business operations involved in being a community association manager.

The post above originally was published on CAMICB’s CMCAcorner blog. Follow along for the latest on the essential credential for community managers.

The post Different strokes, different folks: How community managers and property managers have distinct roles appeared first on Ungated: Community Associations Institute Blog.

HOAs, BOTs, CC&Rs, and more: Defining community association terms

Today, 70 million Americans live in 344,500 common-interest communities. Even if you haven’t lived in a condo, co-op, or HOA, chances are you’ve at least heard of these communities. Admittedly, those who live in, volunteer in, and work for common-interest communities tend to throw around terms like “ARC,” “CC&Rs,” “D&O” or “CMCA” that make things sound more complicated than they really are. So let’s pull back the curtain on some important terms related to living in and working in community associations.

Types of communities

CA: Community Association

CID: Common-Interest Development

Co-op: Cooperative

Condo: Condominium

HOA: Homeowners Association

PD: Planned Development

POA: Property Owners Association

PUD: Planned Unit Development

TOA: Townhouse Owners Association

Community leadership, governance and operations

ARC: Architectural Review Committee

BOD: Board of Directors

BOT: Board of Trustees

CC&Rs: Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions

D&O: Directors & Officers liability insurance

E&O: Errors & Omissions insurance

RFP: Request for Proposal

SOP: Standard Operating Procedures

General CAI terms

CAI: Community Associations Institute

CAMICB: Community Association Manager International Certification Board, a sister organization to CAI.

FCAR: Foundation for Community Association Research, also a CAI affiliate

CCAL: College of Community Association Lawyers

LAC: Legislative Action Committee

PMDP: Professional Management Development Program

Designations, Certifications, and Accreditations
AAMC: Accredited Association Management Company

AMS: Association Management Specialist

CIRMS: Community Insurance & Risk Management Specialist

CMCA: Certified Manager of Community Associations

LSM: Large-Scale Manager

PCAM: Professional Community Association Manager

RS: Reserve Specialist

Whatever the acronym, all community associations—CA, condo, HOA, POA, TOA, etc.—share a few essential goals: preserving the nature and character of the community, providing services and amenities to residents, protecting property values and meeting the established expectations of owners.

Stumped by other acronyms or industry terms? Ask a question in the comments below.

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How to Be an Effective Community Manager

Managing people is no easy task. Whether you manage a small team of professionals or an entire organization, the following tips will help you break down barriers and foster great relationships.

Establish trust. Your employees and clients look to you for guidance, so be consistent with your approach to communication and problem-solving. Set and manage expectations—for yourself and for those you manage—to earn trust and respect. Good, consistent habits like organization, a positive attitude, and strong follow-through set an example for your team.

Learn & leverage behavioral styles. Pay attention to your team members’ individual work styles and your clients’ behaviors to determine how best to communicate with them. Different personalities require different approaches to achieve a shared goal, so learn how to spot strengths and weaknesses and leverage them to your team’s advantage.

Drive motivation. Set short- and long-term goals for yourself and your employees. Check in with your employees regularly to provide support and guidance, and to provide clear and direct feedback on what’s working and what’s not.

Manage your time. Learn how to let go and delegate tasks. Training techniques that use visual, hands-on, and auditory teaching methods help ensure a task is done properly. Set priority levels for assigned tasks and communicate them with your team.

Control conflict. The best way to handle conflict is by collaborating—instead of compromising—with everyone involved to resolve a problem. This way, team members work toward a resolution together instead of conceding to one side or the other.

The post How to Be an Effective Community Manager appeared first on Ungated: Community Associations Institute Blog.

Talking ‘Bout Your Generations

Four distinct generations—matures, baby boomers, Gen Xers, and millennials—own homes in community associations and are in today’s workforce. The mix of characteristics and diverse workstyles of these generations has the potential to lead to miscommunication and discord. It’s little wonder board members and managers are looking for guidance on how to create more compatible and efficient living, governing, and working environments.

An acclaimed expert on generational differences, Cam Marston provided some of that guidance in a presentation during CAI’s 2018 Annual Conference and Exposition in May.

Marston, the author of Generational Insights, identifies clear behaviors in each demographic.

The matures (also known as the silent generation; born between 1928 and 1945) and baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), for instance, favor collaboration, teamwork, and hierarchy. They tend to arrive early, stay late, and embrace plenty of meetings.

Gen Xers (born between 1965 and 1980) are independent and self-sufficient. They are also technologically adept and well-educated. Because of their independence and resourcefulness, Gen Xers believe the best way to manage people is to get out of the way and have as little contact as possible.

Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) are multitaskers and comfortable with both group and individual interaction. They are generally adept at social media and prefer to text than call or email, Marston says. Like their baby boomer parents, the millennials embrace teamwork and like building relationships. However, unlike the boomers, millennials value work-life balance over career.

Marston believes the biggest leadership gap is with the Gen Xers. Their “reluctance to get involved” can get in their way of being strong, effective managers, he says. Yet they need to start getting a handle on the millennials. “As a group, the millennials are like a huge boulder barreling down hill, and the Gen Xers need to learn how to engage now to be able to guide and lead these workers in the future,” he says.

Those who want to create high-performance workplaces, whether within a management company or an association board, should learn “to recognize their own inherent workstyles as well as those of their colleagues” and then set their own workstyle aside, Marston says. Doing so demonstrates an understanding of generational differences and motives that can help people connect with each other.

Marston recommends treating colleagues at work or peers on boards as if they were people from another country or culture. Making one change in how you interact with each other could lead to better relationships. “Usually, one change creates momentum,” he says.

And before you get too comfortable with these four generations, the iGen is on its way. Individuals born after 1997 will be joining the workforce in large numbers and could become homeowners in a few years.

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Clarifying the Community Manager’s Role

Community managers have two primary responsibilities: to carry out policies set by the board and to manage the association’s daily operations.

Some residents expect a community manager to perform certain tasks that just aren’t part of their job description. When the community manager doesn’t meet those expectations, residents are unhappy. The following should help homeowners better understand a community manager’s role:

A community manager is trained to deal with conflict, but they will not get involved in neighborhood quarrels. However, if association rules are violated, the community manager is the right person to call.

A community manager works closely with the board, as an advisor—not a member of the board.

A community 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.

A community manager inspects the community regularly, but even an experienced manager won’t catch everything. If residents know about a potential maintenance issue, report it to the community manager.

A community manager does not set policy. If residents disagree with a policy or rule, contact the board.

The post Clarifying the Community Manager’s Role appeared first on Ungated: Community Associations Institute Blog.

Survey Says: Residents Satisfied with Their Community

 

For the seventh time in 13 years, Americans living in homeowners associations and condominiums say they’re overwhelmingly satisfied in their communities, according to the 2018 Homeowner Satisfaction Survey, conducted by Zogby Analytics for the Foundation for Community Association Research. Sixty-three percent of respondents say they are “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with their community association living experience, while 22 percent report a neutral response.

More than 60 percent of survey respondents say their association’s rules protect and enhance their property values, while 28 percent say they have a neutral effect. Eighty-four percent of those surveyed expressed that neighbors elected to the governing board “absolutely” or “for the most part” serve the best interests of their communities.

Other highlights include:

  • 73 percent say their community managers provide value and support to residents and their associations.
  • 81 percent say they are on friendly terms with their association board.
  • 80 percent say they prefer either no change or less government control within their association.
  • 60 percent say their association assessments are “just the right
    amount”—or “too little.

Read the complete report at www.caionline.org/HomeSweetHOA.

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