Key Points for Hiring well-skilled Community Association Manager
Many community associations look after the management of their properties with the help of volunteers. They avoid hiring a community association manager because of the higher cost. Self-managing an association may save money, but the cost of not having a professional to look after the affairs of the community is way higher than the money saved. A community association without a manager will experience many costly problems in the long run.
Managing a Community Association
Running the affairs of a community is a full-time job. The important duties include fee collection, doing maintenance work, handling legal matters, financial planning and management, holding meetings, and resolving complaints. It is not easy to find volunteers with these skills. Also, these tasks are worth hours of work each day, which volunteers can hardly contribute. The rules and laws governing community associations are too challenging to be handled by someone who is not a specialist in the field.
A progressive community association will always hire a manager with the right skills, experience, and education. Community association managers are specialists in managing associations. Hiring a manager may seem expensive, but the long-term benefits are greater than the cost. Having a professional to look after the matters of the community will increase the values of the community members’ properties.
Florida Community Associations’ Management
In Florida, community association managers that provide services to associations having more than ten units or an annual budget above $1,00,000 are required to have a license. There are more than 10,000 licensed property managers in Florida. This means your association needs to hire a manager prudently. Professional service in the field is ensured by the CAM license in Florida and your association should be willing to pay for high-quality services.
Qualities of a Good Manager
When hiring a property manager, be sure he or she has a vast knowledge of how community associations operate. A good manager will have up-to-date knowledge of the laws governing community associations.
Other qualities of a professional manager include better communication, dispute resolution skills, attention to detail, and the ability to organize resources. Financial management and accounting skills are other assets of a well-skilled community manager.
Before hiring a manager, your board of directors should assess the needs of the community and define the scope of services needed. Once that is done, follow the points given below to hire a manager.
The Hiring Process
Step 1: Get a List of Qualified Candidates
The hiring process will start with getting a list of qualified candidates for the position. You can get the list from your local community association institute. Another option is to ask for references from other community associations and recruitment agencies.
Step 2: Assess the Candidates
After getting the applications, you should use your references to check how each candidate gets along with the homeowners and the boards in the properties they manage. Assess their communication and organizational skills, besides determining how they work under pressure. Evaluate the candidates on all the traits and skills you consider essential to your association. Make sure the candidates have undertaken the CAM course.
Step 3: Background Checks
Perform a background check on each of the shortlisted candidates. Review their driving, criminal, and credit histories. At this point, you should consider using the services of a screening agency. It comes at a cost, but the long-term benefits outweigh the one-time expenditure.
Step 4: Make Inquiries
Contact the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) for screening. The department will also verify whether the candidate has successfully undertaken the CAM certification online or in classroom. The Florida DBPR is responsible for issuing CAM licenses. You can even use the Better Business Bureau for the assessment of the candidates.
Step 5: Visit the Properties Managed by the Candidates
Visit the community associations that the candidates are managing. Tour the properties and pay attention to the maintenance and services being provided. Asking a few homeowners about the management service will also give you a pretty good idea about the performance of the managers.
Step 6: In-Person Interview
Call each candidate for an in-person interview. Let the candidates know the specific management needs of your association. Tell each applicant that you are interviewing other candidates as well. The board members should meet each candidate before making a selection.
The questions need to be related to the managerial needs and requirements of your association. Ask questions about their skills, experience, continuing education, and knowledge to run the matters of a community association.
The board members need to have a good understanding of the federal and state laws that regulate the hiring process. Good knowledge of CAM license will be an asset during the interview. You can even consider getting the help of an employment lawyer at this point.
Step 7: Check References
Check the references provided in the applications and contact the references to get feedback on the performance and background of the candidates.
Step 8: Make a Selection
Finally, you can now select a manager for your association. Review the association’s by-laws to make sure there are no limitations on the board’s ability to hire a manager. Before making a selection, confirm that the candidate you are hiring has CAM certification.
Step 9: Signing of Contract
After hiring the manager, use the services of a lawyer to draft a written agreement that sets out all the terms and conditions of the employment. The property manager must sign the contract before resuming work.
Be sure that the contract is made for a fixed period, and the expiration date is clearly mentioned in it. A clause about the termination of the employment (with or without any reason) must be part of the agreement.
Hiring a competent manager will ensure the provision of high-quality services for all of the homeowners in the community. The right manager will improve the quality of life for everyone and add value to each property within the community.