Learn what a community association manager does and what the benefits are of hiring one
The role of a community association manager (CAM) is multifaceted. From communicating with the board to directing policy changes and overseeing maintenance, the CAM's job is to ensure that everything is running properly according to safety and legal standards and to use the most efficient methods for everything from conflict resolution to environmental considerations.
If you're considering hiring a CAM for your association, there are many benefits of doing so. Often, board members alone don't have the time to focus enough energy on these important tasks to keep the association running, as members who volunteer their time to their community on top of full-time jobs.
We'll cover what roles and responsibilities the CAM takes on, and how these delegated tasks will benefit the association.
What does a CAM do?
There are a few different categories of job responsibilities for a CAM. These include:
- Finance and insurance
- Association policy
The administrative tasks that a CAM can take on are endless. From general operations to maintaining records, there are many tasks that board members may not have the time to cover. Other administrative responsibilities include:
- Answering phone calls and responding to emails
- Providing general customer service
- Keeping records and appropriate documents up-to-date and secure
- Collecting fees and assessments from residents
Anyone who has worked in an office knows how tedious administrative work can be, especially if it's not part of your full-time job. A CAM can take over much of this work, which will, in turn, allow the association to keep more detailed, accurate records and function better overall.
Another part of a CAM's role is to oversee all maintenance within the association community. This includes maintaining common areas and community spaces to ensure they are safe, well-kept, and receive regular services provided by outside vendors such as pool care, lawn services, or cleanings.
Managing vendor relationships and all maintenance scheduling are also included in these responsibilities, so the CAM must be able to recognize what is reasonable within a contract for a given service. And the CAM is responsible for ensuring that vendors comply with their contractual obligations.
Preventative maintenance is also important – for instance, engaging a pest-control company before the warm months arrive.
The coordination of vendors and contracts is no easy task and often requires legal and contractual knowledge, not to mention organization skills. So, hiring a CAM who is experienced in these matters will save time, and even money, for the association in the long run.
Many CAMs will be responsible for coordinating communications for the association, whether that might be outside advertising or internal correspondence. This includes:
- Communication with board members, particularly coordinating with the board president
- Following up on meeting notes
- Overseeing the distribution of newsletters or community communications
- Managing advertising campaigns with the HOA budget
Allowing a full-time manager to take on these communications roles can create better-quality and more meaningful content for both internal and external purposes.
Finances, insurance, and taxes
Running an HOA is like running a business. There should be a detailed budget that must be strictly followed, taking into consideration necessities like insurance and taxes. A CAM should be well-versed in these matters to ensure that the HOA stays on track throughout the year and implements budget cuts or one-time assessments accordingly.
The CAM will monitor cash flow and have a strong grasp of expenses and income each month, while also managing the payment of invoices. Because an association's budget is not always cut and dried and can create tension between association members and board members, for instance, the CAM needs to be able to think critically and solve financial problems from a viewpoint that is objective yet diplomatic, taking into consideration the needs of these different groups.
While the board has the final say about the budget and the securing of insurance for the association, the CAM also oversees insurance applications and loan applications. These decisions are made in conjunction with what's set out in the association documents.
The CAM is also responsible for the tax process for the association and must consult with tax professionals, create reports and financial summaries, and manage tax deadlines.
Another key role of the CAM is ensuring that current policies align with the association documents and rules, that they comply with any local or federal laws, and that they are up-to-date, effective, and necessary.
Part of policy review includes important environmental considerations. Energy conservation should be implemented whenever possible, and changes might be needed in equipment, landscaping practices, pesticide use, or the waste control system. Water usage can be another big consideration, depending on location.
Association board members may be pulled in two different directions when making decisions: the HOA's bottom line or the needs of the residents. A CAM can be an objective and effective force to speak for both sides and to see which policies and budget considerations could be improved.
To learn more about legal considerations for association boards and residents, get in touch with the team at PeytonBolin today.