Town home life combines elements of single-family living with those of condominium living. This combination is reflected in the various needs of these associations.
Associations created to govern and manage a townhouse community are primarily there to provide uniformity and order. For the board of directors to effectively provide these services, a professional town home property management company is essential.
Townhouse association needs
It is the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions that defines an association as a town home association or a condominium association. The most salient feature differentiating a townhouse from a condo is the nature of the shared walls. The Declaration may also provide that each owner has a shared interest in the roof, exterior walls, driveways and/or parking lot, and common areas.
Residents of a town home community consider uniformity of its design paramount. So the association may maintain this uniformity, the board of directors create rules and regulations. They must then support the adoption of those rules and regulations. Likewise, people living in close proximity also need rules designed to keep the peace and control noise and other offensive behavior.
Townhouse associations face many of the same issues as all associations:
- Problems with renters and renting
- Obtaining proper insurance coverage to protect the buildings and prevent losses to owners who hold the wrong type of property insurance
- Noise and waste management of pets
The importance of a Townhouse Management
Professional townhouse management assists the board of directors, and by extension the home owners, in many ways.
Budgeting. The preparation and monitoring of a proper budget is one of the most important matters in townhouse management. A professional town homes manager can help the board set proper assessments, and help avoid special assessments due to budgetary shortfalls.
Collection of delinquent assessments. Assessment income is the life blood of every association. Collecting delinquent assessments is one of the most important tasks for a board of directors, yet one that most boards don’t have the necessary experience to undertake. A professional townhouse management company can work with the board to monitor delinquent owners. When required, they can work with the association’s attorney on taking proper action to collect according to the association’s governing documents and Illinois law.
Rule enforcement. Effective rules and regulations preparation and adoption is crucial because all town home communities face concerns around parking, pets, nuisance and noise. Recreational marijuana use will also become a common issue to tackle. Having a sound set of rules and regulations that include enforcement provisions, fines and other remedies is a necessity. Since it is something an association must deal with on a daily basis, most associations find that having a townhouse management company is imperative.
Legal matters. In addition to routine collections involving the association’s attorneys, town home associations face a myriad of other legal concerns. Very few association board members have a legal background. Engaging the services of an attorney specializing in association law is crucial. Likewise, having a town homes management professional well-versed in working with attorneys is a must. He or she can help the board navigate the perilous legal matters that face all associations, such as:
- updating outdated governing documents
- filing state and/or federal regulatory forms
- keeping abreast of legal news
In some cases, routine rules enforcement matters escalate into the court house. To protect the interests of the association and its owners, it is essential to have a town home property management professional working hand-in-hand with an association law attorney. For instance, discrimination controversies are increasing and few associations are equipped to respond successfully.
Contractors/vendors and projects. A major reason people buy into a townhouse association is that the association maintains things that they would otherwise be responsible for on their own. Most town home associations take care of landscaping, snow removal, exterior repairs, and sidewalk and asphalt maintenance.
However, obtaining, reviewing, and selecting contractors and vendors for this work requires experience protecting associations from unqualified or over-priced vendors. A town home property management professional is often familiar with local vendors and is experienced in negotiating terms and protecting an association from the pitfalls common in community association contracts.
Further, your townhouse management company can manage your large and small projects to ensure timelines are met, standards and specifications are adhered to, and proper completion documents are provided. And, if the association requires financing for a project, a town homes management company has the experience and resources to assist the board in acquiring competitive bank financing.
Board and owner meetings. A townhouse association in Illinois must hold periodic meetings according to the governing documents of the association and Illinois law. A town home management professional can assist the board with proper meeting scheduling and preparation of agendas and a board package of important documents. This preparation and, if desired, meeting minutes assistance, allows the board to hold effective and meaningful meetings.
Townhouse associations also find it very helpful for their property manager to provide educational information and training sessions on board member roles, duties, and obligations.