Community association managers have a wide range of experience and expertise – here's how to use that knowledge to the fullest within your association
Hiring a community association manager (CAM) for your association is an important first step in streamlining management and relieving the association board's burden.
But are you using your CAM to the fullest? These individuals often have wide-ranging, diverse backgrounds in various industries. They can even act as a trusted adviser to the board, and many states require that CAMs be licensed and continue to invest in their educations.
CAMs can do much more than managing minor everyday operations. Here are six ways to fully engage your CAM and further community development, maintenance, and overall success.
1. Resident meetings
Because CAMs are experienced in laws and regulations and are comfortable communicating with many different kinds of people, engaging your CAM in resident meetings is a great way to use their skills further.
CAMs can answer questions residents may have about a board decision, the associations governing documents, or local laws, and they can explain any upcoming projects or events on the property. Your CAM is a great person to put forward as the face of the community.
2. Vendor management
Another way to use your CAM's skills is through vendor management. CAMs are organized, schedule-oriented people and often have experience in finance, so they're great candidates for managing vendors.
CAMs can negotiate prices and contracts, arrange vendor schedules, ensure that vendors arrive on time and perform services adequately, and vet and hire new vendors. CAMs make sure that any repairs or maintenance provided by vendors take place promptly and don't interfere with residents' activities.
CAMs can manage vendors who provide services for landscaping, trash removal, repairs, maintenance, pool care, plumbing, and many more.
3. Board planning and advising
CAMs can also be a big help with the association board. CAMs often attend board meetings to offer their expertise and insight on issues such as budget, local laws, and scheduling.
Community association boards are often composed of homeowners within the community. As such, these board members don't have the knowledge necessary to make educated decisions about legal or financial matters. CAMs can fill in any gaps in knowledge, advise the board on when it's time to hire an attorney or accountant, and also act as a liaison between the board and the legal or financial teams.
Because CAMs manage membership dues and assessments in the association, they can provide updates at board meetings. CAMs can also plan meetings, draft meeting agendas, or take notes to be dispersed to the group later.
4. Financial planning
CAMs are a great resource for financial planning. They'll be able to help the board create detailed budgets and provide budget updates at each meeting. They can hire vendors who fit within the budget and alert the board if there are any budgetary problems or large vendor payments coming up.
CAMs also deal with late invoices from vendors and initiate legal proceedings, if necessary.
5. Resident conflict and complaint resolution
Because CAMs are the face of the association and wear many different hats, they're also ideal managers of conflict resolution. Conflicts may arise between homeowners and the board, and the CAM acts as an objective third party to dispel the issue and come up with a compromise.
CAMs can speak for both the board and the community residents, making sure that all opinions are heard without taking a side. CAMs also handle conflicts between homeowners and know when to seek outside assistance.
6. Rules and regulations enforcement
CAMs in Florida must be licensed and must take active steps to keep their certifications active. As such, CAMs understand the local laws that associations and community vendors must follow, including the kind of insurance the property should or must have.
They also enforce the rules and regulations established by the association board so that residents' behavior is monitored and regulated. It's often better to have a third party to enforce association rules rather than a board member who is also a homeowner in the community.
It's easy to see why associations hire CAMs. They're knowledgeable and versatile professionals who can handle a wide range of difficult tasks and responsibilities. Consider using your CAM's talents even more by engaging him or her in the above activities.
PeytonBolin is a real estate law firm that provides services to community associations and individuals, whether related to management issues, collections, or litigation. If you need assistance for your homeowners' association or condo association, contact our team today.