If you live in an area with a homeowner’s association or condo association, someone has to be in charge. The community association manager is the one responsible for the management of the association and community. They oversee several areas such as budget preparation, meeting attendance, and day to day operations.
A community association manager should also interact frequently with homeowners, the board members, and vendors. The documents governing an association are held to a higher authority than the board members and it is a community manager’s job to uphold those documents. So, what does a community association manager do?
A community manager should operate with a positive attitude and focus on moving forward to better the association. Being a community association manager requires people skills and customer service skills since they are responsible for many tasks in that area. Community managers answer calls and emails in a timely manner and respond to other correspondence as well. They go above and beyond for clients, whether it is answering questions or general assistance. Associations require a good bit of paperwork, from tax information to maintenance records and board minutes. Community managers play a key role here since they are responsible for documenting those records and maintaining them in an organized manner.
Associations have policies in place that benefit the community and residents. Policies can include restrictions on pets, lawn maintenance requirements, regulations for decorations, and much more. A policy also includes rules for common areas, rules for amenities and their operations and whatever else is needed. It is the duty of the community manager to review the policy and introduce recommendations for implementing procedures. When reviewing the policy, the manager should ask themselves if the rules are necessary and enforceable, as well as seeing if there is a better way to do it. They also make sure all regulations are within local and state laws.
On top of their already heavy workload, community association managers are in charge of maintaining common areas. They should know the common areas in and out, making sure they are all safe for residents, properly insured if necessary, and maintained. When services are required, it is the community manager’s job to ensure the services are performed as specified and competitive. If a special project is being completed within the community, it is also the manager’s job to ensure it stays within budget and is completed in a timely manner. When it comes to maintenance, community managers aren’t just responsible for maintenance when something needs to be fixed. They are also responsible for preventative maintenance. It’s important for community association managers to keep track of who does what within the community and their schedule so they can track associated costs while overseeing the budget.
As if the first three areas weren’t enough, the community association manager does even more. They manage the contracted services of the association. They are also responsible for researching better services, finding better prices, and finding appropriate vendors. This can include sharing services and maintenance employees with nearby neighborhoods to secure better prices or buying in bulk when they can. Whenever a service is slow, it is also the community manager’s job to reduce those services to save the community money.
Communication is a crucial part of running any successful business or organization. While the manager should interact with all board members when appropriate, they should only have one ‘go-to’ person to reduce confusion. This person should be the president or treasurer. What does a community association manager do in terms of communication? They coordinate communication between board members, especially when the correspondence is through email. They are also responsible for creating to-do lists for board members, support staff, and other managers in the association.
The community association manager also plays a key part in the financial aspects of the association. It is important for them to understand the financial position of the association. Their duties beyond that include (but are not limited to): reporting financial statements, monitoring the budget, giving an overview of expected income and expenses for the following month, and dealing with a cost overrun. They also manage accounts payable, ensuring everyone is paid on time for their work and the services are verified before payment.
Community association managers also deal with insurance for the association. These decisions are never solely up to the manager since they need to be brought up to the board for review and approval, but it is their duty to present the information to the board. The manager finds insurance bids, gets applications ready and presents the information to the board. When it comes to seeking loans, the community manager recommends a finance committee to work with them and the treasurer when getting a loan.
When professionals such as CPAs, attorneys, engineers, and landscape experts are required, it is the community manager’s duty to ensure the board gets feedback from respected, qualified individuals. Managers will use the information they obtain to present bids to the board. A monthly manager’s report is often required, which should include financial information, special requests and issues from residents, a summary of contracts used, and any collection information.
Managers work with the board to create a more eco-friendly, energy-efficient community within the association. This can come in the form of sustainable landscaping, energy-efficient equipment and lights, and timers on filtration systems. There are horticultural practices that can reduce waste as well, such as reducing lawn clipping waste and composting clippings and debris from trees. They may even introduce a recycling program to the community or share tips on saving water and electricity in newsletters.
Community association managers have a heavy workload. They oversee nearly every aspect of the association, getting approval from the board when needed. They review the policy to ensure it is within the laws and fair for residents. They also correspond with residents and the board via email and phone, answering questions and concerns from residents in a timely manner. They are responsible for presenting bids for services to the board, working on environmental issues, keeping records for taxes, and much more. What does a community association manager do? Simply put, they do it all.