Homeowner and Condominium Associations exist for the primary purpose of uniting a community of neighbors interested in upholding standards of property upkeep for the benefit of all. With agreed upon rules and regulations in place, as well as a governing body of volunteer homeowners willing to form a board, make decisions, and enforce the rules, an association can thrive. However, managing an entire community consisting of dozens or even hundreds of homes can entail a heavy workload, especially when it comes to fee collection, rule enforcement, and community governance. Most homeowners don’t have the time or the inclination to shoulder this burden for long.
This is where a management company can save the day. The role a management group plays in the day-to-day operations of a typical homeowners association will depend on the level of involvement of the Board and Volunteers. However, typically, a management company will tend to many administrative duties- that volunteer board members neither have the time or expertise to handle such as bidding out insurance, assist with government requirements, membership mailings and meetings, collecting dues, paying vendors, managing the operating budget, and providing monthly financial statements.
A management company assigns a Manager who becomes familiar with the community and its residents. Some of their duties are getting bids for projects, reviewing contracts, overseeing vendors, and monitoring the condition of the common areas. Florida Statute is particular with respect to association meeting requirements. The management company will keep your board and community legal by following the exact procedures set forth by statute and your covenants for meetings, elections, and necessary mailings such as ballots, annual budget reports, and even monthly newsletters.
They are typically tasked with conducting site reviews and informing homeowners of violations. This is often the source of misunderstandings between the owners and Manager, but the Manager’s hands are tied!
The covenants (rules) were created before the first owner bought their home. The board, elected by the members, has a fiduciary duty to each of the homeowners to follow the law and comply with the community’s covenants and bylaws. These bylaws require a level of maintenance and care for the neighborhood. They have no choice. The board is required to do whatever it takes to preserve the aesthetics and property values within the community. And…they typically hire a management company to do this.
In addition, to the community’s assigned Manager, the management company bring experienced personnel and tried-and-true service providers to manage your community as efficiently and as affordably as the amenities will allow. While the Manager can surely guide and advise a board with important decisions, the board will still be in charge and responsible for the decision making. The Manager will not spend the association’s money without first obtaining board approval to carry out specific tasks.
The board, not the Manager, decides how to allocate funds, when to raise (or lower) dues, hire vendors, and maintenance. However, it is the expertise of the Manager that the board relies upon to operate the association as directed by Florida Statute and the association’s documents.
In closing, a community is run by volunteers with families, lives, jobs, and typically limited time. What time they have to give should be spent wisely on big picture items, such as handling reserve studies, planning for major projects, neighborhood watch, and community events. They can do this by turning to a management company to take on the burden of daily operations.
The result is a win-win for the community. Board members will have the time to invest in the peace of mind of the homeowners, aesthetics and the future of the community.