Condo and HOA Management

Association Management Company or Association Board?

| 4 min. read

Members of community association boards—like HOA’s—are frequently bombarded with tasks that need immediate attention. However, since board positions are voluntary, it can be difficult (or impossible) for members to respond to requests and needs in a timely manner. 

Since mounting tasks and frustrated neighbors are never a good combination, many community association boards opt to bring in a property management company to relieve the pressure. Hiring a property management company to take over menial tasks saves board members time, money, and stress. 

If your HOA Board is feeling the pressure, hiring help is often the next best step forward. 

HOA Property Managers vs. HOA Board

Before considering a property management company to partner with your HOA board, it’s important to clearly lay out responsibilities. 

Typically, associations, including HOAs are responsible for…

  • Creating and enforcing property rules
  • Maintaining common areas
  • Setting and collecting dues
  • Setting budgets for projects that association dues fund
  • Obtaining insurance
  • Hiring staff and contractors
  • And a variety of other tasks, depending on the community’s needs

Of course, the members of an HOA don’t necessarily do all of the above personally, but they are responsible for making sure those tasks are completed. They often hire outside services like contractors, security staff, an insurance company, or pool cleaners, to name a few. 

But hiring these professionals takes precious time. Coordinating the completion of all the tasks in a timely manner is also sometimes beyond the realistic scope of a volunteer position. 

This is where an HOA property management company can be extremely helpful. A property management company is able to take over the coordination of many HOA tasks. They may even be able to negotiate better rates for services. Because property management companies have established relationships with many contractors and services, they often receive proprietary rates. 

5 Common Misconceptions

When deciding to hire a property management company, make sure you aren’t falling prey to some of these common misconceptions. 

#1: One Size Fits All

Not every property management company is the same. When searching for what works for you, make sure you find a company that can adjust to your board’s needs. They should be able to create a management package that works for you. 

#2: Property Management Companies Always Handle the Money

While property management companies will often head up the collection of homeowner dues and allocate money to different projects around shared property, this isn’t always the case. Make sure you’ve properly vetted and interviewed a company before entering into any agreement!

#3: The Board Loses Their Authority

When an HOA board hires a property management company, the company works for the board, not the other way around. This can be difficult for homeowners to understand. The HOA board is still in charge, they’ve simply hired help to accomplish all their tasks in a timely manner.

#4: The Management Company Always Knows Best

As mentioned above, the relationship between the HOA board and the property management company is a partnership. The association does not have to do everything the property management company advises, and can still act as they see fit if and when disagreements pop up. 

#5: The Arrangement is Strictly Business

While tasks are generally business-oriented, a property management company can also organize community events and help foster neighborhood relationships. This takes the pressure off HOA volunteers to make the neighborhood fun. Enjoy an evening by the community pool with snacks and drinks—organized by your property management company!

Five Hypotheticals

#1: Inclement Weather

In the case of extreme weather, a property management company will have you covered. Whether a tornado sweeps through, a hurricane causes flooding or snow covers the streets, you’ll have an easier time getting back to normal with the help of experienced professionals. In the case of snow, a property management company can coordinate or schedule plowing of streets and driveways in the neighborhood. Also, the property management company is able to negotiate better rates for inclement weather services due to their relationships with companies and the many properties they manage. Because of this, everyone saves money. 

#2: What if Homeowner Dues Are Late?

The property management company typically heads up the collection of dues (and allocates them to various needs) so late dues are never another headache for your board.

#3: What if Our Board Has Business-Related Questions? 

Another advantage of having a property management company is that they can become advisors and partners over time. Since they have a wide range of experience across different properties, spanning many years, they’ll be able to act as an invaluable resource offering the specific advice and expertise your board may need.

#4: What if the Board Has Budget Issues? 

Another thing that many property management companies excel at is managing money. If your board has any problems staying within budget or covering expenses, a property manager can help you get back on track and manage those finances with ease. Again, make sure the company you choose offers these services.

#5: When Disagreements Arise…

Living in a community has its challenges and, while it’s usually peace and harmony, occasionally disagreements do occur. If a disagreement escalates to an issue that needs to be handled by the HOA board, then a property management company can act as a useful impartial third party to help mitigate disputes. 

How to Vet Companies?

  • Online Reviews. Always start with a good ol’ internet search. This will help you quickly eliminate the companies that aren’t right for you. Read online reviews (both good and bad) and take specific anecdotes with a grain of salt.
  • Direct experience. Next, when you’ve narrowed down your options to a few companies that look promising, find someone with direct experience to get their feedback. Put out a call on social media or ask your friends and neighbors, because there’s nothing like first-hand experience from someone you trust. 
  • Interview. Sometimes the best way to see if a company is right for you is to get on a phone or video call. Along with any specific needs your community faces, make sure to ask these four questions:

If you’re ready to outsource a few of your HOA’s most onerous tasks to a helpful HOA property management company, there’s no better time than now to get started. Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. We’re here to help! 

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