Sperlonga Welcomes Omega Property Management as Our Newest Credit Reporting Client!

omega property management partners with sperlonga data

omega property management partners with sperlonga data

Omega Property Management has been providing homeowner association management services to the greater Minneapolis area since 1977. As one of the oldest HOA management companies in the area, Omega is committed to helping their clients be financially stable, improve their communities and manage proactively.

Sperlonga is excited to help Omega’s communities increase cash flow, decrease delinquencies and reward on-time paying owners with positive points to their credit scores through credit reporting.

To learn more about adding value to your client offerings by partnering with Sperlonga, contact us today at info@sperlongadata.com or (703)655-4408.

Society Has Allowed HOA And Condo Assessments To Become A Secondary Obligation

For too long, HOA and Condo assessment payments have taken a back seat to that of the mortgage and other banking payment obligations.  We wonder why?  Assessments fund an entire community’s ability to operate and effect tens, hundreds, or thousands of other families, while mortgage, credit card, and auto loan accounts, only affect the specific person who has the obligation.  When a neighbor doesn’t pay their assessment, other homeowners either have to foot the bill or go without critical services that they expect to receive (and have paid for) when buying a home in that community.

Why is Bank of America or Chase’s quarterly earnings more important than the ability of the community to effectively operate, cut the grass, pay for snow removal, fund its payroll, or replace a dilapidated roof?  Why must associations have special assessments or pay huge sums to attorneys to collect dues? In 2018, banks collected $34B in overdraft fees from checking account customers.  This amount alone equates to nearly half of the entire country’s HOA budgets of $80B.  Banks have no issue assessing these fees, using credit reporting, and aggressive collection practices and we as a society, completely accept it. We even expect it. At the same time, associations tend to be hypersensitive about assessing fees to homeowners who aren’t timely paying assessments or take a very relaxed approach to collection. Why is that?

This whole mantra of the mortgage taking priority over the assessment payments has historically been due to the tools that the mortgage industry uses to ensure timely payment of their obligations.  The mortgage company can foreclose, the auto lender can repossess a car, and the credit card company can sue for judgments and salary garnishments.  So, because the association industry has taken less draconian measures does that mean that their cash flow means less than the other payment industries?  It is our argument that it is simply not the case.

Association boards and their management companies need to increase their level of expectation when it comes to receiving payments timely.  Sure, it can be awkward when you see your neighbor who hasn’t paid their assessments on time at a monthly board meeting, and even more so when you see them pull up in a new car to the meeting to discuss the budget shortfall.  But why does the board continue to allow this to happen?  Is simply seeing this person more often make their non-payment alright?

Are boards simply more sensitized to non-payment than the banks?  Mortgage default rates in 2019 are hovering around 3.6%, credit card delinquency rates at 2.59%. However, HOA/Condo delinquencies are more than triple that number at 10% industry wide.  Do we as a society simply not care as much about our HOA obligations as someone’s ability to buy a house they can’t afford, buy a brand-new car or take a nice vacation?

This leads us to look at the differences between the industries which boils down to a single extremely important dynamic, banks are for profit entities and HOA/Condos are nonprofits.  Banks have every incentive to keep their interest and fees rolling in and society has accepted this.  HOA/Condos are non-profit organizations where volunteers coming from diverse backgrounds invest their free time seeking to make their communities better.  After working 40-60 hours at their jobs, these volunteers spend additional time and take the liability of being a fiduciary to their neighbors all for that one mission.  Unfortunately, some non-timely payors have taken advantage of this and it is past the time for it to stop.

It is our view that associations must be run no differently than a bank to ensure timely payment of assessments and fund budgets to allow the community to prosper.  Take the sensitivity out of it. It’s what Citi and Wells Fargo have done, and their delinquency rates and quarterly profits prove it. We ponder how many homeowners have bank stocks in their 401k or other investment portfolios and have enjoyed the steady value increases over the last 10 years.  Benefiting from the banks strict adherence to ensuring collections have increased 401k and investment returns.  However, there is a hesitation to using the same tools to preserve the largest asset most people have?

For most, their home is their largest and most valuable asset.  Association board members must continually remember that non-payment of dues has a direct effect on their largest asset, their home.  A run-down community that can’t afford to maintain itself has a dramatic effect on property values, leading in some cases to a condominium becoming “non-warrantable” or unlendable.  The condo is then only eligible to be purchased by a cash buyer, greatly reducing the liquidity and thus the price.

Standardized banking tools like credit reporting, provides an extremely powerful and strong deterrent to non-timely payment of dues.  Sperlonga’s credit reporting solution allows for associations to have one of the most widely accepted methods of ensuring cash flow used by banks and lenders.  This service is free for on-time owners and assesses a modest fee to the homeowners who aren’t paying timely.  Further, the 90% of owners who are paying timely can see substantial increases in their credit scores for making on-time payments.

