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What is the Difference between a Homeowners Association and a Property Manager?

Posted by sonrise on July 4, 2017
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Community bylaws and property management are essential for many residential properties; including single family homes, condominiums and apartment complexes. The consistent care provided through general management, conflict resolution and maintenance ensures that the value of individual units as well as the likability of the neighborhoods and complexes is not compromised. There are different groups or individuals who might be involved in the management of residential property.

Most homeowners and tenants are not familiar with the duties of the people responsible for the care of their property and likely don’t know the differences between a homeowners association (HOA) and a property manager.

What is the Difference between a Homeowners Association and a Property Manager?

Understanding the homeowners association
There are numerous types of homes or units in housing communities such as estates, condos and subdivisions. Typically, the units are owned by different individuals but all homeowners will be universally responsible for some elements that affect the entire community including landscaping, neighborhood playgrounds and walkways.

The homeowners association is made up of a group of volunteer homeowners who live in the community. Their job is to develop and enforce rules to ensure the wellbeing of the community; these rules include the covenant, restrictions and conditions. They hire and work with the property management company to approve a community budget and oversee the work done by contractors.

The typical responsibilities and duties of a HOA:

Making and enforcing rules on property maintenance and improvement for the image of the complex or neighborhood.
Setting the amount of money required for communal property maintenance such as swimming pools and playgrounds.
Preparing a budget to determine the best way to spend the monthly dues.
Acquiring proper insurance to cover the communal areas in the estate or complex.
Choosing and hiring contractors and other service people for the community.

The responsibilities of a property manager
In most cases, the HOA will not be able to directly perform all the management tasks for the property. After all, the board of the association consists of volunteers with other professional and familial obligations. Therefore, the homeowners association will often hire a property management company to perform some of the important duties.

Here are the main duties entrusted to property managers:

Communicating with the homeowners and tenants on important community matters and changes.
Performing maintenance tasks on communal areas by hiring contractors.
Collecting the dues owed by the individuals residing in the property.
Supervising the professional contractors and service people hired for communal area developments.
Handling emergency situations presented by homeowners and tenants.

You should note that there are cases where the property manager is not employed by the HOA. For instance, if an individual owner is renting their unit in a condo complex with owner-occupied homes, the actual owner will act as the property manager or even hire their own property manager. In this case, the manager will be responsible for collecting the dues and rent from the tenant. The owner must make certain that their tenant complies with the rules set by homeowners association.

The power of the HOA

The homeowners association and its board have significant power in managing the housing community in which they reside. If you (as a homeowner or tenant) violate their rules, you will be held accountable by the authority of the HOA. For example, failure to pay dues could result in a lien on your property and poor maintenance will translate into enforced upkeep which will be charged to your account.

Son-Rise Property Management has been serving the property management needs of Bellingham and Whatcom County since 1996. Contact us today to see how we can help you find a rental property for your family or manage your rental properties.

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