Tag Archives: Community manager

Directions on How to Run an HOA Board Meeting


 

The Secret to Good Board Meetings.

Board meetings should be productive, efficient meetings where the board conducts business.  Are your board meetings productive and efficient? Does the board meet to conduct business or socialize? Are you getting the most out of your meetings?

Consider doing a few of these things:

Prepare a Realistic Agenda. Five page agendas with 50 objectives set out may be impressive but they are unrealistic and counter-productive.  You need to set a list of priorities for each meeting and focus on those issues.  If you have 50 issues you want to address, spread them out over the course of the year.  You will be more efficient and see better results if you are able to manage your agenda.

Set an end time to your meetings. Meetings should last no more than an hour.  Start the meeting when it is scheduled to begin and get straight to business. If you collectively have the focus to get done in an hour you’ll be amazed with how much you can accomplish. If you have no time limit, the meeting will typically drag on and a lot of time will be wasted. When time is wasted at a meeting then people are less likely to volunteer because they feel their time is wasted.  One hour meetings have a major impact on volunteers. Associations that hold focused, one hour meetings have more people volunteer. It’s also important to note that those volunteers stay active the in the community for much longer. Length of your board meetings may seem like a trivial matter, but it really does have a large impact on how the volunteers of the association view the organization and, in turn, how they view their role.

Be familiar with the Covenants and Bylaws. Key elements with which board members should familiarize themselves are the association’s governing documents that define the board’s authority. If you have a management company, they should provide guidance on your role as a board member, your fiduciary responsibility, specific board responsibilities from decision-making to administrative tasks, and how to conduct and participate in board meetings. Other vital information will include how to avoid personal liability, professional conduct at meetings, parliamentary procedures, the operating and reserve budgets, federal, state and local laws that impact your community, and appropriate insurance coverage.

Come prepared. Be familiar with the issues that will be addressed at the meeting.  If you have questions, ask them prior to the meeting so that your manager (if professionally managed) can have ample time to find the answers. This will help the meeting be more effective and brief. There is nothing more frustrating to those attending the meeting than for fellow board members to come unprepared and want to discuss issues at great length.

Make the meeting a time for action. Next, hold action oriented HOA board meetings.  Don’t just discuss issues, make decisions. Every item up for discussion should end in a vote to move forward in some way or table the issue with a clear understanding of why the item is being tabled and when it will be revisited. When taking action on an item make sure it is clear who will be responsible for getting that task completed. Ambiguity cripples a board.

Don’t be confrontational. Board members should recognize they are part of a team and not take a confrontational position with fellow board members or their management company. No one should have to work or conduct business in a hostile environment. Realize that at times you will not always agree, but take the position that even disagreement can bring compromise and consensus. Be concise with your opinion and thoughts and then be sure to listen to others. Always be respectful of your fellow board members and staff, as well as the homeowners. The tone of the board can set the tone of the community. So, if you want to have a healthy, vibrant and successful community, you should reflect that image as a board member.

Treat your Community Manager with Respect. Your community manager is your agent, not your employee. They act on behalf of the board and facilitate the decisions of the board.  Remember that they are professionals and should be treated as such. It can be detrimental to a board and its community to consistently be at odds with their management company. They are there to offer their expertise based on their experience, training and education to ensure that the board doesn’t compromise their fiduciary responsibility. A board should trust and rely on their management company’s vast experience and unlimited resources.  If your board has lost trust in the management company, have a frank discussion with the company’s CEO regarding whatever problems exist. Perhaps a different manager can restore your trust, eliminating the need to start all over with a new company.

Be a Team Player. If you recognize that, as a board member, you are part of a team of volunteers and management experts, you will be rewarded when you use those resources to make decisions that are based on sound business judgment. This, in turn, will inspire others to serve and build a team of future leaders who will want to emulate your leadership. By doing so, you will find serving on the board is not a burdensome chore, but a rewarding experience that you will value for years to come.

Be determined to have one of the best HOA’s in Atlanta by having an HOA management company that focuses on helping you have effective meetings.

 

How to Run an HOA Board Meeting


The Secret to Good Board Meetings.

Board meetings should be productive, efficient meetings where the board conducts business.  Are your board meetings productive and efficient? Does the board meet to conduct business or socialize? Are you getting the most out of your meetings?

