Beyond Lawn Care

Beyond Lawn Care

Wooded areas, meadows, streams and ponds are features that add value to communities. These wonderful features enhance property values, increase aesthetic appeal, improve environmental quality, eliminate noise and wind and reduce energy bills.

The responsibility to maintain our natural areas goes beyond the capabilities of lawn care providers, so it’s up to the homeowners association to properly maintain all common ground, both landscaped and natural.

That’s why the your homeowners association pays attention to water resources and quality, wildlife habitats and species diversity. With proper HOA management and maintenance, there will be great benefits to local ecosystems. Plus – it’ll save the association money!

Remember, environmental stewardship begins at the community level.

Care And Feeding Of Your Garbage Disposal

Care and Feeding of Your Garbage Disposal

The powerful roar of your garbage disposal’s motor may convince you that it can take on any garbage you throw its way, but it’s important to remember that your disposal is not a trash can. Garbage disposals are designed to grind small bits of biodegradable food waste to help prevent clogged drains. Proper use and maintenance will not only extend the life of your appliance, but will also spare you unnecessary and costly service calls.

Do:

  • Small amounts of skinless, boneless, pit-less and non-fibrous foods are safe to grind.

Don’t:

  • Shells, skins, husks, rinds and other hard or fibrous materials should not be put in the disposal (e.g., clam shells, oyster shells, corn husks, fruit pits, banana peels, avocado skins and bones).
  • Large amounts of starchy foods (e.g., noodles and rice) should not be put in the disposal. Although these foods are easily ground, they expand in water and can clog drains.

Always:

  • Run cold water when operating the disposal. Keep the water running for at least 30 seconds after you turn off the unit.

Never:

  • Use hot water when operating the disposal.
  • Put non-food materials through the disposal. This includes all types of glass, plastic and metals (e.g., bottle caps, aluminum foil and plastic wrap).
  • Put harsh chemicals in the disposal or down the drain.

Sometimes:

  • Grind bits of citrus peel to help clean and freshen the disposal.
  • Grinding a little ice once a month helps scrape away deposits and remove odors.

Maybe:

  • Running small amounts of eggshells or coffee grounds through the disposal is sometimes suggested to sharpen the blades; however some sources warn against the practice. Consult your user’s manual for recommendations specific to your model.
Big Tips For Small Fixes

Big Tips for Small Fixes

Do-it-yourself (DIY) projects can be immensely rewarding, but even a small repair can turn into a more frustrating and time-consuming job when you encounter unexpected problems. Here are some easy tips from the homeowners association for tackling common home hardware problems that will leave you with a sense of accomplishment rather than a sense of frustration:

Loose Screws: If a screw has become loose and is barely gripping, remove it. Wrap its threads with a few strands of steel wool and screw it back into the original hole. If a screw has been completely ripped out of its hole and the threads can no longer grip, slide a wooden match into the hole and then replace the screw.

Tight Screws: Twist screws into a bar of soap first to make them easier to insert. A few drops of white vinegar will help remove stubborn screws from a metal surface.

Better Grips: Improve your grip by wrapping a thick rubber band around the plastic handle of a screwdriver. This makes tightening and loosening screws less strenuous.

Hammer Help: When hammering a small nail, brad or tack, slip the fastener between the teeth of a pocket comb to protect your fingers from the hammer’s blow. If you don’t have a comb handy, you can also use a bobby pin, a paper clip or tweezers to hold the nail. When hammering a nail in a tight spot or hard-to-reach corner, a bit of modeling clay or chewing gum will hold the nail in place for the first couple of blows.

Rusted Nuts and Bolts: Removing a rusted nut or bolt can be an especially frustrating task. Pour hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice or cola over the rusted fastener and wait half an hour. The mild acid will dissolve the rust enough for the nut or bolt to turn freely.

Rusted Tools: Working with rusted tools makes any job more difficult. Clean off the rust by rubbing a paste of six parts salt and two parts lemon juice on the rusted areas with a dry cloth, then be sure to rinse and dry thoroughly.

 

Bike And Scooter Safety Tips

Bike and Scooter Safety Tips

Your homeowners association wants your children to be safe while riding their bikes and scooters in the community, taking into consideration you can’t be there to watch them all the time. Here are four steps that could increase their safety when you’re not around.

  • Teach kids how to fall. Learning how to ride correctly is only part of what keeps children safe. Falls are inevitable, and teaching your children to fall correctly will prevent many serious injuries when the inevitable happens. Teach them to roll on impact, relax their body and try to land on their padded, fleshiest parts.
  • Inspect equipment. Check bikes and scooters for cracks or dents, sharp metal parts, jutting edges and slippery surfaces. Replace any defective equipment and consult a professional for repairs. Apply self-adhesive, non-slip material to slippery surfaces.
  • Make sure your kids know only one person is allowed to each piece of equipment at one time. They might be less likely to hop on a friend’s scooter if they know it’s unsafe and they’ll have to pay for replacing it if it breaks.
  • Require protective equipment. Scooters, roller blades, bikes and similar equipment cause thousands of injuries every year. Make sure your children are wearing helmets, knee pads and elbow pads, especially if they are still in the learning stages. Buy a helmet your kid thinks is cool and you know is safe—it’s worth the extra money to know your child will like to wear it.