In conclusion, credit reporting puts association obligations on the same level as the mortgage, credit card, or auto which desperately needs to be done to protect the largest asset most Americans own.  For over 100 million Americans to protect the largest asset they own, putting association obligations on the same level as mortgage, credit card, or auto loan obligations through credit reporting is far overdue.

-Matt Martin, CEO, Sperlonga Data & Analytics

 

Chris Majerle of Majerle Management Discusses the Impact of Over 3 Years of Credit Reporting

And as it turns out, about 25% of our communities were reporting.  And those 25%, in the first year under Sperlonga, collected 30% more of their delinquencies than the other 75% each month.

TRANSCRIPT:
Grant: All right, Chris. How are you sir?

Chris: I’m fine. How are you?

Grant: I’m doing great. Thank you, thank you. Appreciate you taking the time to do a little video testimonial for us. For all the folks at home, this is Chris Majerle, President and CEO of Majerle Management. A premier association management company in Maryland. And one of our earliest partners.

Chris: We are. I think we were in the first eight that went live.

Grant: Yes. 2016. So let’s start there. What were you doing with your collection process before Sperlonga and credit reporting became available.

Chris: Well, you know we’ve always had a delinquency problem. We’re on the north and east side of the D.C. area. Very liberal politics and judges that let people not pay and don’t penalize them. So it’s been, it’s always tough here. And we’ve always had a collection program where we’re monitoring what our attorneys are doing and reporting to the board. Often finding that they’re doing absolutely nothing. But sometimes they do a good job and we report that too. But keeping on top of the attorneys was about all we could do. We’d send out our late notices and then we’d send them over to the lawyer and try to do more than hope for the best. So we were pretty effective before, even though our numbers, for some people around the country they might say you’ve got to be kidding when you’re running 20, 30, 40% delinquency. But it was actually coming down, except in that 2007 crunch.

Grant: Right. And when you, you know, were you guys doing anything, were you providing any kind of, you know, incentives for homeowners who paid on time?

Chris: Not really. If they didn’t pay, we acted. I guess that’s I parent too. I tell them what they are doing wrong. But, not so good at telling them what they did right. Sperlonga gave us that ability where we were not doing it before. We didn’t send a statement, “Thanks for making your payment. Your balance is zero.” We didn’t do that.

Grant: Very good. Now what were you, you know, I know you’ve done a number of different tests on your portfolio. We have a chunk of it reporting. And then you’ve run tests on, you know on, these are the Majerle Management collection policy best practices. This is what we do as a company, we also advise you to use credit reporting.  Right? And then I know you had those two groups. And then you have the folks who listen to all of your advice. Right? And there’s still boards that at the end of the day that got their own free will.  Right? And don’t want to follow all of your best practices and advice. What did you see when you compared the two groups?

Chris: The last big study I did was about the end of 2017, so I look at what the numbers were for 2016 and then what were they 2017. And honestly, we’re in the middle of doing that again now for 2019, but it’s a big project. And it can skewed because one community in 2016 might have participated in our collection program, where we were monitoring attorneys and one might not. So, you know, they all use different attorneys. So I just wanted to see, all other things aside, what was happening in the communities that were in Sperlonga and what was happening in the ones that were not. And as it turns out, about 25% of our communities were reporting. And those 25%, in the first year under Sperlonga, collected 30% more of their delinquencies than the other 75% each month.

Grant: That’s awesome.

Chris: I thought so. You know our thing is to try to get delinquencies down. What works, what doesn’t. Doesn’t matter. Did the delinquencies come down?  So we also looked at what kind of collection costs did they have and we found that, umm, the 25% that were participating spent 6% less on legal fees that year versus the prior year. Whereas the other 75% of our communities paid 1.4% more. So that’s about a 7% difference in legal fees between participating and not. Assessment delinquency and total delinquency, we wanted to see those numbers improve. And it was about twice as a good when they were with Sperlonga as opposed to when they were not.

Grant: That’s awesome. That’s what we love to hear.

Chris: I thought you might.

Grant: And what…, how did you guys find us?

Chris: I’m sure it was at a CEO retreat for CAI. We go to a lot of those and we do talk to the vendors. They make you guys pay a lot to be there, so the least we could do is talk to you.

Grant: Appreciate that.

Chris: We talked quite a bit about whether or not it was legal to do this. You know, being an early adopter, we call ourselves that we are often on the bleeding edge, not just the cutting edge. So, do we want to be the first guinea pig out there to get sued for reporting debt that we shouldn’t be reporting. So we looked into that pretty heavily. You got us some legal opinions. We got some legal opinions. So it took a little while to get it going but you were still building your integrations with the software systems. So by the time you were ready to go, we were ready to pull the trigger and go too and we have not had any repercussions. We have some people who are upset. We’re in the Washington DC area so if you work for one of those companies that has three letters that would have to kill you if we tell you who we work for, you can’t have dings on your credit. So I think that plays a big part in Sperlonga’s effectiveness for us. If you’re in an area where you have a lot of government workers, whether they are state department, CIA or other workers, they’re checking the credit. They can’t have bad credit and keep their job.

