By Michael Madson, MGM Management
Your association may contract with an association manager, but are they qualified? We’d like the residents and an HOA’s membership to know what a manager has – and has not – been hired to do.
An association manager has two primary responsibilities:
1. Carry out the policies set by the HOA’s Board.
2. Manage the association’s daily operations.
Quite often, members assume the manager performs certain tasks that just aren’t in the contract. And, when the manager doesn’t meet their expectations, residents are unhappy. Here are a few clarifications to help you understand the role of an association manager.
· The manager works closely with the Board – as an advisor – not as a Board member. The manager is not your advocate with, or conduit to, the Board. If you have a concern about your HOA, your first action is to contact your Board or send them a letter or an email.
· The manager should be available to the membership. However, that doesn’t mean the manager will drop everything to take your call. If you need to see the manager, it’s best to call to arrange a meeting or email them.
· The manager should be accessible and available to answer your questions. However, for routine inquiries, like the date of the next meeting, you should contact your Board. Does your HOA send out newsletters or make announcements online? Most professional association managers can facilitate this form of communication and save a Board time.
· The manager monitors contractor’s performance, but does not supervise them. Contractors supervise their own staff and operate based on the contract that was agreed for a specific service. If you have a concern with a contractor, notify the manager, who will forward your concern to the Board. The Board decides how to proceed under the terms of their contract.
· The manager inspects the community regularly, but even an experienced manager won’t catch everything. The residences and the membership’s help are essential. If you know about a potential maintenance issue, report it.
· The manager does not set policy. If you disagree with a policy or rule, you’ll get better results contacting the Board than arguing with the manager.
· The manager is not available 24 hours a day – except for emergencies, such as irrigation issues. Getting locked out of your home maybe an emergency to you, but it isn’t an association emergency. An association emergency is defined as a threat to life or property.
Are you considering an association manager?
A management company is an excellent option to ensure that all homeowners are adhering to basic rules and that everyone is represented fairly. However, you should always remember that a management company provides a service to your association and that they serve all members; not the other way around. Every member of an HOA should have access to their governing documents, their HOA’s financial status, and access to what decisions are or have been made. In fact, all members share in the ownership and the liability of their association, so every voice is vital to the preservation and harmony of each community.
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