Does American HOA Management manage properties other homeowner associations?
No. Our staff specializes in the management of common interest developments consisting of condominiums, planned developments, stock cooperatives, mobile home park common interest developments, and commercial and industrial condominium properties.
If we hire your company to manage our homeowner association, how can we be assured that we will not experience the turnover of HOA managers. Our homeowner association has had more than one management company in the past. In each case, the turnover of managers has been extremely high which has caused nothing but problems for our HOA. How can we avoid this if we hire your HOA management company?
While no management company can guarantee there will not be turnover of employees, our firm minimizes turnover by doing the following: (1) Not overloading managers with too many management accounts, (2) Paying generous salaries, (3) Providing generous employee benefits, (4) Providing managers with Friday afternoons off, (5) Providing clerical and other support, and (6) Providing a company culture that managers appreciate. When association managers are off on Fridays, an owner of the company becomes the backup manager.
If we hire your company to manage our HOA, how certain is it that we will reach a person when we call? Our HOA has had more than one management company in the past. In each case, when we call, we get a voicemail response which may or may not result in the call being transferred to a person. We want to talk to someone when we have a problem. What is your procedure when a homeowner calls?
Our office is open from 9:00 am to noon and from 1:00 pm to 5:30 pm Monday through Friday. During these hours, phone calls are received by a member of our staff and directed to the appropriate person in our company. It would be highly unusual for the call to go to voicemail, and if that should happen, the call would be returned within 10 to 30 minutes. When the office is closed, we have a 24/7/365-day emergency line available to all residents. Board members are provided cell phone numbers.
Does your HOA management company sometimes decide not to offer management services to a homeowner association? If so, what are the reasons?
Our HOA has had difficulty keeping and attracting HOA management companies. I cannot comment about your homeowner association board because I have no facts to evaluate, but following is a list of the most common reasons a first-class management company would not want an association as its client: (1) The board refuses to follow the law which puts both the association and the management company at high risk of becoming a defendant in a costly lawsuit, (2) The board treats its contractors and vendors, including the management staff, with disrespect, and (3) The board has unrealistic expectations about the level of service they are entitled to receive, given the compensation they are willing to pay. Another reason is that sometimes a management company makes a proposal for management services and the board does not respond for a long period of time. While time has elapsed, the management company may have accepted other business resulting in an inability to provide sufficient staff to properly service the HOA. Some management companies will accept an unlimited number of management accounts. The better management companies will limit the number of management accounts they accept so they can provide excellent service.
Does your company offer an early meeting discount?
Yes. We offer a discount to associations that hold their board meetings during business hours, ending no later than 5:30 pm.
What is the difference between homeowner associations, community associations, and condominium associations?
We have written an article on the subject because the terms are confusing. Please see: Community Association or Homeowner Association.
Are there any homeowner associations that do not have any common area?
While the number is small, there are some common interest developments that have CC&Rs, but no common area. These associations are not subject to the Davis-Stirling Act. They are subject to their recorded CC&Rs and general state and local laws.
Does your HOA management company provide developer to homeowner transition services?
Yes. We provide homeowner association transition services and board training seminars that include a question-and-answer session. We offer our services by Zoom or in person.
Can you recommend a good mediator that has extensive experience?
Yes. See: SouthernCaliforniaMediator.net.
Our association has some unique requirements. Can you customize your service for us?
Yes. In nearly all cases we can provide the service you require. We are highly flexible and attempt to provide all necessary management services for our clients.
Will your company help our community form a Neighborhood Watch Group?
Absolutely. Contact our office for details.
Does your firm charge extra to attend board meetings on Saturday?
What functions can our management company perform in connection with board elections or other secret ballot elections?
Only two. The management company may mail Nomination Applications to the owners, but they should be returned directly to the inspector of elections in order to reduce the possibility that the management company might be drawn into any dispute regarding the election process. A better practice would be to have the inspector of elections mail out the Nomination Applications. The management company can also mail a copy of the Election Rules to every member of the association. Owners are entitled to a copy of the Election Rules by mail or by means of their being posted on the association's website.
If our association hires, American HOA Management, can we continue to use our own vendors and contractors?
Yes. Our interest is in making certain that all contractors are properly licensed and insured and treat our clients fairly. Otherwise, we have no interest in changing your contractors or vendors. However, if you are unhappy with your contractors or vendors, we are in a position to provide recommendations to your board of directors and will always offer suggestions on how to reduce costs.
