Recently I was asked by a friend who read one of my blogs on Midtown Patch, “What is it that you do? Don’t you just enforce rules and maintain the property?” This query made me think about the various responsibilities that those of us in community management are charged.
If you live in a high-rise condo or other community association, chances are your manager is multi-tasking on a daily basis. Community managers wear many different hats, some at the same time. Some hats include:
Referee – On occasion, we are called upon to mediate neighbor-to-neighbor issues or concerns.
Financial Advisor – We advise our boards of directors on financial matters such as: long-range capital planning, reserve contributions and spending, budgeting, common area expenditures and collection of assessments.
Project Management Specialist – We oversee community projects. Whether it is replacement of a major piece of building equipment or a small area of carpeting, we are responsible for managing and completing the project and all communication with the contractor(s), to the board, and the community regarding the status.
Plumber – You know that leak that surfaces at 5 p.m. on a Friday afternoon leading into a holiday weekend? Well, we are the folks who find the source of the leak and take measures to stop the water from ruining your holiday.
Counselor – Sometimes we are called upon by our residents to brainstorm problems or concerns, personal or professional. We listen and provide feedback.
Accountant – We prepare, review, and present financial reports to the board of directors and residents. We have to know where and how the money is being spent.
Lawn and Garden Expert – We determine if the brown spot on a beautiful green lawn is due to irrigation issues, a pest, or Fido. If a tree starts to turn brown in the middle of the summer, we must determine if this is due to tree mites or some other issue.
Reporter – We are charged with communicating the What, Why and How of situations to the board of directors, staff members, vendors, attorneys, insurance representatives and homeowners.
Teacher – Most often, we are the first point of contact for a new homeowner. We welcome them and educate them on association policies, rules and other important information about living in the community. We also teach staff members and service providers the expectations of our community.
Inspector General – We walk our properties or drive through neighborhoods inspecting for many things. Architectural Controls violations, community rules violations, quality of a vendor’s work, common area equipment, maintenance issues, are only a few of the items we inspect.
Photographer – We take photos of incidents and situations for various purposes. In the event of a loss, a photo will provide much more than words to the insurance company. Photos are also helpful when sending violation letters to residents, this helps them “remember” the rule they have violated.
Researcher – We research legal documents to make sure certain requirements are achieved. If a condo Declaration states that the annual meeting notice and annual budget must be delivered to the membership 30 days prior to the annual meeting date, the manager is responsible for making sure timely and proper notice is provided.
Private Investigator – When Fido is relieving himself over and over again in the elevator, we will take measures to determine who the responsible pet owner is. If the parking garage experiences a rash of car break-ins, we will investigate the available video footage and provide it to the proper authorities.
Advocate – We speak positively about the community we manage. We encourage residents to become knowledgeable of their community and common interest living. We bring governmental and civic concerns that may affect our community to our boards of directors.
Historian – We maintain the records of the association. Meeting minutes, resolutions, amendments, and more are typically maintained by management. It is important to keep accurate records so that future board members and others have access to the history of their community.
Student – When licensed by the Georgia Real Estate Commission as a Community Association Manager, we must complete continuing education courses to maintain the license. To maintain designations through Community Associations Institute we must also complete continuing education coursework in addition to other CAI requirements. We are constantly learning best practices and applying them in our communities.
Many people tend to think that all we do is send violation notices and mean ole collection letters. Actually for most of us, those are the two duties that we find least enjoyable. I prefer to engage residents with positive issues.
A community manager is charged to ensure everyone in our common interest community adheres to the declaration, collections policy, community restrictions, and rules. Most importantly, we must be consistent with these efforts.
So, if you ever receive a violation letter, please do not march into the management office and shoot the messenger. Your manager is only doing what he or she is required to do by the board of directors, established policies, state/federal law and the declaration.