Tag Archives: Owner-occupier

A list of the Do’s and Dont’s in HOA Management:


Community Associations

  • Customer service. Answer your calls and emails within 24 hours of receipt. Even if you don’t have an answer, let your client/homeowner know that you are working on it.
  • Know your community. Set your goals to be proactive, not reactive.
  • Be respectful. Treat that nasty, arrogant man or woman with respect; they may be your next Board President.
  • Maintain your cool. If a homeowner is calling you names and yelling, don’t take it personally. Nine times out of ten, they are just having a bad day and you have been chosen to take it out on. Surprisingly, after they have vented, they will often call you back to apologize.
  • Support staff. Acknowledge and appreciate those that are there to support you. It only takes a second to add a line to your email after they have gathered information for you to say, Hey, I appreciate all you do for me.
  • Never, ever lie. If you have forgotten or not completed a task given you by the Board, tell them I am sorry. I overlooked that directive but I will follow up immediately. The Board will understand that sometimes unforeseen things happen. If you are straight forward and provided you don’t make a habit of overlooking your assignments, they will understand.
  • Rumblings of dissatisfaction. Working for a management company means client retention. If you feel, hear or suspect any dissatisfaction, then you need to address this issue with your supervisors. What begins as a tempest in a teakettle ultimately could lead to a hurricane. Less clients for your company can mean cuts backs in the work force.
  • Ask questions. No one has all the answers all of the time. Ignorance is not bliss if you have read the documents wrong or given your Board misinformation. Better to say, I don’t have an answer at this time, but I will research the issue and report back promptly.
  • Stay focused. On the days that every call you get is from a cranky homeowner, every email seems full of hate, you feel sure that your supervisor appears to be looking at you with thoughts of terminating your employment, and you are ready to just give up. . . you might be surprised that the next call is from a homeowner or Board member telling you how much they appreciate you, the next email is one giving you a glowing reference on a job well done, or you are paged to come to the reception desk and find a floral delivery from a grateful Board/Homeowner, and you see your supervisor in the hallway and well, three out of four ain’t bad.

Riverside Property Management is a Homeowners association management company management company proudly serving Roswell, Alpharetta, Buckhead, Marietta and all of North Georgia. Riverside is also an expert Georgia condo association management company and high rise Atlanta association management company. To find out more about Riverside Property Management and why it is one of Georgia’s fastest growing property management companies, go to www.riversidepropertymgt.com. You’ll be glad you did.  (678) 866-1436

A list of Do’s and Dont’s for HOA Management:


Community Associations

  • Customer service. Answer your calls and emails within 24 hours of receipt. Even if you don’t have an answer, let your client/homeowner know that you are working on it.
  • Know your community. Set your goals to be proactive, not reactive.
  • Be respectful. Treat that nasty, arrogant man or woman with respect; they may be your next Board President.
  • Maintain your cool. If a homeowner is calling you names and yelling, don’t take it personally. Nine times out of ten, they are just having a bad day and you have been chosen to take it out on. Surprisingly, after they have vented, they will often call you back to apologize.
  • Support staff. Acknowledge and appreciate those that are there to support you. It only takes a second to add a line to your email after they have gathered information for you to say, Hey, I appreciate all you do for me.
  • Never, ever lie. If you have forgotten or not completed a task given you by the Board, tell them I am sorry. I overlooked that directive but I will follow up immediately. The Board will understand that sometimes unforeseen things happen. If you are straight forward and provided you don’t make a habit of overlooking your assignments, they will understand.
  • Rumblings of dissatisfaction. Working for a management company means client retention. If you feel, hear or suspect any dissatisfaction, then you need to address this issue with your supervisors. What begins as a tempest in a teakettle ultimately could lead to a hurricane. Less clients for your company can mean cuts backs in the work force.
  • Ask questions. No one has all the answers all of the time. Ignorance is not bliss if you have read the documents wrong or given your Board misinformation. Better to say, I don’t have an answer at this time, but I will research the issue and report back promptly.
  • Stay focused. On the days that every call you get is from a cranky homeowner, every email seems full of hate, you feel sure that your supervisor appears to be looking at you with thoughts of terminating your employment, and you are ready to just give up. . . you might be surprised that the next call is from a homeowner or Board member telling you how much they appreciate you, the next email is one giving you a glowing reference on a job well done, or you are paged to come to the reception desk and find a floral delivery from a grateful Board/Homeowner, and you see your supervisor in the hallway and well, three out of four ain’t bad.

