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The Top 7 Misconceptions About the HOA Community Manager

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Managing a homeowners’ association (HOA) is a significant commitment that takes ample time, knowledge, and energy. A well-run community association doesn’t come easy, and the responsibility can be a lot for an HOA’s board of directors to handle. While many boards hire professional community managers to help shoulder some of the daily operational duties, there are several misconceptions about what a community manager is, what their role entails, their power within the community, and much more.

Read on to learn more about the HOA manager, the community manager job description, and the top 7 misconceptions about community managers.

What is an HOA Community Manager?

The HOA community manager is the face, and an employee, of the HOA management company. They work closely with a community’s board of directors to perform many vital functions and resolve any complaints or issues that arise. Community managers serve as consultants, make recommendations, and execute the board’s decisions.

What’s the Community Manager Job Description?

Community manager job responsibilities vary by community, governing documents, and the HOA management contract terms. Similarly, the community manager salary is also usually determined by the manager’s years of experience, employer, and contract terms. While the specific duties of one manager may be different from another, generally, it’s the job of a community manager to handle the overall operations and administration of the association in accordance with board policies, governing documents, and applicable local, state, and federal laws and regulations.

Read “HOA Management Credential & Designation Breakdown” to learn about the industry certifications and designations for community managers.

Top 7 Misconceptions About Community Managers

A community manager does a lot to support the board of directors. They help with the heavy lifting, providing guidance, advice, and oversight in all aspects of the association, including maintenance, financial, and administrative. To ensure an effective relationship with your community manager, it’s important to recognize the misconceptions of what a community manager is and does. Here are seven.

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  1. The manager makes decisions for the community.

The most common misconception is that the manager makes the decisions and controls the board. The exact opposite is true. Communities and associations are non-profit businesses that are run by a board of directors who makes the decisions. The manager simply executes the decisions of the board and is the liaison between the board, vendors, and residents.

  1. The manager is an expert in every field.

A good manager is an expert at a lot of functions, but not everything. Luckily, they know people who are professionals and highly skilled at doing things like overseeing taxes, repairing siding, and mowing lawns. Many managers have a network of dependable contractors and vendors that can help the board carry out its directive. From lawyers and accountants to insurance agents and landscapers, you can rely on a manager to make connections, solicit bids, oversee the relationship, and manage contracts.

  1. The manager is obligated to perform duties for individual homeowners.

Many owners think that since their dues pay for the management company and any direct employees, the manager works for them. However, a community manager is responsible for community-related matters and functions defined in a contract—not personal tasks.

  1. The manager always has eyes on the community.

Even though your association may employ a full-time onsite manager solely devoted to your HOA, it doesn’t necessarily mean they constantly have eyes and ears on the whole community. While the manager may work to proactively address concerns, it’s important for residents to speak up and report issues or needs when they see something. When everyone works together, everybody wins.

  1. The manager makes a commission from collecting fees and fines.

Community managers are usually tasked with supporting the financial aspects of the association. That may include preparing the annual budget, analyzing the operating budget, understanding the reserve fund, and collecting assessments and fines. However, just because collections efforts are the responsibility of the community manager, they never benefit from the monies collected. Fees, fines, and assessments contribute to the community’s daily operational expenses and reserve funds.

Do you have a collections policy in place? Click to get a FREE Step-By-Step Guide to Developing an HOA Collections Policy.

  1. The manager is on call 24/7.

It’s true that many managers oversee various aspects of the community, but they’re not always available 24/7 to address non-emergency concerns. Typically, managers have regular working hours that are outlined in the management contract. Outside of working hours, they can usually be contacted—or provide an after-hours contact—for urgent and emergency situations.   

  1. The manager can create or change the rules.

A community manager cannot create or change the rules, but they can (and do) help enforce the HOA’s rules and regulations. A community’s board of directors is the governing body with the power and authority to amend or adopt rules. Still, you may find that a manager ensures that rules and policies are consistently enforced and clearly defined. They may even recommend solutions to resolve owner complaints and compliance issues.

The Secret Life of Community Managers

It’s easy to build misconceptions about community managers, but the relationship you have with your community manager needs to be strong and trusted. Creating and maintaining a solid relationship with your manager can make or break the success of your community. Read our free ebook, “The Secret Life of CAMs,” to get a better understanding of what a community manager is, what a community manager does, and how you can make the most of your relationship.