Whether your homeowners’ association (HOA) is large with a correspondingly large budget, or small with limited financial resources, there are ways to get outside help. All boards face the same challenges and responsibilities. Getting an expert to consult can help the board navigate those challenges. Often, large HOAs can afford a full-time HOA Manager; in smaller HOAs you may not have the budget for that - but you can still afford consulting services to set you on the right path.Management companies can assist a board of directors in preparing for those challenges and responsibilities. These companies provide professional knowledge and expertise in a wide variety of areas:
- Finances and financial reporting, especially legally required reporting.
- Accounting and bookkeeping, A/R and A/P, all managed in accordance with good business practices.
- Legal matters, both tracking state laws and regulations and civil matters such as rules enforcement, contracts, etc.
- Maintenance of the HOA’s physical assets (swimming pools, buildings) including reserve funds.
- Enforcement of HOA fees and rules.
- Acquiring third-party services – construction and maintenance, insurance, etc.
- Communications between the board and the owners.
Your HOA directors may be an especially qualified group of volunteers with significant professional experience. But has it always been that way? Are you certain it will be tomorrow? If not, then future problems could arise.
If your HOA is small or has low annual fees, it won’t have funds for even a part-time HOA manager to contract with a company for management services. An alternative solution is to contract with an HOA management company as a consultant to advise your board of directors on an as-needed basis. Having such consulting services available empowers the board to conduct business with confidence that its decisions are based on solid legal, financial and business advice.
Here are some examples of how a consulting HOA management company can help your board:
Your HOA’s financials are critical. Owners want to know their fees are well managed, the HOA’s financial stability is at stake and opportunities for mistakes and/or malfeasance abound. This is an area where your board has to do things right and where things can go terribly wrong.
An HOA management company, under a consulting contract, will conduct an audit of your HOA’s financial condition and operations, investigating and documenting:
- The current state of your HOA’s financials and whether they are in compliance with legally required reporting.
- Management of funds, including bank accounts, bookkeeping and record-keeping; and if adequate safeguards are in place to prevent mismanagement and embezzlement.
- Policies and procedures for collecting HOA fees and paying bills.
- Adequacy of existing reserve funds, if any.
- The HOA’s insurance needs.
HOA Legal Affairs
HOA legal affairs include compliance with state legislation and regulations, and civil matters such as collections, rules enforcement and contract matters. An HOA management company can consult with your board to insure the HOA is in compliance with laws and regulations in order to avoid lawsuits, especially as laws change over time. The board occasionally will need the services of an attorney. The HOA management firm will help your board manage your HOA’s affairs in ways that keep those occasions to a minimum.
An HOA management company can train and advise board members in their duties and responsibilities, and on the limits of their authority. Such training will help the HOA board in making decisions and in relations with the owners.
Every HOA relies on volunteers to get things done. However, an HOA management company can help your board create policies and procedures to guide your volunteers in the performance of their assigned tasks, insuring folks don’t confuse their own agendas with the interests of your HOA.
Whether you're looking for a full-time HOA Manager or just occasional consulting services, Hignell HOA Management is here to help. We have been serving HOA boards for over 30 years, helping directors navigate the challenges and responsibilities of managing their associations. Our clients range from small (25 units) to very large (2,300 units). We offer a full range of HOA management services, including accounting, board support, legal consultation and consulting and financial audit services.