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MY HOA (Property Management Company) is lacking.. What can I do to light a fire on their asses?

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Posted by2 months ago

MY HOA (Property Management Company) is lacking.. What can I do to light a fire on their asses?

Hi There,

I'm the VP on the board, and we have a president that also lives on the properties another chill dude. I've only been here for about a year. I'm a pretty chill person, I just want to make sure we don't pay more than we need to and that we don't let the shit hit the fan.

Everyone else involved is a management company. Our management company has been slacking and only responds to answers where they want to be held accountable, everything else gets thrown under the rug or they ignore it.

I follow up with them frequently and all I get is "I'll ask XYZ" on things that I have asked for a month ago, to see where we are.

Some recent examples:

  • Landscaping hasn't been done on our property for 2 months, every time I ask they say they can't get a hold of the person to schedule something they said they try and nothing. So getting fed up with how bad and trashy our parking lots are with pine cones everywhere I've taken the initiate to find someone else and end our relationship with the previous landscapers.

  • Board Packet hasn't been provided for last month

  • We paid a $50 late charge on our water bill, but we have more than enough funds in our accounts. When asked about this I get silence, I continue to email them and hold them accountable.

  • etc, other things. They sent out mailers to everyone to vote for president next year, but the address on the envelope is wrong so it gets returned to sender. Asked about this, nothing.

So my next steps are to document and CC my legal friend who will simply just document for me everything. I'm just using him mostly as a CRM and he's ok with it. I want to purposely CC the email so they can see I'm documenting everything.

  • My question is, while I hold them accountable for each email by asking where are we with (A, B, C) every week what are some other things I can do to light a fire and get them to do their jobs? Any advice would be greatly appreciated it, I don't want our HOA fees to go up because of some slack motherfuckers on the other end.

I'm not looking to get rid of them at this point, just need to hand them be held accountable for their actions, no BS me with excuses. Accountability is king.

Any advice?

EDIT:Thank you, everyone, for your suggestions and help, this is by far one of the best subs I've come across! I'll definitely put this into good use and work my way up through leverage if necessary. Thank you once more.

49 comments
95% Upvoted
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level 1

Talk to the rest of the elected members of the board and fire the PMC.

117
level 2

Yeah, I think threatening to fire them is the only way to get their attention because they don't seem too concerned otherwise.

45
level 1

They work for you. Do not forget that for a moment.

If you ran a business and had an employee like that, you'd put them on a PIP or flat out sack them, wouldn't you?

Since you don't want to sack them, do the equivalent of a written warning.

Start looking for a new management company. Likely the only way you'll get traction on this is to threaten to terminate, and you may well need to follow through. Go over the contract and check with your lawyer. Get ahead of this in case they genuinely don't care for your business.

Have a sit down with your rep at the management company. If they waffle even the slightest on giving you this meeting, point blank tell them that you need to justify to the rest of the residents why they are still your management company given their failings, and you need their help to do it. This wording approach puts you on their side - presenting it as you advocating for them (which it sounds like you're inclined to do anyway). Helps you avoid adversarial discussions and keeps things moving along.

Get them to eat that late fee btw. If it's their screw up, it comes from their accounts, not yours.

80
level 2
Op · 2 mo. ago

Thanks! this was very helpful, as a first-time buyer I'm not familiar with how HOA's operate. I took over as VP when I came in because I wanted to get involved, and I don't mind the process and meetings but I don't know what my limitations are so I move carefully. I'll talk to the president and see what is next, but this was helpful. Thank You.

27
level 1

It may be as simple as getting in touch with the management leadership and asking for a manager change.

12
level 2

Yeah, contact the BOSS of your property manager.

6
level 1

Just fire the property manager and get a new one.

8
level 2

I am on the board of an HOA. If the management company does all the accounting, billing, collections etc, changing management companies is not an easy to do. Just getting all the owners on board with a new address to send their monthly fees will be challenging.

Better to go up the chain of command with the current PM first.

3
level 1

I didn’t read you full question I apologize. I would add a motion to your next meeting to put management company out to tender to make sure you are getting value for money and make sure they are copied on it. See if that stirs them up. In the meantime contact other communities and get references for alt management companies. Remember they are supposed to be working for you not vice versa. They become very complacent if they don’t have strong leadership directing them in my experience.

7
level 1

Honestly sounds like you need to fire the property management company and get a new one. Since you're the VP, you should be able to get ahold of the PM contract easily enough and read through it. Check the contract, check your CC&Rs, make sure your Board has the authority to kick 'em to the curb, and kick 'em to the curb. A lot of property management companies (and property managers) just don't give a shit.