Our homeowner association needs to restate our CC&Rs but we are not sure where to start. Can you assist us with the process?
Yes. We can provide you with a checklist of topics to consider from a management perspective and we can recommend an attorney who will not overcharge for the service. See: Reasons to Amend or Restate Your Association's CC&Rs and Why CC&Rs Must Be Updated. The Perfect Analogy.
What commercial bank does American HOA Management use?
We utilize the services of CIT Bank which has an excellent homeowner association division. CIT Bank is part of the CIT Group which was founded in 1908. The bank is FDIC insured and has provided us and our clients with excellent service. We strongly recommend that our HOA clients maintain their reserve accounts at CIT Bank.
Do you have anyone on staff who is familiar with mold inspections and remediation?
Yes. While our firm does not perform mold inspections or mold remediations, Michael Chulak has completed a professional course of study in mold inspections and the remediation of mold.
Do you have anyone on staff who is familiar with lead abatement?
Yes. While our firm is not involved in the lead abatement business, Michael Chulak has completed a professional course of study that meets EPA and HUD requirements for certified renovators.
If we decide to hire an on-site manager, can American HOA Management train and supervise our manager and handle any payroll responsibilities?
Are Common Interest Developments required to adopt Operating Rules?
No. Homeowner associations mayor may not adopt operating rules. Operating rules are intended to supplement CC&Rs and Bylaws not to amend them.
When a board of directors adopts operating rules, there is normally a fine schedule included to help the board enforce the rules. Most professional HOA management companies have a library of attorney approved operating rules that they make available to their community association clients. See: Adopting and Amending Operating Rules. Associations are required to adopt election rules: Election Rules Required.
Can our community association establish an operating rule that allows the board to have all units inspected once every year for dripping faucets, valves, and supply lines in order to minimize our water bill and any resulting damage?
Unless your association's CC&Rs prohibit such a rule, the board may establish one and it is highly recommended that they do so. Since leaks can result in the loss of thousands of gallons of water each year for just one unit. Dripping angle stop valves may be a sign they need to be replaced. See: Angle Stop Valves - Replacements.
Our board of directors wants the disciplinary process, including the holding of hearings relating to alleged violations of the CC&Rs and Operating Rules, to be perceived by our members as being absolutely fair and objective. Can we hire your company to preside over disciplinary hearings, leaving the board members to vote on the evidence?
Absolutely. We understand the disciplinary hearing process very well, including the requirements for both procedural due process and substantive due process.
Does your firm use an in-house accounting staff to prepare monthly financial reports for its HOA clients, or an outside accounting firm?
American HOA Management has a Chief Financial Officer (CFO), but uses an affiliated firm to perform bookkeeping services for HOA clients. The outside company reports to our CFO.
I like your website and what you offer, but our property is in Northern California. Can you still provide us with management services?
Absolutely. Our Online Management Option allows us to manage community associations anywhere in California while saving your HOA money.
Do you provide board training seminars?
Yes. American HOA Management offers board training seminars throughout California by means of Zoom Meeting or in person where practical. For additional information: FreeHOASeminars.net
Where can our board find information about mandatory earthquake retrofit requirements?
The following California cities currently have a seismic ordinance that requires retrofit work to completed for most wood-frame soft story structures and non-ductile concrete structures: Alameda, Berkeley, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Fremont, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Pasadena, Richmond, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Torrance, and West Hollywood. More cities may be added at any time. Information can be found at: Seismicordinances.com.
Can our community association hold its board meetings by Zoom?
Yes. Board meetings can be held by Zoom as long us every member is given proper notice and link instructions so they can join the meeting whether by phone or by use of a computer. In addition, at least one computer must be made available on site for those who do not have their own access so they can participate during the open meeting forum.
Our HOA has spent a great deal of money on attorney fees over the last several years as a result of various problems. Do you have any recommendations on how we can reduce our legal fees? It's becoming a major budget item.
While our management company is not licensed to practice law, we can provide you with solid management advice that is based upon strict compliance with the Davis-Stirling Act. Our advice is designed to keep your board and your homeowner association out of trouble, so you don't need to consult an attorney more often than absolutely necessary. What makes us different is the high-quality advice that we offer our HOA clients.
