Sometimes an HOA manager gets the short end of the stick, but it’s part of the job and a small price to pay to help an HOA board effectively manage its homeowners association. The manager is usually seen in one of three ways but there are steps board members can take to help the community see the manager in a whole new light.
1. The Enforcer
When it comes to enforcing the rules and regulations in an Association, the Board makes the major decisions, but the manager has to enforce them. For example, if a member keeps complaining that their neighbor is making too much noise at the crack of dawn, it’s the manager who will send a letter asking them to tone it down.
A manager also understands the laws relevant to your Association and it’s their job to make sure they are being followed. You may not want to spend money to replace a fence, but if it’s out of compliance you have no choice or you’ll be faced with even bigger problems.
Resolution: Board members can endeavor to make a touchpoint with members in the Association, emphasizing that they need to read and understand the CC&Rs so they know what they can and cannot do in the first place.
2. The Bearer of Bad News
When communicating with members, the manager is the point of contact if anyone has any questions, needs, or concerns. More often than not, members will come to the manager after they’ve received some form of bad news, such as learning there will be an assessment increase.
Resolution: An HOA board should encourage members to stay informed by coming to meetings and meeting with the manager anytime they do have questions or concerns.
3. The Catalyst of Change
Members of a homeowners association often feel like a manager just stirs things up in the community once they’re hired, disturbing the peace and harmony of the Association. This is not the manager’s intent. Usually the changes being made need to happen for good reasons, such as the HOA being out of compliance and not living by the law or previous HOA boards that didn’t do their job to protect, maintain, and enhance the Association.
Resolution: The Board needs to be honest and upfront about changes that will need to happen and provide an explanation of why they need to happen. Start by helping to develop a relationship between the manager and members of the community.
Plan a meet and greet or invite members to a social gathering where there are no decisions being made. Use the time to educate them about possible changes that will need to take place and that you have the best interest of the Association in mind. There might be tension in the beginning, but assure them that the changes are for the better.
As the middle man, an HOA manager is often seen in a negative light. Being open and honest with members in the homeowners association about why the Board chose to hire a manager, and communicating the changes that will be taking place, will give the Board the opportunity to build relationships.