Question: Our management company seems too busy to handle our HOA business. The board wants to evaluate other management options. Is there some form or checklist we can use? There are many management companies. How do we determine which one is best for our needs?
Answer: Changing managers should be a last resort since every company comes with strengths and weaknesses. The board should discuss specific concerns with the current manager to see if expectations can be aligned. If the manager agrees, she should be given a reasonable time period to accomplish the changes. If the manager is not interested or able to comply, beginning the search for a new manager should start with the goal of making a change within three to six months. This kind of transition is complex and the board should take its time.
Managing HOAs is a specialty. While there are many real estate management companies, there are relatively few that do this kind of work. Do not consider any that don't specialize in it and have the clients to prove it. You will want a list of references from HOA clients comparable to yours.
Develop a scope of work. HOA managers charge according to the tasks outlined in the Management Agreement. The more you ask of them, the more they charge. Regular management tasks include:
- Financial reporting, collections and bill payments.
- Supervision of maintenance and contracts.
- Rules enforcement.
- Attending meetings to advise the board.
- Responding to information requests (if it involves a unit sale, it usually carries additional charge).
- Processing insurance claims (may involve additional charge).
There is a HOA Management Screening Checklist in the Manager Issues section of www.Regenesis.net available to Gold Subscribers.
Question: My unit is on the ground floor. When I bought and moved in to my condo seven years ago, the upstairs unit was carpeted except for the bathrooms, foyer and kitchen. But recently, the upstairs owner switched to hardwood flooring. I can now hear footsteps and other noise coming from upstairs at all hours of the day and night. I notified both the upstairs owner as well as the board but nothing has been done to correct the problem. What can I do?
Answer: You have the right to peace and quiet. If the upstairs owner wants hard surface flooring, an appropriate sound barrier should have been installed under it. There are options for soundproofing your ceiling that may be cheaper than fixing the neighbor's floor but in either case, the cost should rightly be borne by the neighbor who created the need for it. Press the issue with your neighbor, with an attorney if necessary, until appropriate measures are taken. The board should also enact a detailed policy on unit flooring to avoid a repetition of this predictable problem.
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