Riverside Property Management is a Homeowners association management company management company proudly serving Roswell, Alpharetta, Buckhead, Marietta and all of North Georgia. Riverside is also an expert Georgia condo association management company and high rise Atlanta association management company. To find out more about Riverside Property Management and why it is one of Georgia’s fastest growing property management companies, go to www.riversidepropertymgt.com. You’ll be glad you did.  (678) 866-1436

 

A list of Do’s and Dont’s for HOA Management:


 

Community Associations

  • Customer service. Answer your calls and emails within 24 hours of receipt. Even if you don’t have an answer, let your client/homeowner know that you are working on it.
  • Know your community. Set your goals to be proactive, not reactive.
  • Be respectful. Treat that nasty, arrogant man or woman with respect; they may be your next Board President.
  • Maintain your cool. If a homeowner is calling you names and yelling, don’t take it personally. Nine times out of ten, they are just having a bad day and you have been chosen to take it out on. Surprisingly, after they have vented, they will often call you back to apologize.
  • Support staff. Acknowledge and appreciate those that are there to support you. It only takes a second to add a line to your email after they have gathered information for you to say, Hey, I appreciate all you do for me.
  • Never, ever lie. If you have forgotten or not completed a task given you by the Board, tell them I am sorry. I overlooked that directive but I will follow up immediately. The Board will understand that sometimes unforeseen things happen. If you are straight forward and provided you don’t make a habit of overlooking your assignments, they will understand.
  • Rumblings of dissatisfaction. Working for a management company means client retention. If you feel, hear or suspect any dissatisfaction, then you need to address this issue with your supervisors. What begins as a tempest in a teakettle ultimately could lead to a hurricane. Less clients for your company can mean cuts backs in the work force.
  • Ask questions. No one has all the answers all of the time. Ignorance is not bliss if you have read the documents wrong or given your Board misinformation. Better to say, I don’t have an answer at this time, but I will research the issue and report back promptly.
  • Stay focused. On the days that every call you get is from a cranky homeowner, every email seems full of hate, you feel sure that your supervisor appears to be looking at you with thoughts of terminating your employment, and you are ready to just give up. . . you might be surprised that the next call is from a homeowner or Board member telling you how much they appreciate you, the next email is one giving you a glowing reference on a job well done, or you are paged to come to the reception desk and find a floral delivery from a grateful Board/Homeowner, and you see your supervisor in the hallway and well, three out of four ain’t bad.

Riverside Property Management in Kennesaw works with homeowner and condo associations providing a variety of management, code enforcement, consulting and educational services, reserve studies, budgeting assistance and maintenance planning expertise.

 

A list of Do’s and Dont’s for Community Management:


Community Associations

  • Customer service. Answer your calls and emails within 24 hours of receipt. Even if you don’t have an answer, let your client/homeowner know that you are working on it.
  • Know your community. Set your goals to be proactive, not reactive.
  • Be respectful. Treat that nasty, arrogant man or woman with respect; they may be your next Board President.
  • Maintain your cool. If a homeowner is calling you names and yelling, don’t take it personally. Nine times out of ten, they are just having a bad day and you have been chosen to take it out on. Surprisingly, after they have vented, they will often call you back to apologize.
  • Support staff. Acknowledge and appreciate those that are there to support you. It only takes a second to add a line to your email after they have gathered information for you to say, Hey, I appreciate all you do for me.
  • Never, ever lie. If you have forgotten or not completed a task given you by the Board, tell them I am sorry. I overlooked that directive but I will follow up immediately. The Board will understand that sometimes unforeseen things happen. If you are straight forward and provided you don’t make a habit of overlooking your assignments, they will understand.
  • Rumblings of dissatisfaction. Working for a management company means client retention. If you feel, hear or suspect any dissatisfaction, then you need to address this issue with your supervisors. What begins as a tempest in a teakettle ultimately could lead to a hurricane. Less clients for your company can mean cuts backs in the work force.
  • Ask questions. No one has all the answers all of the time. Ignorance is not bliss if you have read the documents wrong or given your Board misinformation. Better to say, I don’t have an answer at this time, but I will research the issue and report back promptly.
  • Stay focused. On the days that every call you get is from a cranky homeowner, every email seems full of hate, you feel sure that your supervisor appears to be looking at you with thoughts of terminating your employment, and you are ready to just give up. . . you might be surprised that the next call is from a homeowner or Board member telling you how much they appreciate you, the next email is one giving you a glowing reference on a job well done, or you are paged to come to the reception desk and find a floral delivery from a grateful Board/Homeowner, and you see your supervisor in the hallway and well, three out of four ain’t bad.

