Property management companies partner with homeowner associations (HOAs) to maintain the grounds and structures of the housing area or condominium. The actual size and features of the area to be managed are usually what determines the property manager’s responsibilities. Property managers are there to enforce rules formulated by the HOA’s board as well as serve and provide assistance to homeowners.
Before hiring a property manager to take over your HOA, it is important to ensure that they are qualified for the job and their company policies do not conflict with your association’s principles. Here are 5 questions the HOA’s board of directors should ask all prospective property managers:
1. How does your company handle homeowner security emergencies?
This is crucial because homeowners are bound to face a few emergencies here and there. A HOA management company should preferably offer services to specific states for better connections with emergency response agencies. If you are in Arizona, HOA management services located in Phoenix AZ would likely be more familiar with the state’s departments than a company headquartered in another state, say, California or Nevada.
2. What maintenance measures will you put in place to curb unexpected problems?
A good property management company will have staff or at least be associated with a contractor that does grounds maintenance. Their job description may include cleaning exterior windows, repainting patio railing, landscaping, cleaning the community swimming pool, maintaining basketball courts and other sports facilities, keeping pathways clear, maintenance of roof gutters, etc. Consider a HOA management company with the most inclusive list of services.
3. What financial services does your property management company offer?
One of the property management company’s responsibilities is to collect dues from homeowners on the HOA’s behalf. It is expected that the company will handle late fees and late notices as part of the service. They will probably also be charged with setting the HOA’s annual budget and submit it to the board of directors for review and approval. For the best services as regards financial management, the company should be bonded and insured and generally have a clean past record.
4. Which maintenance responsibility will remain in the hands of homeowners?
Property managers in charge of detached houses may have a lighter list of responsibilities compared to those in charge of apartment communities and condominiums. Homeowners in detached houses will usually be responsible for the maintenance of their homes and yards. They may be required to call their own electricians, plumbers, and roofing contractors.
That said all homeowners should come up with a list of services they need from their HOA management company.
5. What vendors does your company work with?
Property management companies contract with private firms for maintenance and security services. Before hiring, the HOA should ask for detailed information about the security firm and personnel that will be brought to the property. Details of roofing specialists, cleaning services, plumbers, and gardeners must also be availed.
Lastly, the property management company must disclose all business they are affiliated with, including any commissions they charge independent contractors hired to work in the housing area.