How to Choose the Right Community Association Manag
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Last updated: Friday, November 9, 2007

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The Board of Directors should focus on the Wants & Needs of their Association and not the every day business and administration operation.

If the Association has eighteen (18) or more units, then the Association should hire a professional property manager. This will eliminate unnecessary costs and headaches, which is associated with these types of tasks. By assigning the major day-to-day Association business, the Board of Directors would have time for what really matters to them. Directors would also have more time to prioritize projects and plan for the future.
 
Top 5 reasons why it’s time to find a new management company:

  • Due to the possibility of a conflict of interest, Directors may replace a management company appointed by the developers.
  • An existing management company resigns.
  • After a clear chance of redemption, the management company just can’t pull it together.
  • Gross negligence.
  • Lastly, an Association either serves more than fifty (50) units or carries an annual budget excess of $100,000.

After seeking a new management company through the yellow pages, newspaper, Internet via websites or reputation. Set up a date, time and place to meet for an interview. Have the same set of questions for all interviewing companies. Before the interview, have the management company supply a proposal/contract, job description and company references. Also, ask to meet with the associated manager and the manager’s assistant at or before the interview. Reviewing these documents before the interview will better help the preparation of relevant questions. Here is a list of possible questions:

  • What is the primary service of the management company?
  • How long has the company been in business?
  • Does the company have any long time acquaintances?
  • Does the company manage any associations comparable to yours?
  • Is the company participating in any continual education programs?
  • What are the procedures for handling complaints, violations and work orders forms? 
  • Is there any undefined job descriptions?
  • What are the companies after hour emergency procedures and/or policy?

After the interviews, your Association should have three (3) quality proposals. Have the Association Attorney review the management bids. Arrange for the management company to adjust any contact revisions made by the Association Attorney. Before electing a new management company, make sure everybody understands the amounts allotted for office expenses and any other outside costs. If the management company has their own landscape, pool or other services, then each one of these services must be itemized. This is the only way the Association will understand all actual costs.

Usually management contracts allow for a thirty (30) day clause for “just cause” and a sixty (60) day cancellation for any reason. Which ever management company the Association decided to go with, you can ensure the Board had made a fair, prudent and responsible decision and a new approach for the Board to meet its goals. For supporting documents, see Florida Statute below regarding definitions:

468.431 Definitions. —
(1)  “Community association” means a residential homeowners’ association in which membership is a condition of ownership of a unit in a planned unit development, or of a lot for a home or a mobile home, or of a townhouse, villa, condominium, cooperative, or other residential unit which is part of a residential development scheme and which is authorized to impose a fee which may become a lien on the parcel.
(2)  “Community association management” means any of the following practices requiring substantial specialized knowledge, judgment, and managerial skill when done for remuneration and when the association or associations served contain more than 50 units or have an annual budget or budgets in excess of $100,000: controlling or disbursing funds of a community association, preparing budgets or other financial documents for a community association, assisting in the noticing or conduct of community association meetings, and coordinating maintenance for the residential development and other day-to-day services involved with the operation of a community association. A person who performs clerical or ministerial functions under the direct supervision and control of a licensed manager or who is charged only with performing the maintenance of a community association and who does not assist in any of the management services described in this subsection is not required to be licensed under this part.
(3)  “Community association manager” means a person who is licensed pursuant to this part to perform community association management services.
(4)  “Council” means the Regulatory Council of Community Association Managers.
(5)  “Department” means the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

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