Grant: Right. We were just talking to another CEO in Texas and that was one of his things that drove him the most crazy. You know he’s got FBI agents, military officers, folks that can make the payments, they just don’t. You know. It just drives him crazy.  Now have you seen your ACH, I don’t know if that’s ever a part of your study, have you seen your ACH levels rise, people that sign up for that piece to make it just like clockwork?

Chris: I have not studied that so I can’t answer that.

Grant: Very good. I don’t know if you can get a vibe for it.

Chris: Not really.

Grant: OK. And what’s it been like working with Sperlonga? I know we’ve had a couple different management software changes. Well, you guys are on that, on the bleeding edge. You know, we started with one and moved to another and then move back to a different one. Um, how, how has that process been for you?

Chris: You know, with Sperlonga I think being an early adopter, we had to go through some hoops to help you get the integrations built and more testing than others might have to do now. But now, um, I pay your bill each month. Otherwise, I don’t know what happened. Well, I send out a bill where I mark it up and I make a little bit of money. I’m not getting rich off of it, I’m making some money on it. We have a little bit of work to do only in the sense that, um, if someone does challenge the reporting, it goes through you. They sometimes tried to bypass you and call us and we just refer them back to you. “I’m sorry I can’t talk to you about it. You need to file your complaint with Sperlonga.” And they’ll go through the proper channels to get it resolved. It’s not cumbersome at all. And there’s a little bit of money in it in the markup for us to cover our time.

Grant: Awesome.

Chris: We don’t even know it’s happening.

Grant: That’s great. What, uh, now have you, do you have any, uh, you know, big wins due to Sperlonga? I mean, do you feel like this is a, you know, uh, another way to differentiate yourself in the marketplace when you’re, when you’re bidding on clients? I’m talking about the process that you can provide?

Chris: Yeah, I think so. Um, again, it’s hard to measure because there are other factors, but I think if like any product that you’re selling, uh, or any service within your program, you have to have answers to their questions. And one of the big objections we get is, I don’t want to report my neighbors to the credit bureau. So you have to have an answer for that. Why not? They’re not paying you. Maybe if you’re reporting to the credit bureau, you won’t be reporting them to anybody. Maybe you’ll leave and let them have their parking passes in their full passes. Uh, and you have to emphasize that when they pay on time, it actually increases their credit score. So we’re helping more people than we’re hurting and the ones that we’re hurting, you know, they’re hurting everybody else. Yeah. Earlier that we’re in a liberal political area. I went down and talked to a delegate. I serve on our CAI – LAC  and I was telling him the, the plight of our associations and how people who do pay have to pay 25% more sometimes to carry those who don’t. And of course his answer was, “Well, they’re not our concern.” Um, so I think for the board, for the board, it has to be our concern that they don’t pay and the others are having to pay more. So we’re willing to do whatever we can legally to get that to happen. And I think it has helped. There have been, I won’t say we’ve closed a lot of deals because we have Sperlonga, but it has been an “Oh really” a moment when we talked to perspective communities. I guess they assume that others report and when they find out, Oh no, they don’t unless they’re working with Sperlonga, they’re not reporting. I think that helps us.

Grant: Awesome. And do you have any, uh, you know, any sort of a big collection stories that come to mind where, you know, um, you know, we have, you know, some folks who, you know, we’ve been chasing this person for this many years. We turned on a credit reporting and paid their balance within…

Chris: I don’t have any specific examples of that, sorry.

Grant: OK, no worries, they’re fun to hear about.

Chris: I have lots of collections stories, but I can’t tell them to Sperlonga.

Crosstalk

Grant: I’m sorry?

Chris: I’m saving them from my book. The one we’re all going to write when we, when we give it up.

Grant: Well, and so, you know, talking to the folks at home, you know, how, how likely are you to recommend using Sperlonga?

Chris: I always recommend it, and in fact, you know, we’re just finishing up budget season. This is being recorded just before Christmas. So everybody’s getting their payment coupons in the mail now. And when we do our budgets, we put the Sperlonga cost in there, let them take it out, let them be, you know, reactive to it. We make the assumption that they would do it if they could. Um, and a couple of have signed on. A couple more have signed on because of that. Yeah, we were considering it and that’s not all it takes to get signed on. They’ve got some paperwork, but at least if they leave it in the budget, we’ll generate the paperwork and then it just gets, the switch gets flipped and they get reported. There’s no more work to it and setting it up once we’re already on board.

Grant: Exactly. I mean, that’s what we like to hear. I mean, the idea is to run just automated in the background and you know. We’ll handle any inquiries and try to save some of that workload. Do you feel like it saves, you know, you know, for those associations using it and the managers, do they, you know, you feel like their time is freed up to manage the association rather than chasing down, you know, bad debt and, you know, sending out notices, you know, I mean, if, if we’re reducing it by 30%?