Consider doing a few of these things:

Prepare a Realistic Agenda. Five page agendas with 50 objectives set out may be impressive but they are unrealistic and counter-productive.  You need to set a list of priorities for each meeting and focus on those issues.  If you have 50 issues you want to address, spread them out over the course of the year.  You will be more efficient and see better results if you are able to manage your agenda.

Set an end time to your meetings. Meetings should last no more than an hour.  Start the meeting when it is scheduled to begin and get straight to business. If you collectively have the focus to get done in an hour you’ll be amazed with how much you can accomplish. If you have no time limit, the meeting will typically drag on and a lot of time will be wasted. When time is wasted at a meeting then people are less likely to volunteer because they feel their time is wasted.  One hour meetings have a major impact on volunteers. Associations that hold focused, one hour meetings have more people volunteer. It’s also important to note that those volunteers stay active the in the community for much longer. Length of your board meetings may seem like a trivial matter, but it really does have a large impact on how the volunteers of the association view the organization and, in turn, how they view their role.

Be familiar with the Covenants and Bylaws. Key elements with which board members should familiarize themselves are the association’s governing documents that define the board’s authority. If you have a management company, they should provide guidance on your role as a board member, your fiduciary responsibility, specific board responsibilities from decision-making to administrative tasks, and how to conduct and participate in board meetings. Other vital information will include how to avoid personal liability, professional conduct at meetings, parliamentary procedures, the operating and reserve budgets, federal, state and local laws that impact your community, and appropriate insurance coverage.

Come prepared. Be familiar with the issues that will be addressed at the meeting.  If you have questions, ask them prior to the meeting so that your manager (if professionally managed) can have ample time to find the answers. This will help the meeting be more effective and brief. There is nothing more frustrating to those attending the meeting than for fellow board members to come unprepared and want to discuss issues at great length.

Make the meeting a time for action. Next, hold action oriented HOA board meetings.  Don’t just discuss issues, make decisions. Every item up for discussion should end in a vote to move forward in some way or table the issue with a clear understanding of why the item is being tabled and when it will be revisited. When taking action on an item make sure it is clear who will be responsible for getting that task completed. Ambiguity cripples a board.

Don’t be confrontational. Board members should recognize they are part of a team and not take a confrontational position with fellow board members or their management company. No one should have to work or conduct business in a hostile environment. Realize that at times you will not always agree, but take the position that even disagreement can bring compromise and consensus. Be concise with your opinion and thoughts and then be sure to listen to others. Always be respectful of your fellow board members and staff, as well as the homeowners. The tone of the board can set the tone of the community. So, if you want to have a healthy, vibrant and successful community, you should reflect that image as a board member.

Treat your Community Manager with Respect. Your community manager is your agent, not your employee. They act on behalf of the board and facilitate the decisions of the board.  Remember that they are professionals and should be treated as such. It can be detrimental to a board and its community to consistently be at odds with their management company. They are there to offer their expertise based on their experience, training and education to ensure that the board doesn’t compromise their fiduciary responsibility. A board should trust and rely on their management company’s vast experience and unlimited resources.  If your board has lost trust in the management company, have a frank discussion with the company’s CEO regarding whatever problems exist. Perhaps a different manager can restore your trust, eliminating the need to start all over with a new company.

Be a Team Player. If you recognize that, as a board member, you are part of a team of volunteers and management experts, you will be rewarded when you use those resources to make decisions that are based on sound business judgment. This, in turn, will inspire others to serve and build a team of future leaders who will want to emulate your leadership. By doing so, you will find serving on the board is not a burdensome chore, but a rewarding experience that you will value for years to come.

Be determined to have one of the best HOA’s in Atlanta by having an HOA management company that focuses on helping you have effective meetings.

The Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Prospective Community Association Management Company


http://fortuneaskannie.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/job_interview_questions.jpg?w=340&h=255
1. How many households (or units) are each community manager responsible for in your company?

Throughout the industry, Homeowners Association Management Company overload their community managers, giving them too many homeowners associations operate. The industry average is about 1,800 houses by the  community manager, which is about 500 too many homes. If the portfolio manager of a community is very large, some of the clients in the  HOA can be neglected.

2. How many people support the administrator of the community in their efforts?

A management company HOA should not only assign an administrator to a community homeowners association, but a team of people to operate smoothly for the association. A well organized team should include a community manager, accounting manager, a compliance inspector, a customer service representative, and a director of community management .

3. Is the community regularly inspected? How often? Who answers the phone when the community manager is absent or inspecting the property?

The homeowners association must be inspected for violations at least once a month. The compliance inspector should take a picture of the violation, which is sent with the letters of violation.

