Recently I transitioned two small properties from supposed HOA management companies I have never heard of; this is not surprising, there are a ton of them out there. What is surprising is the amount of sheer unprofessionalism and lack of desire to assist the prior client transition smoothly and turn over the documents, which are property of the community.
What I found is both “management” companies are actually Realty companies who manage properties and, probably like Proform, just fell into the HOA Management industry. What I have to rant about is the fact neither “manager” had HOA Management certification; one had an apartment management certification and the other is in “attorney classes,” whatever that means.
When I suggested to the person in the “attorney classes” I was legally required to keep specific documents for x number of years I was corrected and told I did not, in fact, need to keep taxes for seven years. I was also told there were not financials for three years or minutes from previous meetings. I was told many, many times everything she had was sent to me via email after I kept asking for more. So, what I did was provide her with a link to what an HOA Manager is legally obligated to maintain and congratulated her on her “attorney classes.” I also mentioned I was very happy she understood the difference between the Real Estate industry versus the HOA industry; I never heard from her again. Not surprisingly, the Board was able to provide me with a ton of additional information emailed to them from the “Manager” which included some of the items I had requested.
The other “Manager” was also unhelpful and provided me with three folders and two three-ring-binders, which supposedly contained everything I needed. Well, one three-ring-binder contained duplicates of the other and I literally found four copies of the same exact thing throughout the box. The insurance information wasn’t where the book said it would be filed, there were no financials, taxes were missing from 2007 to 2013 and there wasn’t a single bank statement. Needless to say, I was again met with resistance when I explained what we are legally required to keep as HOA Managers.
So here I sit today, wondering why I am still in this industry and wondering how many “managers” out there really flat out suck? There aren’t enough good ones of us to make ourselves look good because as we all know, the negative impacts the positive more often and people don’t share their positive experiences as often as the negative. I debated trying to file a complaint about both companies but don’t think there is any recourse; HOA Managers don’t have to be legally licensed until 7/1/15 and I am hopeful the licensing will weed out these crappy managers and companies. Honestly, it is not too hard to follow the requirements of record keeping, it is spelled out for us on an easy to read document, not in legal mumbo jumbo, AND WE ARE LEGALLY REQUIRED TO DO IT!
I will step off my soapbox now, I didn’t even rant as much as I wanted, no need. My suggestion to those of you who do have an HOA management company, make sure your manager has certifications, read their LinkedIn profile, meet them one-on one so see what their personality is, do some checking on their professional experience and please, don’t assume all managers or management companies are alike- we absolutely are not. My goal has been, and continues to be, to increase functionality and awareness in HOAs. Communities deserve to be treated with respect and run as a business. Professionalism is not too much to ask for.
As for “managers” who get defensive and pass the buck, this is a tell tale sign something isn’t right and a changes needs to be made. Yes, I am a confident person and while I don’t know it all, I do know which battles to pick and sometimes I have to just remind myself to let things go and move one- sometimes the damage is done and one’s recovery will be slow and steady once in the right hands. Enough about this topic, on to the next…