Chris: I think anything, if we’re reducing our delinquencies, then we’re making it easier for the manager to get projects accomplished. Nothing’s worse than having a budget of a hundred thousand or a million or whatever, and you say you’re going to do certain things and then because of delinquencies, you can’t do half of those things. And the next time we try to get an increase, well, why should we do that? You didn’t do what you said you would do last time. So, anything you can do to cut delinquencies. And again, I think with Sperlonga, we’ve seen about a 6%, 7%, reduction in assessment delinquencies. So that’s money in the pockets for our associations to actually work with. Uh, we do put a line item in our budget to account for the delinquencies. It’s like a collection loss would be on accrual, well, where a lot of ours are on a cash basis, but you can’t spend the cash that you’re budgeting if it doesn’t come in. So we’re showing delinquency costs are as a line item. And when you show them that and they see, well, we could add a little bit more and do the credit reporting and maybe reduce that delinquency. I think that’s the way you need to get them to think, because that’s, you have to do something. If you don’t try to collect, people will not pay. As you were saying earlier, the, um, people are, are able to pay and they’re not. And why is that? Well, because their bank for their car payment is reporting and their credit card company is reporting in their mortgage company’s reporting. Why are we different? I think that it’s been a sore spot with me because management companies are always different. If the, if the utility company charges a 75 cent late fee because they took 10 days to get us their bill, they yell at us for it because we should have dated it sooner. So we’re always the ones that are responsible. And if I can put Sperlonga into effect and have a little bit more money coming in so they can actually accomplish something and I can show them that last month or last year we were budgeting for a 10% delinquency, and this year we’re budgeting for a 6% delinquency. That’s what they want to hear.

Grant: That’s huge. Absolutely. And I don’t, I, you know, I, we, we were on the same page. I don’t know why they want to treat the management company industry different all the time…

Crosstalk

Chris: They don’t complain about how much the landscaper charges, just the management company. There’s a lot more money and they don’t complain about that. They complain about the management company.

Grant: Well, we’re, we’re, we’re very happy to give you that extra tool in the toolbox and, you know, really are appreciative for, uh, you know, the years of partnership with you guys. And, uh, you know, I personally had gotten to know you and, and your wife and your team, and I think you guys are just tops, so I really, really appreciate you taking the time to let everybody at home know your thoughts.

Chris: Well, thanks for doing what you do for us. And good to know you too.

Grant: Thank you so much. Thank you, sir. I appreciate it and I will talk to you soon.

Chris: All right. Thank you.

Grant: Thanks Chris.

 

 

 

Greenboro’s Virtual Impact Property Solutions partners with Sperlonga for Credit Reporting in N.C.

VIPS has been serving the association management needs of Greensboro neighborhoods with outstanding customer service for over 20 years.


Virtual Impact Property Solutions is a leader in providing community association management with the highest designations the industry has to offer.

“Finally…a company that provides outstanding customer service as well as the experience to make our board’s job easier” – that’s what one happy client has to say about working with Virtual Impact Property Solutions. Located in Greensboro, NC, VIPS has been providing excellent customer service and association management for over 20 years. Sperlonga is proud to partner with VIPS to help improve the cash flow for their communities, reduce assessment delinquencies and help give a credit boost to their homeowners who pay their assessments on-time.

To learn more about adding value to your client offerings by partnering with Sperlonga, contact us today at info@sperlongadata.com or 818-200-0530.

Craig Huntington, President of Alliance Association Bank talks about credit reporting with Sperlonga

CRAIG HUNTINGTON, PRESIDENT OF ALLIANCE ASSOCIATION BANK TALKS ABOUT CREDIT REPORTING WITH SPERLONGA

TRANSCRIPT

Grant: Hey Craig, how are you doing?

Craig: I’m doing great. How are you doing this morning?

Grant: I’m doing wonderful. Thanks for taking the time for this little zoom interview. Really appreciate it. For all the folks at home watching, we’ve got Craig Huntington. President of Alliance Association Bank, best HOA bank in the business.

Craig: I think so.

Grant: We agree. We also have Matt Martin on, our CEO.

Martin: Thanks Grant.

Grant: So, I just wanted to take a little bit of time to talk to you. We’ve got this great management company, CEO interview series we’ve been doing and in talking to the owners of management companies about their experience on our platform and using credit reporting. I know you’ve been getting to know us for a number of years now and vetting us throughout the industry. Maybe you can talk a little bit about some of the feedback you’ve been getting from other management companies that are using the service and sort of the feedback you’ve been getting industry wide?

Craig: Yes. Well, we’ve been tracking your progress, Sperlonga, for a long time and it seems like you’ve really started hitting your stride now. A lot of management companies I’ve been speaking with are very happy with your service. They’re really lowering their delinquency rates, which in the banking world we really like. If someone wants to get a loan from us or something like that, we require a fairly low delinquency and you guys have really helped bring that down in a lot of management companies and a lot of associations. It’s been really kind of fun to watch your progress.

