If you’ve confused homeowners associations (HOA) with property managers or vice-versa, you are not alone. A lot of people think that HOAs and property managers are the same, or at least, their functions are which is why having an HOA and a property manager at the same time is sometimes frowned upon, thinking it’s a waste of time and resources. But there are key differences between the two, and really, what a property manager does is to enable the HOA to properly function and fully serve its community.
To help you better understand the differences between an HOA and a property manager, take a look at each one’s specific functions:
1. The HOA governs the community
In general, an HOA hires the services of a property manager or a property management company. Their function is to assist the HOA in its day-to-day obligations as well as in emergencies. The scope of the work or responsibility that the property manager will handle depends on what both parties have agreed upon. In other words, being the employer, the HOA has full power over the community and its rules of governance as well as the rules and regulations that every member of the HOA must adhere to are all under the jurisdiction of the HOA.
2. The property manager works behind the scenes
A homeowners association is responsible for several things, most notably, maintaining the common areas, ensuring that all members are following rules, collecting dues and taking care of the HOA’s finances, insurance coverage, emergency response, hiring contractors, and vetting tenants where applicable.
The HOA, as a governing entity, does not physically handle all these things especially since its Board of Directors comprises volunteer homeowners who also have demanding day jobs. So who functions behind these functions? The property manager.
3. The property manager may be the HOA’s “first responder” in certain situations
There are certain situations that could be easily handled by the property manager, but again, this depends on what has been agreed upon by both parties. It could be a homeowner’s concern about a job that the contractor the HOA provided, a tenant that has been remiss in payments, etc. In these kinds of situations, the property manager may function as the “face of the HOA,” in that they are first in line for contacting the HOA for concerns. In other words, the “first responder” in certain situations.
For bigger or more serious concerns, the HOA will be notified, and a meeting between the Board of the Directors and the concerned parties may ensue.
In a nutshell, the HOA has the final say in all matters concerning the community it governs.