We have strict accounting protocols in place that provide the highest level of security to your association funds. Learn more about fiscal responsibility at SCS.

Snipers & Terrorists

Snipers & Terrorists

Out of the blue, an irate homeowner launches a smear campaign aimed directly at the board. It’s relentless and focused. The motivation may be some personal grievance, hatred of a board policy, disagreement on how the board does business in general or loathing for the whole HOA concept. Rather than seeking redress in an orderly and open way, however, often it takes the form of poison pen letters, back alley rumor mills or a terrorist-like assault at a board meeting.

Board meeting terrorism is designed to hold the board hostage to relentless rants and demands. This form of HOA terrorism is designed to directly challenge board authority and to disrupt the orderly process. As with any terrorist attack, the board’s initial reaction is usually disbelief. But, the cold reality of the assault soon becomes clear and the need to act urgent.

How should the board deal with this kind of attack? When presented a list of demands, should the items be discussed point by point? Should they be recorded in the minutes? What should be done?

Rule #1: Never negotiate with terrorists. The board is not obligated to discuss anything off the agenda. And it’s unreasonable to expect informed answers to firing line questions. The response should be, “Thanks for making your points. We’ll review them and give you a response in writing or consider them at the next board meeting.”

Rule #2: Don’t record a list of demands.

Minutes are intended to discuss in broad terms the business accomplished by the board. Specific motions should have enough detail to describe them and the outcome of the vote. It is not a forum for soap boxing, editorializing or where items are entered into “evidence”. It’s enough

for the minutes to state, “Mr. Sniper asked that the board consider issues relating to (general description).”

Rule #3: Control the Owner Forum. To encourage owner input, an Owner Forum before the meeting should give each speaker owner up to, say, 5 minutes to speak, so the board can get on with its business. Letting someone hold the board hostage should never be allowed and it’s up to the president to control such actions. An abusive person should not be allowed to continue for any length of time.

Rule #4: When attacked, respond quickly and firmly. When the attack becomes apparent, it’s the president’s job to interrupt and, if necessary, ask the attacker to leave the meeting. If the attacker refuses to comply, the president should adjourn the meeting and advise that such conduct will not be allowed at future meetings.

HOA terrorist attacks are designed to fan the flames of emotion and to promote rash response. The board needs to walk the high road and refuse to “dance”. While this isn’t easy when the attack is intense, the directors outnumber the attacker and with a unified response, should be able to defeat the challenge and even help point the terrorist toward a better way.

Used with permission from Richard Thompson of www.Regenesis.net. From Regenesis Aug. 2017 newsletter.

Expected Upkeep Enforced By Our Community Association Management Firms

Expected Upkeep Enforced by our Community Association Management Firms

The staff or volunteers you occasionally see walking around your community with clipboards or tablets are your association’s covenant enforcement officers. They’re inspecting the property to ensure that everything is working properly, that conditions are safe and that nothing is reducing property values or the quality of life in your Carolina community.

In short, they’re making sure policies and rules are being followed—from pet behavior, parking and unkempt lawns to improper exterior modifications and more. They field complaints from fellow homeowners and, if necessary, remind you (or your neighbor) when a rule has been overlooked.

The officers report their findings to the Carolina Home Association board with photos and detailed notes. Most violations are easily resolved without board action. If not, the next step is a hearing before the board—we want to hear your side of the story. Those who continue to ignore rules may be fined, or taken to more extreme measures. The most serious cases may end up in court, though we try very hard to never get to that point.

Your association’s covenant enforcement officers perform a vital function; please treat them with courtesy and respect. If you have any questions about the rules, the officers can explain them to you. Your association manager and board members are happy to listen and respond to any concerns.

When you purchased your home in one of our common-interest communities in the Carolinas, you became contractually bound to abide by the covenants that protect your association. Please review them and ensure that you are in compliance. You can find them on our website.

Why HOAs Need Professional Management

Why HOAs Need Professional Management

There’s a lot more to community association management than you may realize. It’s much more than property management; it’s also about governance—enforcing rules for associations, conducting elections and more. Your home and your ownership interest in the common elements represent a huge asset—possibly your largest asset. Doesn’t it make sense to have a knowledgeable, trained, professional community association manager watching out for your interests? Consider all they have to offer.

  • Professional managers must be aware of many laws and regulations—corporate, labor and real estate laws, also federal laws and state statutes and government regulations.
  • ŸProfessional managers must work and communicate effectively with residents, resolve disputes and facilitate communications.
  • Ÿ Professional managers must have strong personnel management skills—hiring and supervising contractors and staff.
  • Ÿ Professional managers must have a working knowledge of finances, accounting, budget preparation, taxes and insurance.
  • Ÿ Professional managers must have a keen understanding of property maintenance—landscaping, repairs and replacements, facilities upkeep and mechanical maintenance.
  • Ÿ Professional managers coach and mentor the board members who govern the association. They help conduct meetings, supervise elections and ensure compliance with governing documents. Governance is one key area where property management and community management differ.

If you’d like to learn more about what an HOA Management firm does, please contact us.

Clarifying The Community Manager’s Role

Clarifying the Community Manager’s Role

Association management boards employ highly qualified professional community managers. It is often times helpful for residents to know what the manager has—and has not—been hired to do. A paid association manager has two primary responsibilities: to carry out policies set by the board and to manage the association’s daily operations.

Some residents expect the manager to perform certain tasks that are not part of their job. When the manager doesn’t meet those expectations, residents are naturally unhappy. Since we want you to be happy, we’re offering a few clarifications to help you understand what the manager does.

  • While the manager works closely with the HOA board, he or she is an advisor, not a member of the board. Also, the manager is not your advocate with or conduit to the board. If you have a concern, send a letter or email directly to the board.
  • The manager is responsible for monitoring contractors’ performance, but not supervising them. Contractors are responsible for supervising their own personnel. If you have a problem with a contractor, notify the manager, who will forward your concerns to the board. The board will decide how to proceed under the terms of the contract.
  • The manager inspects the community regularly, but even an experienced manager won’t catch everything. Your help is essential. If you know about a potential maintenance issue, report it to the manager.
  • The manager is trained to deal with conflict, but he or she will not get involved in quarrels you might be having with your neighbor. However, if association rules are being violated, the manager is the right person to call.
  • Although the manager works for the board, he or she is available to residents. That doesn’t mean the manager will drop everything to take your call. If you need to see the manager, call and arrange a meeting. If a matter is so urgent that you need an immediate response, call the association emergency number or 911.
  • The manager is always happy to answer questions, but he or she is not the information officer. For routine inquiries, like the date of the next meeting, please read the newsletter or ask a board member.
  • The manager has a broad range of expertise, but he or she is not a consultant to the residents. Neither he or she an engineer, architect, attorney or accountant. The manager may offer opinions, but don’t expect technical advice in areas where he or she is not qualified.
  • The manager does not set policy. If you disagree with a policy or rule, you’ll get better results sending a letter or e-mail to the board than arguing with the manager.
  • Although the manager is a great resource to the association, he or she is not available 24 hours a day—except for emergencies. Getting locked out of your home may be an emergency to you, but it isn’t an association emergency. An association emergency is defined as a threat to life or property.

If you’d like to learn more about how a community manager can help your neighborhood board, contact us at Southern Community Services for a free quote.