Grant: Right. We appreciate it and we appreciate the support. You know, a lot of the changes and formats that we have today was actually due to some of your early input and advice on pricing and the way to structure things. I do really want to thank you for that help in the very beginning,

Craig: want to see anybody succeed in our industry, we’re always looking for new out of the box ideas. And yours was one of those, I consider our bank a leader in out of the box thinking. And I think that I kind of wrote a book on doing that kind of stuff. And what you guys have brought to the market is really new and innovative and it’s helping a lot.

Grant: Yes, we’re super excited. So I know Matt Martin, our CEO comes from sort of that banking side, mortgage side of the world. I know he has a few questions he wanted to ask you on your take on some of these things as it pertains on the banking side.

[Crosstalk]

Craig: Look forward to it. Bring him on.

Matt: Again, Thanks Grant. Appreciate it. So Craig, you had talked about it a little bit, but I guess more globally, how do the late, or nonpayments, affect an association budget and their ability to operate?

Craig: Well, it’s always kind of amazed me one of the issues that we have, you know, in the bank, collecting payments on loans and whatnot, it’s pure business. It’s pure business. There’s no personality involved at all. But in the Homeowner’s Association world, you get these personalities involved sometimes. And that’s to the detriment of most HOAs and associations. I always tell people they’re running a business and yes, they have to be neighborly, but at the same time, if you let one neighbor not pay, the other neighbors have to make it up. So you’re hurting by helping somebody. So you have to kind of look out for everybody as a board member. So we think it’s very important that associations do everything they can to collect their assessments. It just helps as you said, with your budget. As I said at the beginning, it’s one person doesn’t pay, somebody else has to pay that electric bill or that landscaper, somebody has to pay it. So if everybody doesn’t pitch in, those that do pitch, you have to pitch in a little more.

Matt: Sure, sure, sure. And you brought up an interesting point, something that I’ve been spending time on, just sort of doing research around delinquency levels, and different types of credit. Mortgage defaults right now are hovering around 3.6%, you know, credit card delinquencies about 2.6% or so. But what’s been fascinating to me is when we look across the association industry, this includes your early paid defaults as well, but you’re at around 10%. It’s a sizeable jump. I mean 400% increase over the credit card. Three X the mortgage. So what do you feel like drives that type of behavior or that increased delinquency level because it’s just so much higher?

Craig: Well yes, I guess it gets back to the friendship or the personality. It’s like everybody tells you never loan money to your relatives or your friends. Which I’ve done personally myself and every time I do it, I’m not alone. If I get paid back, it’s a plus. And the board members sometimes feel that same way, they don’t want to hurt their neighbor by making them pay. But like I said before, it really hurts their other neighbors by not enforcing those assessments and making everybody pay. And so, they don’t look at it as a business job. They look at it as more of a neighborly thing and they really need to get past that, Homeowners Associations, they need to get past that.

Matt: Sure, sure, sure. You bring up an interesting point, right? You think about the board members or management company of the bank and their responsibility to shareholders and they’re not going to not collect payments for any reason and that structure just sort of makes the credit and credit world work. And so, having that sort of shifted a little bit differently can create some challenges. What have you found that does work well for management companies today in collecting their assessments and what doesn’t work as well as it may have in the past?

Craig: Well, I think it’s very important that a good management company and the association follow their policies. It’s very important to have a good strong collection policy and follow it to the letter across the board. If you let one person slide and you might let five people slide. So you just need to follow your policy and do the lanes when you need to do them. And I think that using something like Sperlonga is a very good asset. It’s a great, would I say arrow to have in your quiver nowadays besides liens and foreclosures, that stuff gets very expensive, especially in states that don’t allow non judicial foreclosure, to foreclosure in someone is very very expensive for both. And that’s what people don’t seem to understand. It’s expensive for the homeowner if you let it go to foreclosure, it’s very expensive. So doing something like what you do by credit reporting and people respond to that much quicker, it’s much less expensive than paying an attorney $200 an hour and having a homeowner have to pay that because the association is not going to pay the attorney, the homeowner that’s delinquent is going to end up paying the attorney.

So I believe doing something like what you do in credit reporting is actually a service to the homeowner that is delinquent. It’s helping them take responsibility.

Matt: Sure, sure. We absolutely agree.

[Crosstalk]

Grant: Totally agree.

Matt: So you brought up a point earlier, I am just wanting to see if you could expand on a little bit more. So when the lending to a community, what are the key factors you’re looking for in making your underwriting decision?

Craig: Well, the very first thing we look at is delinquency. If the delinquencies are high, we don’t go any farther than that. That is the association pays back the bank by their assessments and that’s the only really thing that we have. We can’t take the elevator, we can’t take their swimming pool, we can’t take their front gate. So the only collateral we have is those assessments. So the very first thing the bank looks at is their delinquency rate. And if it’s over 10 they can pretty much forget any bank loaning them any money. The more below 10 it is, the better chances they’re going to have to get a loan. And the lower interest rates you’re going to pay if they have lower delinquencies.

