While the board is the one who makes important financial decisions for their communities, it’s the property manager who handles day-to-day administrative tasks and keeps the association’s buildings running smoothly. If there’s an issue in a condo building or homeowners association, the property manager is usually the first person to hear about it—but the job of community management is about much more than just acting as a sounding board for complaints.
“A property manager needs to be the jack-of-all-trades in the building,” says Keith J. Hales, president of Hales Property Management, Inc., which manages 37 small to mid-size properties in the Chicagoland area. “He or she is the one that has to handle everyday building issues—talking to contractors, making the building more efficient, dealing with the different personalities—it’s a pretty big shoe to fill in that there are so many different things that you have to know.”
Problems can run the gamut from a resident not being able to get their mail because their key broke off in the lock to assisting an attorney in assembling documents to sue a negligent contractor. The role of and expectations placed on a typical property manager are varied and sometimes complex, and having clear definitions of both can make things easier for manager and board alike.
Board training is very important to ensure that association boards understand their role in contrast to that of the property manager and efficient protocols are implemented and understood by all parties.
“Our recommendation and training includes total communication at all levels,” says Angela Falzone, property consultant of Chicago-based Association Advocates, Inc., which offers residential property consulting and project management services. “The management contract generally states there will be one liaison with the board/manager, however, a good manager will present all facts on all aspects of the business of the association to every board member.”