MANAGING COMMON INTEREST DEVELOPMENTS IN THE YEAR 2011 AND THE 21 CENTURY
In recent years and months, we have experienced major changes in the world we live that have affected many, if not all, aspects of our lives and the conditions in which we live. Improved technology has changed the way in which we now perform many of our daily work tasks. We have observed major improvements to state freeways and streets that have made commuting easier. Movies and TV with their enhanced dramatics and special effects have become more entertaining. The most profound of these improvements however has been the evolutions and proliferation made in communications. Computer technology with all its advancements and refinements, in many respects, has been the main source of the changes and transitions we have experienced and enjoyed. Faster, improved, friendlier and less expensive computers have indeed made a significant and permanent impact on our business and the business community. The computer and the massive advanced features of the internet=s world wide web have forever changed the business world by providing massive quantities of current and usable information readily and literally at our fingertips . Indeed the wise and progressive business person has long ago grasped the value of these ingenious tools and integrated them into their business activities.
The new technology is obviously more adaptable to certain businesses and professions than to others. And, what=is more, some business and persons are more inclined to use this new technology than others. As for the Real Estate Management industry, the applications and ramifications are extensive and invaluable and have become common place. While certain aspects of the management process by nature cannot or will not change, many of the process, techniques and methodologies utilized by this industry in prior times are gone or will soon be gone forever.
In prior years, however, the property manager was intended to be all things to all people. Each property manager was expected to have a contemporary, working knowledge of finance, accounting, parliamentary procedure, construction, landscape, real estate, state and city laws and codes and a variety of other qualities and information and be prepared to provide the homeowner or Board of Directors with answers to questions upon request. With no place to turn for formal instruction, the property manager in most cases gained his / her knowledge on the job. Functioning in this environment was, for many property managers, a challenge. For others impossible.
Evolving from this chaos are new and improved methods of managing homeowners associations and other common interest developments. The year 2000 and the twenty first century have indeed been greeted with sophisticated property management programs and techniques designed and implemented with one main objective, to increase the value and enjoyment of property. The internet=s incredible ability to provide massive quantities of information to Boards of Directors, homeowners and property managers has made this objective a present day reality.
The following overview sets forth in detail the technicalities of managing homeowners associations and common interest developments in the year 2000 and in the 21 century.
I. STRUCTURING NEW MANAGEMENT FUNCTIONS
To ensure that all aspects of the association are professionally managed, the various management functions are divided into four (4) categories.
1. Professional Management
The function of Professional Management is to provide competent, credible and effective management services at the highest level. These services include administrative services, financial services and coordination of all management functions and services at levels.
A. Administrative Services
Administrative services include liaison between the Board of Directors and the management company. The management company is expected to provide direction and offer suggestions and recommendations to the board. Administrative services include procurement of contracts and agreements for services such as landscape, pools and maintenance as well as taxes and reserve study.
B. Financial Services
Financial services include billing and collection of association dues, payment of association bills and preparation of monthly and annual financial reports. Financial services also include collection of dues in arrears and preparation of annual Budget preform.
C. Coordination of Management Functions
A function of the management company at the administrative level is also designed to provide a buffer between the Board of Directors and the homeowners; and to provide liaison between professional management and middle management.
2. Middle Management
Assigned to the homeowners association is an agent that represents the management company and attends the meetings of the association. The middle management representative is the contact person for the homeowners and contractors. The middle management representative also receives calls and requests for service from the homeowners.
Perhaps the weakest link in the property management chain of command is with the property manager assigned to the respective association. The relative easy entry into the industry and high turnover of property managers has contributed to a mediocre level of property managers. The recent introduction of legislation by the state legislature will help improve this problem, still there is a need to improve the qualifications and skills of the middle management level administrators. Therefore, middle management is intended to gathering information and passes it on to the professional administrative level.
3. Building Maintenance Management
The Building Maintenance Management function is limited is to be performed under the direction of a licensed general contractor to assure that buildings are properly maintained.
Property managers are seldom qualified or knowledgeable about the maintenance of buildings and real property. Yet the value of property is greatly affected by the condition and appearance of the property. Therefore, this function should be performed by persons skilled and qualified to identify a buildings maintenance problems and make appropriate recommendations to correct the problem. Problems such as roof leaks, fence repairs and lighting require specialized areas of expertise. When the maintenance problem is properly diagnosed and appropriate repairs performed, the property will be correctly maintained and the costs mitigated. Well maintained properties typically have a greater value than properties not well maintained. Moreover, the CC& Rs mandate the Board of Directors to keep the property maintained.
4. Landscape Management
Landscape Maintenance like building maintenance is a specialized field that requires unique education, training and expertise. It is apparent that the beauty of property is significantly affected by the beauty and condition of the landscape. Landscape management requires a working knowledge of plants, trees, shrubs, flowers, fertilizer, trimming, planting soil conditions, soil erosion, lawns and irrigation, valves and timers. When studying an association=s financial report it is apparent that landscape is one of the most expensive line items.
It is essential that a landscape specialist be available to identify landscape problems and recommend the appropriate solution. It is certain that qualified landscape management can save associations significant amounts of money.
II. EDUCATION, TRAINING AND LICENCING
Few will dispute the need to educate and train future property managers. A course of study has been prepared to