Preventing Property Managers from Committing to Wasteful Time Sinks?

As a full-time property manager in charge of approximately 500+ condominium units and working in an office where there are over 35 properties and 2800+ doors I know a little something about repetition. The job of the property manager is to help manage property not regurgitate information that the members of the association should already have. Here is a short list gleamed from a rather large list of reoccurring themes:

Rules & Regulations Violations

Manager:"No sir / No mam you cannot, (fill in the blank here; set yard art in front yard, change color of exterior, mount the bird house on side of building, etc.), your Rules & Regulations prohibit that."

Homeowner:"Oh, well we did not know that."

Manager:"Do you have a copy of the Rules & Regulations?"

Homeowner:"Well no, our (fill in the blank here; real estate agent, lawyer, seller, etc...) did not give us a copy."

How much time property managers spend answering this question is unfathomable. Property managers generally have the same response, depending on the availability of digital documents, "well sorry to hear that, do you have an email address I may send a copy too, if not our office will gladly mail a copy of your documents to you for $35."

Violations of the Declaration and/or Bylaws

Homeowner:"With the annual meeting coming up I was curious how many homeowners must be present?"

Manager:"Every Association is a little bit different you better look at your Bylaws."

Homeowner:"Bylaws?!?!? I do not have those. I never got a copy..."

Once again, you would not believe how often we encounter homeowners in the associations we manage who have no clue as to the governance of their HOA, what their documents say or, and this is the scary part, the authority that a homeowners association can wield.

Association Finances and Activities

Homeowner:"I can't believe they are going up our dues again! Where the heck (you know what they said, but this is "G" rated) is our money going.

Manager:"Mam, I understand you’re frustrated, but the new budget was discussed at the Board meeting..."

Homeowner:"Well who's got time to attend those darn things, they do not get anything accomplished."

Manager:"Actually, they have achieved a lot this year. It is reflected in the minutes from the meetings."

Homeowner:"I do not have a copy, etc...."

The responsibility of the real estate agent and the closing attorney should be to make sure THEIR CLIENTS are informed and know exactly what it is their clients are buying into. It is still unbelievable to me that in this day and age with the competition for every sale being at a premium that our markets are still clogged with so many "professionals" who do not have their clients interests in mind. However, I digress, all the complaining in the world never seems to change this unfortunate circumstance.

As a property manager you get caught in the middle all the time. The Homeowners Association wants their homeowners to feel involved, but with the cost of postage, printing and production and the cost of the labor to create a mailing every time you want to communicate, it can become cost prohibitive for some associations to keep up constant contact.

There Is A Solution

For many homeowners associations having a centralized location where all the associations documents, minutes from Board meetings, rental docs, community forums, etc. can be stored is a step in the right direction. The establishment of the hoa websites, provides a central database where homeowners, real estate agents, lawyers, mortgage brokers and many more can come and view the information they seek. These users get 24/7/365 access to the information they need and the property manager is allowed to focus his/her attention on the issues that can’t be automated. These websites can even allow for association members to view their accounts and pay bills online.

In future articles we will talk about functionality and features of these sites and what homeowners associations should expect from their hoa website.

Brian Barrett - Is a full time property manager who has created a new HOA Website Design company called HOAConnections to help homeowners and their associations communicate better.

For More Information on HOA Website Design Contact Us.

Author's Bio: 

During my "professional carrier" have worn many hats ranging from the construction trades to sales. During the late 1990's I joined up with my brother and grew a landscaping business. Around 2003 I began to hone my skill set in to real estate and construction. After leaving landscaping I set out to obtain the licenses that I would need to move forward. Having obtained my real estate brokerage license and my unlimited general contractor license I opened up two new businesses, Carolina Mountain Realty & Development and Blue Ridge Homes.