[Crosstalk]

Grant: Sure. That’s a big…

Matt: Go on [inaudible 09:32].

Grant: No, I was just going to say, you know, that’s another big, big piece, you know? Let’s say they’re under 10% and they get approved, but the farther down 10% the lower the interest rate is. So really, you know?

Craig: That has a big impact. You think of the FICO score for an individual, if you have a 780 or 800 FICO score, your interest rates going to be much, much lower than if you have a 650 or a 620. And it’s the same thing for a Homeowner’s Association. The delinquency is their FICO score to the bank. And if it’s high, you are going to pay a very high interest rate. If it’s lower, you’re going to pay a lower interest rate.

Grant: I mean, and that’s one of the things that a lot of people overlook I think too. We get, you know, really focused on the reduction to the delinquent account. And you know, how much we are helping the association reduce the delinquencies, recover money. But we’re also, you know, the companies that get really successful with our service are focused on 95% of their homeowners are going to be getting those positive points every single month, you know, 50 to 100 point increase on your FICO score. They’re reaping the rewards or they’re paying lower auto loan rates, lower credit card rates, lower mortgage rates. So that’s something we really are, you know, I personally loved the idea that we’re helping out so many people through that. And they’re finally getting rewarded, right?

Craig: You are correct [inaudible 11:00] You know, back in the old days when I owned my own management company, we actually did a little credit reporting ourselves, but only to the delinquent, only to the people delinquent. But by reporting those that are paying timely, it’s just another boost. You’re right, it’s another little cherry for their own FICO score. So the reality is if 95% of your homeowners are paying on time, you’re helping 95% of your homeowners get a higher FICO score. I don’t know what your percentage are, but if it raises as high as you say, that’s a tremendous boost.

Grant: Its Huge. That’s something we’re really proud of. I mean that, that piece often goes unlooked.

Craig: Yes. I can imagine.

Matt: Just want to get your view on it again. As Grant mentioned, my background in the mortgage finance world. And so one of the things that we would see happen sometimes is where if a condominium association’s delinquency rate goes too high, the condominium would be considered unwarrantable, which means no lender on the mortgage side would lend to anyone wanting to buy a property in that community. And obviously that’s because the delinquencies are so high now, it looks like the liquidity of that condominium has just you know, dropped precipitously. And so it leaves it to the, or the only person who is able to buy a unit in that condominium as a cash buyer. And cash buyers simply, supply and demand, generally going to pay less.

And so, just another sort of point that I bring up is around ensuring people’s property values. It’s so important to make sure that their condominium fees and association fees are paid current. Because, it’s going to have devastating effects to the valuation itself.

Craig: Oh, that’s absolutely correct. If an Association’s delinquency gets too high, then they’re not warrantable as you pointed out. And then they can’t get Freddie Mac and Fannie May pricing on their loans. And there are some lenders out there, but man, they’re going to pay a really high rate for those loans. And it does, it devalues the property. If I can buy one condo that’s 2000 square feet for 200 grand and another one that’s 2000 square feet is going to cost me 250 grand, I’m going to go for the $200,000 one. You know, that’s going to be less interest. It’s a no brainer. And if you let your condo become unwarranted, you’re really doing a disservice to your homeowners. A real disservice.

Matt: Sure. I mean, why do you feel like banks and lenders and other financial institutions, and why do you feel like they understand and value credit reporting so much more than maybe some other industries? Why are they utilizing it?

Craig: Well, I think that’s where our world is. As I always tell people, “Our dollars are our widgets and we go out to sell those widgets.” We want to make sure we’re getting it paid for them. And FICO scores really kind of tell us how a person’s doing. Now, a lot of times people have a low FICO score and they got into something, you know, a health problem or something that is not their fault, but it’s still, they haven’t paid back the loans. And as I said, it’s pretty cut and dry in the banking world. We give you money, we want you to pay us back. And the FICO score tells us exactly what’s going on and your credit score tells us where they stand in and where they’ve been. And anything anybody can do to help improve that FICO score is doing very, very well.

And I think that’s one of the things, as we talked about before, your customers and management companies and homeowners associations don’t realize that they don’t only use this process to kind of gain the person that doesn’t pay, but it’s more like encouraging them to pay. But you’re really helping those that do pay. So it’s a double edged sword. It’s a great thing. It’s a win-win for the homeowner’s association. They encourage those that aren’t paying to pay and they reward those that are paying with a higher credit score. It’s really the up and coming thing. And I think you guys have done a real service for the HOA world.

Matt: Well, we appreciate that. And again, I guess to add on to that. How do you see the importance of someone’s credit score in today’s environment than maybe 20 years ago?