6
level 1

Only way to get them to notice is to hit them financially. Not sure if you can not pay them or do an escrow thing like rent. You could send them an email acting like you are looking into other PM companies- I would change companies anyway. You can report to the BBB, not sure if that will help though.

7
level 1

Since you aren't looking to get rid of them at this point, I won't say that you should solicit bids from other management companies and share the bids with the rest of the Board to increase interest in change.

Instead, I would recommend that you assign monetary value to the management co's errors and failure of duties, and work with the rest of the Board to demand compensation for the errors.

The landscaping one is a failure of the landscaper. I wouldn't work too hard against management on that.

The Board packet, weather it's written into the contract or not, is an expectation of service. the Board should request a 25-50% deduction for that month's management fees.

For the late fee, so long as the Board approved or signed the payment in a timely manner, you should request a $50 credit to cover management's error in processing,

For the mailer, management should send a correction letter to explain the error and provide replacement envelopes at their own cost.

Basically just enforce accountability. Either the management company will course correct, or they will show you that they don't want your business.

5
level 1

Do a search for the PMC business in California records (https://businesssearch.sos.ca.gov/). The records there should give you the name and address of the highest person at the company, who you can then reach out to directly. This is likely the CEO/owner.

If that person doesn't respond appropriately and turn the situation around, I'd think the next step is to see if you're able to withhold payment, since they aren't providing services. However, if it gets to that point it will almost certainly destroy the relationship, and you'll want to find another PMC anyways.

3
level 1

I am an HOA President. Normally the board has the authority to hire a new management company - we are in the process of replacing ours now.

3
level 1

Once you CC a lawyer to the email they’re not going to answer you and all correspondence will happen through their lawyer, just as an FYI.

3
level 2

And bring out the $500 an hour fees to answer emails

2
level 1

Just hire a new one. PMCs suck mostly. Yours suck even more.

2
level 1

So I write minutes for hospital committees and we use action items to track things. I would suggest you do all these things at the board meetings in person and not via email. Have them report back to you. Do it in front of the owners.

My minutes are in 3 columns: Item no, topic and discussion, and status/action items. When I task someone with something, it is listed as an action item and it is in red, and it stands out. Then when you go through the minutes for approval by the board the next month, you go through and review the red items as you approve the minutes- and ask for a status on those items before moving to new business. And they stay on the agenda until the board votes to remove it.

So instead of an email, you have these things documented in the minutes. If you regularly do not get your board package- make a note of it in the minutes. And if it happens again, put in there, "Board Member Gustaf noted that there was no board package this month, this is the second/third/4th etc time this year. Gustaf informed the property manager that this failure to deliver the package is grounds for termination of the contract, you are on notice that a lack of a board package gives you the right to immediately terminate the contract forthwith due to non-performance of duties (if they balk tell them to fuck off- you'll personally go to court if they so desire and explain it to the judge why they were fired - they won't call your bluff).

For the late payment that you got fined: demand a copy of the invoice, a copy of the cleared check. The next month it should be in your board package. Say this is the last time this happens, if it happens again it is your late fee, not ours.

After a period of time, go back through the minutes and make a matrix of all the things they are not doing correctly and then make a motion to start looking for a new property manager based on the findings. I think, at that point, things will improve.

2
level 1
· 2 mo. ago · edited 2 mo. ago

I've experienced this first hand myself. I ended up getting on the board to light a fire under their asses and let them know they are replaceable.

You need to pull up the contract you have with them and see where they are failing and call them out on it. Leave negative reviews on google/facebook, and include everyone in their company on every email you send letting them know your displeasure. It's not fun or a good look, but you are going to have to be a pest to get them to take you seriously. Don't be afraid to get assertive with them. You have to hold these people accountable.

1
level 1

Schedule a meeting between President, you, and head of the PM. They have an owner or manager. Have a meeting and lay out your complaints. Give them 1 shot to change behavior then move onto a new company if you’re still notnhappy

1
level 1

What your property management company is (or rather isn't) doing is inexcusable. It sounds like they just don't care, and aren't going to rectify the situation. I've worked in property management for a few years, and actually started out at a firm that specialized in HOAs. I've also lived in two HOAs over the years.

You need to find a new property management company yesterday. So long as the board is all in agreement, switching should be very easy. You find a new company, and they'll help you give proper notice to your current company. Process takes 30 days, unless your current contract requires a longer notice period. The new company should be able to clear up all this mess for you quickly.

1
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Created May 9, 2016