Riverside Property Management in Kennesaw works with homeowner and condo associations providing a variety of management, code enforcement, consulting and educational services, reserve studies, budgeting assistance and maintenance planning expertise.

Protect HOA Operating and Reserve Accounts


https://i0.wp.com/www.dicts.info/img/ud/villain.png

I know anyone that has any affiliation with an HOA or Homeowners Association has heard of someone stealing or trying to steal money from the Community. The scams are often as simple as writing a check to themselves, either as an administrator, treasurer or president. This is the one constant to which no one paid much attention. Now, with the vast majority of the Associations tax year ending, here’s your chance to make sure that does not, and is not going to happen. Whenever the economy takes a hit, and particulary when it both an extended and bad one, you need to pay special attention to the deep pockets, your association’s bank and reserve accounts.

First – GET AN AUDIT – not an opinion, not a compilation, but a real, honest-to-god audit. Only an audit of the CPA will unearth evidence which, in turn, could be fraud or embezzlement. Yes, an audit is more expensive, but considering the huge increase in financial crimes against associations, this is not the time to spare. Remember, every person trusted the people who were scamming from the Association funds. The fact that the treasurer is a good person, does not mean that they are not having personal financial problems.

Then make sure your insurance covers the Community Association if the money is lost. All too often association’s think that fidelity bonds that the management company has protects them – it doesn’t, it only protects the management company if an employee steals from them.  Whether its a bond or crime insurance, make sure the association is covered for ANY loss, no matter who is  lining their pockets.  This can be done with Directors & Officers Insurance or D & O.

Always make sure the bank or any financial institution that holds your money, sends a second statement, an original for someone other than the person who writes the checks or books. The crooks got away with their scams for long periods of time because they were the only one receiving the bank statement, and then delivering a retouched statement to the Board of Directors. Someone else must have an authentic, original – that can,  in fact be compared to the one presented in the financial report.

Periodically, hold a test of invoices. Ask one of your contractors to review their bills with you. A basic scam is a book of false invoices for work that was never completed, and then write a check for that amount to the scoundrel himself. Unless you’re reviewing canceled checks or verifying proof of the bill, it is quite easy for the thief get away with it. Each time you have a supplier or contractor that is going over budget or contract, this is likely to be the output.

Make sure nobody can get to the reserve accounts easily to withdraw or transfer funds. Talk to any institution that is holding the funds and ask them for the best way to ensure that nobody can reach them without going through a lot of checkpoints.

Basically, you should make sure you have all the necessary protections in place and they are, in fact, actually being followed. There are plenty of articles about how to do this, and that’s a good place to start. But remember, it is the entire process to be followed – not just a part will protect your Property Owners. For example, you can utilize the recommendation to require two signatures on checks, but in reality, banks no longer see or verify the signatures, so that alone will not protect you.

Why go through all this? I’m no lawyer, but if I were a Home Owner and someone was to abscond with a lot of money from my Association, I believe that the board would had failed in its fiduciary responsibilities and should be held accountable for that failure.

Protect the HOA Operating and Reserve Accounts


https://i0.wp.com/www.dicts.info/img/ud/villain.png

I know anyone that has any affiliation with an HOA or Homeowners Association has heard of someone stealing or trying to steal money from the Community. The scams are often as simple as writing a check to themselves, either as an administrator, treasurer or president. This is the one constant to which no one paid much attention. Now, with the vast majority of the Associations tax year ending, here’s your chance to make sure that does not, and is not going to happen. Whenever the economy takes a hit, and particulary when it both an extended and bad one, you need to pay special attention to the deep pockets, your association’s bank and reserve accounts.