Craig: Oh, I mean, it was important 20 years ago, but it’s even more important now. And I’ll tell you and I’ll give you an example for myself that maybe 30 years ago I can walk into the local bank where I did business and say I need 10,000 bucks. And they’d put it in my account just with a smile and a signature. I remember going to the bank about maybe 15 years ago. I wanted to buy a couple of jet-skis to tell you the truth. And I was a little cash poor at the time. I had some investments to coming due. So I went to bank. I said, “I want $15,000.” And they said, “Well, we want, you know, your house. We want your firstborn son. We want the world.” And I’m looking at them and go, “What are you talking about? It me. Just give me the $15,000.” But the Federal Government has pushed back so hard on us banks and they’ve made all the rules. So the rules are, if they gave me the $15,000, they would have to give just about anybody that walked in the door the $15,000 bucks on a smile.

So banks now are even more and more focused on FICO scores. It gives them some measurement of what a person can – whether they’re going to pay it back or not. And you’ll find a lot of times you walk in and get a credit card or something. They’re going to look at your credit score and that’s it. Nothing else. They’re not going to look at what kind of assets you have or anything. Your credit score is really, really important.

Matt: And to echo that, it’s interesting now, you know, there are mortgage lending products that solely look at the loan to value and the credit score. They don’t underwrite anything else because they feel like those two factors are enough to under write and offer a mortgage to someone, it’s a really good rate. So, yes, we’ve definitely seen that across the board. The credit score is becoming so much more important as there’s more visibility and transparency into consumer’s behavior and things along those lines.

So, I guess, to sort up sum up, is there any reason why an association shouldn’t utilize credit reporting. And I guess the second part of the question is, would you recommend that associations utilize credit reporting?

Craig: I strongly recommended that. I can’t see any reason why an association would not use credit reporting. I can’t think of one and I haven’t had anybody tell me one yet at all. That’s pretty easy question. They should do it.

[Laughter]

Matt: Well Craig, that’s all I have. I really appreciate you taking time today. Grant, if you have anything else you want to add?

Grant: Yes, no, that’s really great. I mean just thank you so much again for all the help from the beginning. And your advice has been invaluable and your knowledge of the industry is the best…

[Crosstalk]

Grant: Thank you again so much.

Craig: It’s just because I’m an old guy Grant, that’s why. I’ve been around longer than anybody else.

Grant: You’re very wise. “I’m not old, I’m wise.”

Craig: There you go. I like that. Well thanks fellas. Good luck, you keep growing and doing a great job for the industry.

Grant: Appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Craig: All right. Bye now.

END

PRM Chicago Joins Sperlonga’s Family of Credit Reporting Clients!

PRM Chicago has been serving Chicagoland area community associations since 2003.


Phoenix Rising Management (PRM) is a veteran owned and operated, full service property management company based in Chicago, IL.

PRM Chicago is an Accredited Association Management Company (AAMC), which certifies that they have the skills, experience, and integrity to help their communities succeed. Their managers have advanced training and demonstrated commitment to the association industry. Whether you live in a small vintage walk-up, a mid-rise courtyard property or a high rise building, PRM Chicago provides homeowner’s with an exemplary management service.

Sperlonga is excited to partner with PRM Chicago to help improve the account receivables for their communities, reduce assessment delinquencies and help give a credit boost to their homeowners who pay their assessments on-time.

To learn more about adding value to your client offerings by partnering with Sperlonga, contact us today at info@sperlongadata.com or 818-200-0530.

GNO Property Management and Sperlonga Talk Credit Reporting Benefits

TRANSCRIPT:

Grant: Robert, how are you sir?

Robert: Doing well, thank you.

Grant: Good to hear. Good to hear. Thank you for joining me on zoom today for this little video interview. I really appreciate it.

Robert: Absolutely.

Grant: We got a Robert Phillips, President and CEO of GNO Property Management out of Louisiana. And they are famous in that state. They are one of the biggest investment managed and we’re really proud to partner with you.

Robert: Absolutely. We’ve enjoyed it.

Grant: What were you doing before Sperlonga was added to your collection process?

Robert: We were following the same kind of archaic ritual for collections that everybody was. You know, we would send demand letters, we’d follow up with a lien, get a judgment, try and get the people their day in court. And then it’s just a function of if they’re going to pay or are you going to continue to pursue them. The next step would cost more money, which was to go and garnish wages. And it was a long process. It was an expensive process that had probably a success rate of about 40%. The people who really wanted to be defiant, they would do just fine. There was just no way other way to get them to stop being that way. A few neighborhoods got desperate and they originally thought, “Oh, let’s offer them a discount if they pay their dues.” Then they realize that gets them into even more of a budget shortfall. So no benefit to a person if they did pay on time other than the fact that they knew that they had paid.

Grant: We heard that previously where they try to incentivize and pay early, pay in advance, we’ll give you a discount and then I’ll, you know, just works off to where we were. We didn’t get full payment.

Robert: Absolutely.

Grant: So, how did you guys first hear about us, you know, do you recall? It’s been a little while.

Robert: So, I heard about you actually first from a phone call from you all. Going to all the CAI and the CEO conferences and just being in this business, now it’s been 20, 21 years. I think. Everybody kept asking, “Why can’t we report to the credit bureau? Why can’t we report to the credit bureau?” And there was no good answer for that, other than we just can’t. And then I remember, I think I received a call from, I think it was your sales division who said, “You know, we want to talk to you about credit reporting.”