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.

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SCS is a member of the South Carolina Chapter of CAI

Our state’s chapter of the Community Associations Institute, The South Carolina CAI (SC-CAI) works with community associations in Greenville, Columbia, Myrtle Beach, Charleston and Hilton Head to provide them with the tools necessary to receive various accreditations.

As a CAI-certified company, Southern Community Services is confident that our managers are savvy and well-equipped to handle the wide array of tasks involved in successfully guiding HOA (a.k.a. POA) boards through day-to-day operations.

The SC-CAI serves the educational, business and networking needs of SC’s  five geographical locations to enhance property values and the quality of life in community associations by promoting leadership, excellence and professionalism.

Members include condominium, cooperative, and homeowner association volunteers, professional association managers, management companies, and those who provide services and products to community associations.

For more information, visit www.cai-sc.net.

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All SCS Community Managers are Certified by the Community Associations Institute

At Southern Community Services, our team is composed of some of the most experienced, seasoned professionals in the business. We take professional development very seriously, and we encourage our community managers to earn as many certifications as they can.

Community Associations Institute (CAI) is one of the most esteemed providers of such certifications. As a CAI-certified company, we open doors for our managers, making it easy for them to pursue multiple certifications. This in turn allows our customers to benefit from managers who are well-educated, engaged and excited about what they do.

An international organization dedicated to building better communities, CAI provides information and education to all parties who work with homeowners associations, including managers and boards of directors.

The CAI mission is to inspire professionalism, effective leadership and responsible citizenship, ideals reflected in communities that are preferred places to call home.  This is done by:

  • Advocating on behalf of community associations and CAI members before the U.S. Congress, federal regulatory agencies, state legislatures and the courts.
  • Providing globally respected professional development courses, online and in classrooms, for community managers and other industry professionals.
  • Providing professional designations that offer recognition of your achievements, as well as continuing education opportunities to help you excel and succeed.
  • Offering unsurpassed education programs for community association board members and other homeowner volunteer leaders.
  • Publishing an award-winning magazine, Common Ground™, and specialized newsletters that provide practical information and perspective about association governance and management.
  • Holding national and international events, including the Annual Conference and Exposition, and chapter events that provide one-of-a-kind opportunities to develop contacts and build support networks.
  • Publishing both web content and the largest collection of books and guides on community association governance and management available anywhere.
  • Offering the Directory of Credentialed Professionals, where you can find credentialed managers, reserve providers, insurance and risk management specialists and attorneys.
  • Offering an extensive, user-friendly Service Directory to help you find thousands of businesses and professionals who provide products and services to community associations.

 

SCS is a Member of the Building Industry Association of Central South Carolina

The Building Industry Association (BIA) of Central South Carolina, formerly the Home Builders Association of Greater Columbia (HBA), serves association members, enhances the environment for conducting business in the building industry and maintains housing as a top propriety in the greater Columbia, S.C. area.

As a member of the BIA, Southern Community Services has further opportunities to network and protect the homebuilding industry through interaction with government bodies and elected officials.

The BIA of Central South Carolina brings together people from all phases of the building industry to represent their business interests and to promote programs, policies, and education for housing consumers to obtain safe and affordable housing.

For more information, visit the BIA of Center SC website.

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SCS is an Accredited Association Management Company

As an Accredited Association Management Company (AAMC) through Community Associations Institute (CAI), SCS has a proven ability to provide its clients with the unique and diverse services a community association needs. Its managers have advanced training and a demonstrated commitment to the industry—just the type of professionals that HOA boards seek to hire. SCS is proud to be one of only six AAMC designated companies in South Carolina, and one of only 250 in the United States.

What are the requirements of the AAMC accreditation?

  • A minimum of three years of experience providing community association management services
  • A Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM) designee as the company’s senior manager
  • A staff of which 50% of managers hold a professional designation (CMCA, AMS, or PCAM)
  • Maintain fidelity, general liability, and worker’s compensation insurance in addition to meeting federal, state and local laws
  • Have client verification
  • Comply with the CAI Professional Manager Code of Ethics (Code of Ethics Enforcement Procedures)
  • Complete and submit an AAMC Application.pdf
  • Pay annual maintenance fee
  • Renew designation every three years
  • To retain the designation, all designated staff members must complete at least 12 hours of continuing education every two years

AAMC Members represent Excellence in:

  • Knowledge.  AAMC employees have passed courses on reserves, maintenance, insurance, budgeting, governance, communication, contracts and rules.  AAMC employees continually update their base of expertise by participating in professional development seminars.
  • Experience.  AAMC employees meet an experience requirement in order for the company to become an AAMC and have proven management experience and knowledge.
  • Integrity.  AAMC employees commit to upholding the highest ethical standards.  Designated managers within the company must abide by the strict rules of conduct outlined by CAI’s Professional Code of Ethics.

For more information about the AAMC accreditation, visit the website of the Community Associations Institute.

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