If you’re a member of an HOA board, one of the reasons you chose to hire a property manager to help your community association is because you can’t keep up with all of the information you need to know. New and updated laws, reserve studies, annual meetings, trends, and resources are all things you need to have in your board member resource bucket, but can be very overwhelming. You trust your HOA manager to give you good and accurate information, but how do you know it really is legit?
Start by asking yourself the right questions that will signal any red flags that your manager doesn’t have your association’s best interest in mind.
- Is your manager proactively trying to get to know and understand the history of your association? By asking questions, reviewing past meeting minutes, etc.
- Does the information from your attorney, accountant or other expert contradict advice from your manager?
- Is your manager quiet and timid instead of active and involved?
- Does your manager keep putting off answering questions from HOA board members?
- Can your manager give insightful input or provide relevant examples?
- Is your manager constantly trying to play “catch up?” Such as missing deadlines, forgetting things, missing communications that should have been sent, etc.
- Is your manager not frequently available? If the manager isn’t available there should at least be someone else at the management company who can help answer your questions.
- Is your manager helping you make reasonable business decisions?
- Is your manager educated about the current status of the association so they can actively help plan for the future instead of just sitting back and waiting for things to come up? Think in terms of planning for the reserves.
If the needs of your association are not being met by your HOA manager, then you may have to visit the idea of letting them go. But before you reach that point, try sitting down and expressing your concerns. In most cases, your manger is probably just extremely busy or has other circumstances distracting them, in which case you can be assigned a different manager.
While it’s important for you to have an HOA manager that you can trust is giving you accurate information, it’s also your responsibility as a board member to be proactive about knowing what’s happening in your association and having a general knowledge of the industry as a whole. This means having a basic understanding of the laws, actively planning for your reserves, and fulfilling your role to protect, maintain and enhance the homeowner’s association.