Did you know that, in 2022, approximately 28% of the U.S. population lived in a community association? That translates to 74.2 million Americans! Many were in a condo or homeowners association (HOA), while others lived in a cooperative.
Community associations have become more popular as they offer safety and security. For example, they have round-the-clock security personnel and technology. They also offer many amenities, like swimming pools, gyms, parks, and sporting areas.
Community members don’t even have to worry about those facilities’ upkeep. After all, they have a community association manager (CAM) to rely on.
But what exactly are the role and responsibilities of CAMs? How do they make community associations work seamlessly?
We’ve shared all the answers in this guide, so keep reading.
Work With the Board of Directors (BOD)
The BOD often consists of condo unit owners or homeowners themselves. Other residents elect the board members to oversee the community’s management and maintenance.
Being a board member is voluntary, so it’s an unpaid or non-profit position. Neither does it exempt members from their community association fees.
BOD members are stellar residents, but it doesn’t mean they specialize in everything. They may be well-respected in their field, but they may not be experts in building maintenance. They may also have hectic schedules that could interfere with their board duties.
Those are among the top reasons communities hire a third-party management professional. A CAM can serve as a condominium association or HOA manager.
CAMs work with and report directly to the community’s BOD. They’re not part of the board itself, but they work hand in hand with the elected members. So if the BOD creates community policies, the CAM executes and enforces them.
Schedule Maintenance of Common Areas
Community associations have stringent Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs). CC&Rs help maintain the value of the community as a whole and its individual properties.
CC&Rs specify a community’s common areas and rules to maintain them. These are areas not owned by a single person but are for every resident’s use.
Some common areas are functional, including sidewalks, lobbies, elevators, stairs, and hallways. They can also be amenity features, like swimming pools, gyms, parks, and laundry. Parking lots can also be common areas, but some are private (e.g., one purchased by a homeowner).
Other parts of the common areas are the electrical, plumbing, or HVAC systems that serve them. The same goes for security systems, like round-the-clock CCTVs, installed in these places.
A CAM’s role is to ensure all common areas remain safe for people to use. They work with licensed contractors to schedule regular maintenance and repairs. They also negotiate contractor fees and supervise the projects.
Collect Condo or HOA Dues
Condo or HOA dues are fees paid by all property owners in the complex or community.
Part of those payments go toward the maintenance and repair of common areas. If not collected on time, it can lead to them falling into disrepair and posing safety hazards.
For example, faulty electrical systems can cause building fires. Indeed, they’re the third leading cause of residential fires in the United States. They account for an estimated 51,000 incidents yearly.
Condo or HOA fees also help pay for other expenses shared by owners, such as:
- The insurance policy for common areas
- Garbage collection and recycling services
- Water and sewage services
- Energy bills for common areas
- Pest control and landscaping
Because they cover many things, condo association or HOA fees can cost up to $1,000. Collecting these payments on time is one of the roles and responsibilities of a CAM.
Communicate With Homeowners
It’s also the responsibility of a CAM to communicate directly with homeowners. Likewise, community members can reach out to their respective CAMs.
CAMs may hold regular in-person or virtual meetings with residents. They may discuss future community projects or provide updates for ongoing ones. They may also listen to and provide solutions to problems residents have.
Many CAMs also correspond with community members via phone or email. Residents can then reach out to them directly through these platforms.
Another method CAMs use to inform the community is through a newsletter. It can be weekly or monthly, updating the community about events and projects. It may also contain reminders about upcoming HOA dues or deadlines.
Help Resolve Disputes
According to a survey, 74% of Americans say they’re friends with at least one of their neighbors. Interestingly, almost the same number (73%) said they dislike at least one.
Not everyone in community associations engages with a neighbor they dislike. However, some may do, giving rise to disagreements and disputes. If the disputing parties can’t resolve the issue, their community association manager intervenes.
A CAM listens to both parties and their grievances. They don’t take sides but offer solutions that could benefit both parties.
Depending on the matter, a CAM may also need the advice of an attorney specializing in HOA laws.
Assist in Locating Property Managers
Some communities and condos let owners rent their property out on a short-term basis. Owners who do this often hire a property manager to act as the “landlord.”
CAMs often don’t act as property managers as they already manage the entire community. This means they no longer have time to care for a specific property.
Proper managers differ from CAMs because they often specialize in managing individual properties. Aside from keeping houses or condo units in top shape, they also seek out and screen renters.
However, CAMs can still help by giving homeowners recommendations. For example, they may know highly reputable property management companies. They may also advise homeowners on what to look for when hiring one.
Know Your Community Association Manager
Remember: A community association manager helps keep the entire community safe and secure. So if not for their expertise, community associations will likely fail, even with a BOD.
So if you’ve recently moved to a community association, find out who your CAM is. They can help make your time in the community safer, more secure, and more convenient.
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