My points below exaggerate problems that I commonly see, but the advice is sound:
- “Are your three brain cells still talking to each other?” Knowing how to deal with difficult people is a prerequisite to property management. Don’t aggravate a situation by making a challenging person even more difficult to deal with – this won’t solve the problem. Attempt to always maintain a professional, positive attitude. We all fail or become less than we want to be at times. Forgive yourself and others, but even in forgiveness bad actions by unit owners have consequences.
- “This is the insurance company/policy you should approve.” Property managers are usually not licensed insurance brokers or agents, and their recommendation may be wrong. Does your association insurance cover you for those types of opinions if they are wrong? Property managers can certainly identify options. However, the Board, ideally on the advice of an insurance committee, should be deciding on the amount and types of coverage purchased.
- “No, you can’t have that animal/pet, we have a no pet policy.” Emotional support animals are all the rage now and it is amazing the number of people that need emotional support who happen to buy into “no pet” buildings even when pets are allowed at an identical building 50 feet away. The law requires reasonable accommodation under certain circumstances and having a policy tailored to your association will save everyone a lot of headaches moving forward.
- “You owe $X to bring your account with our attorney current.” Once a matter is turned over for collection do not speak with the unit owner about the debt – AT ALL. Refer the person to the attorney or collector handling the matter and let them handle it. Requiring all requests for collection information, payoff statements, and other inquiries or questions to go to the person handling the matter significantly reduces the likelihood of a mistake, which ALWAYS costs the association money. If a unit owner overpaid, the association will pay them back, but if a unit owner underpaid, owners always argue that the number provided by the property manager was what they owed, and they are paid in full.
- “This association only enforces its documents when a unit owner complains because we don’t want the board members viewed as the police.” The board won’t be viewed as the bad guy if they enforce their documents all of the time. If there is a rule the association is not going to enforce, get rid of it. Some discretion always exists, but not enforcing has many more problems. So, follow and enforce the rules equally, ALL the time.
- “Here are the three bids we obtained for XYZ project.” When failing to disclose that you or a relative or a business partner has an ownership interest in one of them. If a property manager has a conflict of interest, they must disclose it.
This white paper provides additional rules for property managers.