4. How long does your team take to respond to calls and emails?

The management company must respond to homeowners and the homeowners association board members correspondence as soon as possible, usually within 24 hours. However, Board members must also have the number of community manager’s cell phone for emergencies.

5. Does the community manager have a college degree and / or industry certifications?

Directors of the community must be college educated. They must have training and industry designation as well. Community managers must also attend seminars and industry events to stay current on changes in legislation.

6. Does the management company aggressively pursue homeowners who do not make payments on time for collection?

It is the responsibility of an owner to pay HOA dues in accordance with the rules of the homeowners association. However, when an owner fails to pay their dues, it is the responsibility of the management company to collect the funds. The board of the directors should work with the management company to delineate an HOA collection policy, including the final letters, notices of demand and eventual liening of the home.

7. Is a community web site included in our monthly management fee?

A website for your community association is a great way to help build a sense of community throughout your neighborhood. Other features should include access to forms, governing documents, closing forms, payment online access and emergency contact.  There should also be an option for accounting integration.

8. What hours can the property manager be reached?

A community manager should be available 24 hours a day. During the day which should be available through the office phone, email and cell phone and in the evenings and weekends, the management company HOA must provide an emergency service response, if a situation becomes an emergency.

9. Does the management closing account information before being transferred (sold) from one owner to another?

When a request is escrow by a title company, this information should be shared with the title company and documented in the system of the management company.

10. It is the management company Owners Association a professional team of experts?

The management company should be a team of experts with experience in professionalism and a commitment to quality service in order to properly service its customers the homeowners association.

With over 40 years of combined industry experience, the Executive Staff of Riverside Property Management  knows that the most successful communities are those where there is a sense of unity and pride among the membership; this unity and pride begins with a firm foundation comprised of:

Well defined policies and objectives
A strategic plan and future vision
A proactive Management team
Mutual team trust and respect
Timely and open communication
Excellent customer service
Industry knowledge
“Out of the Box” Thinking
Services designed to meet your needs

Give us fifteen minutes of your time and we can show you how to put your community on a fast track to success; if you don’t believe us, feel free to call upon any one of our satisfied clients.

Negotiation not Litigation for Your Homeowners


https://i2.wp.com/www.softwarethinktank.com/wp-content/uploads/bigstockphoto_Group_Of_People_Negotiate_At_T_314756.jpg
Without a board, a community association would cease to function. Many organizations are challenged to find enough volunteers to serve on the board, as some owners are afraid of being sued or becoming involved in a dispute with a contractor or, more worryingly, a neighbor. Some councils believe they must sue in the beginning instead of trying to solve a problem amicably. I believe that negotiation is the first action that all cards must be considered for resolving disputes association.

Ask any board member, community manager, insurance agent or a lawyer what the number one recommendation is legal and financial. Certainly, all will tell you to avoid litigation. Litigation is costly and slow. More often, neither party ends up being what you want. Certainly there are times when litigation is the only resource, but I am convinced that most problems can be resolved through negotiation. After many years of experience in managing community associations, I can personally say that negotiation is resolved most issues at a lower cost and less distress to the association and the owners.

Collecting delinquent assessments is a major problem in most associations in the community during these tough economic times. Quick reference instead of an attorney delinquent owners of the collection, first try to negotiate with the owner. Association of Community Boards have the authority to consider and offer payment plans to homeowners who have clearly shown a financial burden and they will to carry your checking account if you can extend your payments. The Council must ensure that a lien is presented for registration and the payment agreement made in writing by both parties. If all goes as planned, the account is updated, the board held to its fiduciary duty to the association and the owner defaulted greatly appreciates the fact that the board was understanding and compassionate. And the association does not spend time and money in litigation!

The declaration of an association, the governing documents, become protagonist is another example of first negotiation to try before resorting to litigation. The successful partnerships in the community have clearly written policy resolutions establishing procedures for implementing the rules, including holding hearings and appeals process. Many rules violations can be resolved through negotiation. Most homeowners appreciate a manager and / or  board that takes the time to explain a violation of the rules and why they issued a citation. Quiet, intelligent conversation, not confrontation really works. To be fair, reasonable and consistent, and approval of changes in your case, results in a respectful and rewarding in a community, residents and volunteer leaders to become star.

These are just some examples of why it is better to negotiate and litigate only as a last result. Come on, become the protagonists.  Focus on resolutions and save your association some big money!