First – GET AN AUDIT – not an opinion, not a compilation, but a real, honest-to-god audit. Only an audit of the CPA will unearth evidence which, in turn, could be fraud or embezzlement. Yes, an audit is more expensive, but considering the huge increase in financial crimes against associations, this is not the time to spare. Remember, every person trusted the people who were scamming from the Association funds. The fact that the treasurer is a good person, does not mean that they are not having personal financial problems.

Then make sure your insurance covers the Community Association if the money is lost. All too often association’s think that fidelity bonds that the management company has protects them – it doesn’t, it only protects the management company if an employee steals from them.  Whether its a bond or crime insurance, make sure the association is covered for ANY loss, no matter who is  lining their pockets.  This can be done with Directors & Officers Insurance or D & O.

Always make sure the bank or any financial institution that holds your money, sends a second statement, an original for someone other than the person who writes the checks or books. The crooks got away with their scams for long periods of time because they were the only one receiving the bank statement, and then delivering a retouched statement to the Board of Directors. Someone else must have an authentic, original – that can,  in fact be compared to the one presented in the financial report.

Periodically, hold a test of invoices. Ask one of your contractors to review their bills with you. A basic scam is a book of false invoices for work that was never completed, and then write a check for that amount to the scoundrel himself. Unless you’re reviewing canceled checks or verifying proof of the bill, it is quite easy for the thief get away with it. Each time you have a supplier or contractor that is going over budget or contract, this is likely to be the output.

Make sure nobody can get to the reserve accounts easily to withdraw or transfer funds. Talk to any institution that is holding the funds and ask them for the best way to ensure that nobody can reach them without going through a lot of checkpoints.

Basically, you should make sure you have all the necessary protections in place and they are, in fact, actually being followed. There are plenty of articles about how to do this, and that’s a good place to start. But remember, it is the entire process to be followed – not just a part will protect your Property Owners. For example, you can utilize the recommendation to require two signatures on checks, but in reality, banks no longer see or verify the signatures, so that alone will not protect you.

Why go through all this? I’m no lawyer, but if I were a Home Owner and someone was to abscond with a lot of money from my Association, I believe that the board would had failed in its fiduciary responsibilities and should be held accountable for that failure.

Gallery

Adopt a Clear Policy on Dues Collection in the HOA or Condo Association


Assessments are the lifeblood of the HOA and Condominium Associations. However, only in very few condominium associations is the collection of dues a process of laissez faire. Most condo associations need to have a consistent process and procedure to thrive … Continue reading

What You Should Know About Homeowners Associations


Questions to ask the HOA before buying.

https://i0.wp.com/urbandallasrealestate.com/images/Properties/townhomes/Sept/dallas_townhome_for_sale_6.jpg

Buying a condo or townhome is more than four walls and interior air space, it also means buying the homeowner association. Smart shoppers examine all the homeowner association documents, including its latest financial statements to determine whether one is buying a money pit or a gold mine. Here are the most important questions a buyer should ask:

How financially sound is the HOA?

To determine this, ask for and read (yes, they are long, at least 50 pages or more) copies of the following documents:

Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC & Rs)
Statutes and Regulations
Minutes of the meetings for the last year
Homeowners Association Financial Statements

These documents will tell you:

If special contributions are expected to address deferred maintenance
Planned capital improvements
Amount of cash reserves
If the association is or has been sued
The history and the likelihood of increased fees

What services are covered by your monthly payments? Does it include the payment of:

Water
Cable television
Ground maintenance / gardeners
Garbage Collection
Sewage
Insurance
Management fees
Pool, spa or fitness centers
Streets and sidewalks
Assigned parking / metro (and if so, how many spaces?)
Gateway

How do you compare the rates of assessments from other condominiums in the area? I sold an apartment in an older complex, where the monthly fees are $120. Renovated apartments around the corner had a maintenance fee of $ 190. The main difference between the two complexes had been remodeled units, stainless steel appliances and granite counter-tops in the kitchen. That’s why buyers ask, “Is it worth $ 70 a month to own stainless steel appliances?” For some buyers, the answer is “yes.”