If we hire American HOA Management, will we be locked into a long term contract?
No. You can cancel at any time upon providing a 60 to 90 day written notice.
What happens if our property manager is unavailable when we need him or her?
We always have a backup manager for every property. In addition, every property manager has an assistant who is knowledgeable about every property. We also provide your board with our manager’s cell phone number.
If we hire American HOA Management, will the transition from our existing management company be difficult?
No. We will handle every detail.
How can American HOA Management save our association money?
By doing the following:
- Avoiding costly mistakes that result from inexperience and lack of knowledge;
- Utilizing the bidding process where appropriate;
- Taking advantage of volume discounts available to Coast;
- Reducing collection problems; and
- Minimizing the need to pay legal fees.
Does American HOA Management offer emergency service?
Yes. We offer an emergency service 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. We also provide board members with the manager’s cell phone number for emergency use.
Will you assist us in preparing an annual budget for the association?
Yes. We will assist your treasurer in preparing a draft for the board’s review and approval.
Does your company obtain bids for significant construction and maintenance projects?
Absolutely. Obtaining bids is standard operating procedure for major projects at American HOA Management.
Does your firm assist homeowners who are selling their property or refinancing their property?
Yes. We have a highly experienced escrow division, and we can also assist your condominium community to become FHA-VA approved.
Will your company assist us in getting our property FHA-VA approved?
Absolutely. FHA-VA project approved is very important. The formalized approvals increase property values while making it easy for owners with these loans to refinance their properties when desired.
Does American HOA Management produce newsletters for its management clients?
Yes. We will provide newsletters at no additional cost to its management clients, subject to certain conditions.
Will you maintain a computer log for maintenance calls and repairs?
Does your company make it a practice to scan all important documents and communications?
Will you maintain a computer log for violations of the CC&Rs and Operating Rules?
Will American HOA Management make regular inspections of our property?
The number of inspections we perform is based upon our management agreement with each client.
Do your managers take minutes at board meetings they attend?
Generally no. We don’t think it’s a good practice to divert our manager’s attention away from business during a board meeting. Normally, the manager will complete an action list for his or her own use which should parallel the minutes taken by the Secretary of the Board or an outside recording secretary service.
How many associations should a manager be able to handle effectively?
There is no simple answer. It depends on the following factors:
- The number of units/lots in each association;
- The number of meetings the manager attends each month;
- The number of inspections the manager makes each month;
- The knowledge and experience of the manager;
- Whether the homes are stacked condominiums, townhomes or detached homes;
- The geographical locations of the properties;
- Whether the manager has a property management assistant;
- Whether the manager has access to modern technology; and
- Whether the manager has clerical assistance available to help with routine phone calls, mailings, etc.
Given the variables, a manager might be assigned as few as 6 associations, or as many as 20. Please see: Management Services Available.
What is most important, is that a management company should never take on more accounts than its staff can reasonably handle.
Our homeowner association board would like to create job descriptions for each officer position. Can you help us develop them?
Yes. While by law, every director has equal voting power, the bylaws of some associations describe the duties and powers of the officers. If not, we have provided customary duties of each officer on our website. Boards have the right to create their own job descriptions. See: Duties of President. The other positions follow.
Do you meet contractors and vendors at the buildings you manage when they are working on a property?
Sometimes, but generally, no. We make every effort to utilize contractors and vendors that are trustworthy and reliable so that we are not required to pass additional labor costs on to our clients.
How many bids do you obtain for work to be done?
We generally obtain bids only for jobs exceeding $1,500. Contractors that do high quality work at a reasonable price are in high demand and do not make money generating bids. Management companies that waste the time of contractors find that the best contractors will make themselves unavailable to those management companies and their clients. Consequently, we obtain bids for larger jobs only. We expect contractors to treat our clients fairly, and we are rarely disappointed because they all want a continuing stream of work.
Do board members ever perform minor jobs at the properties you manage?
No. If they were to do so, the board member would become an employee under California law. We would be required to provide the board member with workers’ compensation and liability insurance which is expensive.
Will you review our insurance coverage?
Yes. We have an insurance administrator who will review your insurance policies annually and will make recommendations.
What is the difference between a Certificate of Liability Insurance and a Declaration Page?
There are significant differences. See: Certificates of Liability Insurance - Declaration Pages.
