President’s Corner – January 2018 – HOA Management Companies
I hope everyone enjoyed ringing in 2018 with their friends and families! End of the year activities in the HOA management world are not always as exciting, but they are very important. HOA’s in Viera spend the last couple of months of the year working through their budget workshops, annual members meetings, elections, board meetings and adopting the upcoming year’s budget. In going through that process for the 2018 fiscal year, there were several new HOA’s in Viera having these meetings and there was quite a lot of discussion on HOA basics and how things run in Viera. (This is where I plug the Viera Resident Orientation classes that I conduct for anyone who wants to learn more about Viera – dates and times are listed on the CVCA website calendar!). However, one question in particular from a new homeowner in the Seville neighborhood got me thinking that maybe if she had that question, others did as well. So, to kick off the new year, I thought I would discuss the role of management companies here in Viera and how incredibly important they are to the day-to-day operations of your HOA.
Let me start by saying that I have the utmost respect for all management companies. They have the hardest job – keeping all of us happy and responding to our every need and complaint. It is a very tough job and I give them all the credit in the world for making all of our lives just a little bit easier. Furthermore, my guess is most people don’t know much of what they do for us behind the scenes. Hopefully, the information provided in this article will shed some light.
First, management companies are the first line of communication for any issue regarding your community. They are a tremendous source of information on many different topics regarding Viera and your HOA. Even if your concern is not in their sphere of responsibility, they are a great place to start your inquiry and will more times than not, know the correct answer. I will always recommend starting with your management company first. Communication does not stop there either. Communication between the Board of Directors and the homeowners usually takes place through and by management. This can be the dissemination a new policy, a survey, notification of changes to your community rules or processes, meeting or social event notices, changes in vendors or just important messages. Communication also extends to the numerous phone calls, emails, texts, etc. from homeowners. Keep in mind there are over 23,000 people living in Viera so I know you can imagine how hectic just staying on top of all this can be.
The fiscal management of your HOA is also in the hands of your management company. They produce and analyze the monthly financials, receive and pay the bills, send out invoices and collect assessments, draft and execute the adopted budget, ensure tax forms are completed and taxes are paid, file the annual report, research and purchase appropriate insurance policies for the HOA, recommend and implement investment strategies and negotiate contracts.
Management companies also help the Board enforce the HOA’s governing documents such as the bylaws and the covenants. They are the go-to experts on restriction violations and architectural modifications. So, when you get a violation letter from your management company, do not take offense. We all agreed to these restrictions when we purchased our homes and they are just doing their job. Let’s just fix the problem and move on. Everyone gets these letters from time to time – yes, even I have gotten one.
They are also the record keepers for the HOA. This includes all of the owner records, contracts, minutes/agendas, financials, audits, etc. They are required by Florida Statute (Chapter 720) to keep the Association’s records in order and to respond to record requests accordingly. They also have to make sure that all meetings of the Association are posted/mailed appropriately per the bylaws.
And, perhaps the most difficult part of their job is handling all of the maintenance requirements of the HOA. Dealing with vendors/providers, handling big and small repair activities, inspections, getting bids, managing contracts and responding to emergency situations. You can’t turn your phone off when you are a Community Association Manager.
In summary, management companies are our subject matter experts in everything having to do with HOA’s and I barely even scratched the surface with this article. Personally, I feel their role is severely undervalued and I will always appreciate the support and guidance that they have given me over the years. And, trust me, I can be a handful to deal with sometimes – they deserve our thanks and respect.
So, until next time, please remember … “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” (Peter Drucker).
Eva M. Rey, President
Central Viera Community Association, Inc.