Who manages the complex?

Larger complexes require professional management. That could cost more than hiring a professional company, but in the long run tend to save money. Exercise bargaining power in negotiating professional management services such as offers for gardeners or general maintenance, as they represent a greater number of complexes.

How many units are rented?

Nobody likes tenants. Not that renters are bad people, but there is some truth that the tenants do not take care of the goods in the same way that an owner occupier would take care of it. In addition, some lenders will not lend money to a buyer if more than 25% of the units in the complex are rented. Some homeowner associations refuse to let the owners rent their unit for more than 30 to 60 days, if at all.

How quiet are the units?

Ask neighbors to give potential buyers an idea of ​​the noise factor. But driving in the area late on Saturday night will also let you know. It is best to purchase a unit in the corner because there is less common (side) walls means less noise. However, the soundproofing does not help much if your next door neighbor enjoys blasting Pink Floyd, every Sunday at 2 PM.

A customer who bought a condo on the ground floor near the stairs leading to the second floor was worried about the sound of footsteps on the stairs, so I suggested he talk to the occupant above. It turns out that the resident was the president of the Homeowners Association and a stickler for keeping things quiet.

What are the recreational areas, parking and Pet Restrictions?

Find out the hours of use for pools, spas and recreation areas such as tennis or  game room and check that the working time schedule.
How do you manage parking for guests, and the number of parking spaces are deeded to each unit? Is it possible to rent an additional parking space if needed?
How much will be charged to replace a lost key to the security gate or club?
How many pets can I have? Are there size restrictions? Are you allowed to bring pets through the lobby on a leash?

Finally, talk to the people who live there. Drive through the parking lot or garage in the evening when the owners are coming home from work. If they hate the homeowners association, they will undoubtedly tell you what is wrong with it.  Discover the reasons behind it before before you buy. HOAs have the power to regulate and sanction violations that affect owners financially as never before, so make sure you fully understand what you are getting into before signing on the bottom line.

What do Board Members do anyway?


Some people might wonder what Board Members do. Hopefully, this will shed some light on their duties and responsibilities for your community.

Homeowners Association Board

Board Members have a set number of responsibilities when they volunteer for your community.  Remember, they volunteer! So make sure you thank them for what they do.

Board Members are challenged typically on a daily basis with different aspects from personalities and duties and responsibilities within the community.  They have a definite purpose and specific duties to fulfill for your community.

 

The role of the Board is to set policy, standards, budgets and procedures for the association.

Probably the most important duty is the fiduciary obligations to the association.  This can be characterized into two parts; the duty of loyalty and the duty of care.  The duty of loyalty is requires the Board Member to act in good faith always in the interest of the community.  Never acting in their own interest or in the interest of another person. The duty of care requires the Board Member to act in a reasonable, informed manner when participating on the Board and making decisions for the day to day community’s care.

Board Members are able to delegate the duties of the association, but not the responsibility of their positions. It is the Board that is ultimately responsible for the association even if the Board hires a management company.  They can direct actions on behalf of the association, but the Board is completely responsible to the community. 

The governing documents as well as state and federal statues outline the Board responsibility within the community.  Areas of responsibility typically include:

  • ·         Care, maintenance and enhancement of common areas including facilities and physical property.
  • ·         Management of community finances and any reserve funds.
  • ·         Community harmony.
  • ·         Any employment the association has and the human resources of the community.
  • ·         Interpretation, creation, enforcement of the rules and regulations of the community.
  • ·         Community insurance needs and making sure guidelines for such are followed in the declaration.

This is in no way a full compilation of everything your board members do, just an overview of some of their duties.

Source: http://www.hoamanagementdirectory.com/blog.html?action=more&id=79

CONDOMINIUM INSURANCE – WHO COVERS WHAT?


