Planned developments offer many amenities to their residents. However, they also bring great responsibilities for those homeowners who serve on the Board of the Home Owner’s Association (HOA). It is the board that has the duty to promote a high quality of life, maintain curb appeal and ultimately protect the property values of the residences in the community. This is a big job and many HOA boards find it necessary to bring in some professional help. They hire an HOA management company to help run the community. If you are involved in such a development, it is important to understand the roles of both the HOA and the HOA management company.
Being a part of a planned community has many perks. All common facilities and areas, such as a pool, clubhouse or playground, has to be maintained. Someone has to make sure that it is safe and that all members respect the rules. Likewise, house appearance and yards must be maintained to uphold property value and neighborhood perception. It falls to the HOA and its board to provide the rules that govern the community. These rules are known as covenants, conditions and restrictions. They can cover everything from what color you are allowed to paint your residence to the hours of the pool or how many pets you can own.
But the HOA is also responsible for daily operations of the community. They must manage maintenance and repairs, collect dues and communicate with residents about their concerns.
HOA Management Companies and The Board
It is obvious that every HOA board has a lot on its plate. That’s why many boards bring in HOA management companies to alleviate this burden and lend their expertise.
What does HOA property management involve? Typically, the HOA determines what responsibilities it will hand off to the management company. These usually include the day-to-day operations of the community as well as the maintenance and repair of common areas and major systems in the residences. In addition, the management company assists with collecting the dues, enforcing community rules and operating the financial and business aspects of the community.
Reserved for the HOA
HOA management companies are experts at handling the daily items that come up in a community. However, the board is still responsible for the community even if it delegates some of these tasks to a management company. Further, there are some issues that are so important that they should not be delegated. The HOA should maintain control in these areas:
- The management company should only enforce policies. It is the responsibility of the HOA to set the policies. These include the architectural review of any proposed modifications to residences.
- HOA management companies oversee the financials for the community, but the HOA needs to approve large expenditures and any expenditures that are not budgeted.
- Assessing fines is another area of responsibility best left to the HOA. If a resident must be penalized, it is better if it comes from the HOA rather than the management company.
The more you understand the relationship between your community’s HOA and the HOA management company, the easier it will be to choose the right partners to help distribute responsibilities. Managing an HOA can be a full-time job; many times it is a great idea to bring in some help to lighten the load on board members.