Do you recommend that homeowner associations carry workers' compensation insurance and earthquake insurance?
Absolutely. Associations that don’t carry these coverages are taking huge risks, including becoming a defendant in one or more lawsuits.
How can our homeowner association be more assured that our CC&Rs and Operating Rules will be followed by every member of the association and all renters?
Your board of directors can establish a schedule of fines that will apply to each violation of your association's is CC&Rs and Operating Rules. The schedule of fines can be established by adopting a specific Operating Rule.
If we hire American HOA Management can you place our building employees on your payroll?
Yes. Any employee that works at least 10 hours per week can be placed on our payroll at an additional cost.
What property management software do you use?
We use Appfolio which is a first-class software designed specifically for property management companies.
How often do you generate financial reports?
You will receive a comprehensive financial report on approximately the tenth day of each calendar month, and a year-end report that you can provide directly to your tax preparer.
Can you track building operating expenses for each individual unit?
Do you earn money on your trust accounts?
All trust accounts are non-interest bearing accounts. However, accounts do earn analysis credits that offset bank charges.
What happens if our assigned property manager is unavailable when we need him or her?
We always have a backup manager for every property and every manager has an assistant who is knowledgeable about every property.
Do you use licensed contractors for all work?
We use licensed contractors for jobs of $500 or more as required by law, but often use handymen to do smaller jobs in order to save our clients money. Many handymen are equally skilled as licensed contractors, and sometimes even more skilled, while charging less. All workers are required to have a business license, workers’ compensation insurance for their employees, and liability insurance.
How often do you pay contractors and vendors?
We write and mail checks weekly. Paying contractors each week results in better service.
Does your management company have anyone on staff with construction experience?
Yes. Our President and CEO was licensed as a general contractor for more than 50 years and has extensive knowledge and experience with construction and maintenance.
Does your company have anyone on staff who has knowledge and experience with HOA insurance?
Yes. We have an insurance administrator who has more than 20 years of direct experience with homeowner association insurance in California. He can advise your board on nearly any issue dealing with HOA insurance.
Do you handle assessment collections in-house or do you use an outside HOA assessment collection company?
Most of our collection work is handled in-house by our collections manager. Some functions may be handled by Pacific-AssociationCollections.com which is owned by our collections manager. Pacific-AssociationCollections.com provides collection services to management companies and community associations located throughout California.
Our condominium association has an uncollected judgment against a former unit owner. Can you help us collect it?
American HOA Management has an affiliate, Pacific-Rim Commercial Collections that collects unpaid judgments throughout California. Call us if you have any questions about any collection matter.
Are contractors and vendors required to pay a fee to American HOA Management before they are permitted to provide services to your management clients?
Absolutely not. While several of our competitors require the payment of a fee to become a “Certified Vendor”, we have no such requirement. While every contractor and vendor that works on properties managed by our company must be investigated, we consider that to be our responsibility, and require no payment from them.
Does your company belong to any professional organizations?
Yes. We are members of the Channel Islands (Ventura) Chapter of Community Associations Institute (CAI).
Can your company help us with the mediation of a dispute between two homeowners?
Yes. Please visit: Southern California Mediations for complete information about mediations.
I was recently elected to my board of directors and as treasurer of the board. What are the overall responsibilities of the treasurer?
The overall responsibilities of each officer position can be found with our HOA articles on this website: Duties of HOA Treasurer - Chief Financial Officer.
I was recently elected to my board of directors and as secretary of the board. What are the overall responsibilities of the secretary?
The overall responsibilities of each officer position can be found with our HOA articles on this website: Duties of HOA Secretary - Corporate Secretary.
Do volunteer directors and officers of homeowner associations receive any legal protections against personal liabilities that arise while they are performing their duties?
Yes. See Protection of HOA Directors and Officers Against Personal Liability.
What hours are you open for business?
Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to Noon and 1:00 pm to 5:30 pm. Board members are provided the cell phone numbers of our Property Supervisors so they can be reached directly in the event of an emergency.
Does American HOA Management contribute to any charitable organizations?
Yes. We contribute to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Shriners Hospitals for Children. See Charitable Contributions.
Will your management company provide services to a mutual water company?
Absolutely. We can provide the required services anywhere in California.
We appreciate your business.
American HOA Management