Most condominium association‘s “Declaration of the Condominium” (hereinafter referred to as declaration) follow the wording of Chapter 47C of the North Carolina Condominium Act with regard to the definitions of “common elements” and “units”.  The Declaration specifies what insurance is to be provided by the association and what insurance is to be provided by the unit owners.In the statute, 47C-2-102, Unit boundaries it says: “Except as provided by the declaration:

(1)   If walls, floors or ceilings are designated as boundaries of a unit, then all lath, furring, wallboard, plasterboard, plaster, paneling, tiles, wallpaper, paint, finishes flooring and any other materials constituting any part of the finished surfaces thereof are a part of the unit; and all other portions of such walls, floors, or ceilings are a part of the common elements.

(2)   If any chute, flue, duct, wire, conduit, bearing wall, bearing column, or any other fixture lies partially within and partially outside the designated boundaries of a unit, any portion thereof serving only that unit is a limited common element allocated exclusively to that unit, and any portion thereof serving more than one unit or any portion of the common elements in a part of the common elements.

(3)   Subject to the provisions of paragraph (2), all spaces, interior partitions, and other fixtures and improvements within the boundaries of a unit are a part of the unit.

(4)   Any shutters, awnings, window boxes, doorsteps, stoops, decks, porches, balconies, patios, and all exterior doors and windows or other fixtures designed to serve a single unit but located outside the unit’s boundaries are limited common elements allocated exclusively to that unit (1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c.877, s.1.)”

The Declaration of most associations specify that the association shall provide coverage for “common elements” and each unit owner must insure his “unit”.  This would suggest that a unit owner would need to include Coverage A Building under the standard condominium unit owners HO6 to cover the elements of the unit that are actually part of the building (contrasted to “contents” such as clothing, TV‘s, etc.).  The parts of the “unit” which cause concern are building type items such as floor covering, wall covering, built in cabinets and appliances, and interior non-load bearing walls and partitions.

Under 47C-3-113, Insurance (a), “Commencing not later than the time of the first conveyance of a unit to a person other than a declarant, the association shall maintain, to the extent available:

(1)   Property insurance on the common elements insuring against all risks of direct physical loss commonly insured against including fire and extended coverage perils.

47C-3-113 (b) “In the case of a building containing units having horizontal boundaries (multi-story buildings) described in the declaration, the insurance maintained under subdivision (a)(1), to the extent reasonably available, shall include the units, but need not include improvements and betterments installed by unit owners.  This seems to imply that the master policy should include all that comes with the unit at the time of purchase (with standard) allowances.  The unit owner would need to insure the value of any upgrades under the Coverage A Building part of his HO6.

An attorney who has much experience in preparing Declarations has responded to an inquiry as follows: “In response to your memo, please note that, per section 47C-1-104(a) of the Condominium Act “Except as specifically provided in specific section of this chapter, the provisions of this chapter may not be varied by the declaration or the by-laws.”  Section 47C-3-113 (the insurance provision to which your memo refers) states that it may be varied or waived “in the case of a condominium all of whose units are restricted to nonresidential use.”  Accordingly, regardless of what the declaration or by-laws say, unless the insurance is not “reasonably available”, if the condominium contains residential units with horizontal boundaries, the insurance must include the units (but need not include improvements or betterments installed by the unit owners.)

Therefore, we conclude that the Association master policy must cover these described items and the amount of insurance selected should reflect these values.

Another issue is the association policy deductible which can be as much as $10,000.  Perhaps the individual unit owner is uncomfortable with such a large deductible.  A solution would be to purchase an amount of Coverage A Building under the HO6 equal to the cost of his upgrades plus $10,000.  The association policy is primary but it does not cover “upgrades” nor anything under $10,000, so the solution suggested will work.  Also, the HO6 building coverage is not subject to a coinsurance clause.

In order for this solution to work, the association Declaration must follow 47-C-113 (b) of the statute.  The alternative method is to say in the Declaration that the associations will provide coverage on the “common elements” only and each unit owner will have to cover all parts of the unit (including walls, floor coverings, built-ins, etc.)  This method calls for the developer/builder to inform each unit owner as to what the replacement cost of such items is so that the proper amount of Coverage A Building coverage can be obtained by each owner.  Not only is this a cumbersome method, but it appears to be contrary to what is dictated by the statute.