Category Archives: Community Manager

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.

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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.

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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

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