At the core of managing a condominium association is the close proximity in which residents reside. Fairness is key to keeping the peace.
Among the types of homeowner’s associations, condominium property management is the most complex, and comes with the most risk for the association board.
Condo association needs
For an association, the more common areas there are, the more rules, regulations, and maintenance is required. Condominium units share walls, ceilings and floors, and the roof belongs to the entire building. Common areas, known as common elements in condominiums, include foyers/lobbies, hallways, elevators, parking lots and/or garages, and pet relief areas.
While single-family homeowner association management services are typically the least in scope condominium management services are almost always the greatest in scope. Condo associations make up a very high percentage of all associations that we have under management—followed by town home and then single-family associations.
Why Associations Hire a Condominium Property Manager
Condominium association boards have a fiduciary responsibility to the unit owners to prepare and monitor a responsible budget. Balancing the needs of the community with financial responsibility while considering keeping the association attractive to new buyers is a careful balance. In doing so, they must consider obtaining appropriate pricing on projects large and small, and understand vendor contracts and common pitfalls. Further, setting proper assessments and planning properly to avoid special assessments will go a long way towards creating and maintaining a financially stable and thriving association. A condominium property manager is an expert in all of these things, and it is not uncommon that our first priority when signing on a new association is to recover quickly from a budget shortfall.
Maintenance and Projects
One of the great benefits of buying into a condominium association is that the association takes care of all upkeep and repairs outside of your unit. In exchange for paying assessments, the Board of Directors takes on the responsibility of landscaping, snow removal, and building maintenance. In addition, there may be a pool, clubhouse, fitness room, ponds, or walking paths to maintain. It can be challenging to select vendors and contractors that are properly insured, will do a good job in a timely fashion, and have solid contracts with a fair price. Professional condominium association managers are aware of contract pitfalls, are experienced with project costs, and focus on keeping projects in budget and on time. Further, if the association needs financing for a project, a professional condominium property manager knows how to get competitive bids from lenders and a loan structure in the best interest of the association.
Board and Owner Meetings
Condominium association governing documents require regular meetings in order to be in compliance with Illinois law. In addition, Board Members have specific roles that define the duties and obligations each must meet. A professional condominium property manager educates Board Members on their roles. In addition, he or she ensures meeting minutes are properly taken, meetings are in compliance, when to go to homeowners for approval, how many votes are needed, etc.
Pets, parking, noise, and recreational marijuana are all examples of issues that need enforcing in order to keep the peace and maintain a community that attracts good buyers. It is the Board’s responsibility to create and enforce, and sometimes evolve and modernize, the governing rules. Professional condominium association managers guide you to structure rules effectively and such that they comply with state law. Inevitably, the Board will have to deal at times with tough situations, and properly managing this is crucial to the association’s future success. Additionally, there are less obvious things that can disrupt the peace. For example, renters introduce a new stimulus. Likewise, condo associations need insurance to prevent loss or damage to shared elements, and to protect homeowners who are not properly insured. Another example is pets… a barking dog or a pet owner negligent of waste can become cause for strife.
All condominium associations deal with assessment collections. Assessments are the life blood of any association and the Board has the duty to collect delinquent assessments. It is crucial to keep late payments to a minimum. Condominium property managers help the Board with day-to-day issues, such as structuring a proper fine schedules and actively collecting unpaid assessments and other charges.
All associations also deal with their own nuances. What if you suddenly are in a situation where you don’t have enough Board members? Or the Board dissolves? Condominium association governing documents and state laws can be complex, and Boards run a risk when they aren’t aware of what they may be doing wrong. Condominium property managers are well-versed in common issues, such as:
- Handling emergencies
- Navigating discrimination issues
- New laws, such as marijuana legalization
The bigger your association, the more challenging and the greater the risk of owner unrest due to even minor missteps — and condominium property managers know when to involve your attorney.
Condo Association Management Fees
We work with associations to determine which services are of value to them, and how each will impact their condo association management fees. When it comes to budget concerns specifically, check out our case studies of how we rectify major condominium association budget problems. We can discuss with you your particular case. Or, you may only need property management accounting where a designated staff accountant takes care of your accounts receivable and accounts payable. Learn more about our homeowner’s association financial statements here.