And so, being busy, they said, well, what’s your email address? And send me some information on it. And I immediately picked up the phone and called back and I said, okay, I can finish the sentence, you know, this is something that’s been needed for a long time. And it just made sense. And so we went with it. And then I went to the next conference and people started asking me about Sperlonga. And “Do I use it? What’s it like? What’s the transition like? What’s, how’s it received by the customer?” And so, it was just a natural progression in that way.

Grant: And one of our early adopters, you know, that group is called and been reporting since 2017. And we just ran the performance reports and you have recovered $288,000 today for the associations that are using credit reporting. In total, the total number of delinquent accounts has been reduced by 68%. Were you shocked when you hear those numbers? What does that mean $288,000 into the associations? Like what does that mean to like…?

Robert: Before Sperlonga, we would have minor victories. You might pick up a $1500 delinquent or you might pick up a $2500 delinquent. The people who owed more than more than $5,000, you might get one of those a year. And that’s just because they either are selling their house or they’re going through a divorce, just wanting to liquidate things so that they’re estrange spouse wouldn’t get ahold of it or whatever. So now to have the number that we’re getting and to have it work in tandem with what we were doing before, it’s amazing because now the associations don’t have the ongoing expensive legal for every person that’s delinquent. Now it’s, we’re able to focus more of a laser sight on who we want to go after with an attorney versus going after everybody who owes money. And it’s really streamlined. It’s made our efforts better, more efficient. The attorneys don’t get burned up because they’re having success. And with success comes more customers and more basis for what they do. So it’s good.

Grant: Right. And I know you work with some of the top law firms in Louisiana and I think we were talking to one the other day. I mean, what was his take on the service?

Robert: You know, at first when he heard about it, he was blown away because he had worked with other management companies and then started working with us and wasn’t aware that we could do this. So he started doing a little bit of research and then immediately once he got done doing this two days of research on it, he was like, “This is brilliant.” And he goes, “I cannot believe every management company in Louisiana isn’t using this.” I told him, I said, “I wish they were, but I’m also kind of glad they’re not.” Because it’s…

[Laughter]

Grant: Right. It gives you that competitive advantage.

Robert: Yes it’s really helped him especially with some of the big tickets. I mean, we collected a $25,000 delinquency that we’d been chasing for about six years. And what happened. The guy that was alluding the association for all those years, he decided he wanted an open a business and in order to get the business loan, he had to pay off all of his debt. And we were worried. And so what happened was it was dinging his credit. Otherwise he probably could’ve gotten away with it, not showing up when he went to go get that new line of credit for his business. But because it was on his credit report, they said, “What is this?” And I’m sure his comment was, “Oh great.” He sent us a check and paid it off, and now he’s a dues paying member of society. Before he was not, so…

Grant: Right. Back to good graces with the community.

Robert: Yes.

Grant: No longer social pariah.

Robert: That’s right. Absolutely.

Grant: That’s awesome. We love those stories. Love hearing that. I mean that’s certainly what we just live for. We love being able to help those associations. And did you expect this kind of result when you first started or you just…?

Robert: No, I did not expect it. I knew that it would improve what we were doing or I was hoping it would improve it. But I didn’t expect that the rate of return that we were going to get on it. The one thing I was a little shocked about was from the customer standpoint. You have all these customers that we have that would, board members who would constantly say, “Why can’t we report? Why can’t we report?” People in the audience, “Why can’t you go to credit bureau?” And then we started to, and it’s amazing how some of the people got a little gun shy. Because there were like, “What is this going to do to somebody? It’s like we’re not taking their firstborn, but we’re holding them accountable. And so the neighborhoods we have that have really embraced it, they wouldn’t have it any other way. They just would not have it any other way. So it’s good.

Grant: And some of the other CEOs we’ve talked to, I mean, us being so, just like you said, laser focused, right, on the assessment and special assessment. And I hear it all the time. It’s like, “Look, I don’t have any sympathy for non-payers.”

Robert: Right.

Grant: You’ve got doctors, lawyers, all these people that can afford it and handle the payment and then just don’t. It’s like, “Let’s move it.”

Robert: That’s exactly right.

Grant: And if you need to get on a payment plan, you can.

Robert: You can. Yes. And it’s nice because if there’s a dispute, you also have a dispute center now. If there’s special issues, you all work with us on that. And that’s been very, very helpful to my team and to the customer. So…

Grant: Awesome. We love being able to work with you and your communities. And I know we do have some special occasions and we always try to be really flexible to that and accommodate different communities. I mean, that’s what makes the business so fun. Right? There’s never a dull moment.

Robert: Absolutely.

Grant: And they’re all unique. So we try to work with each one. Any thoughts on what we’re kind of impact with your team, this might have had, on workload and sending out letters and things like that?

Robert: I think it’s affected my workload to a degree, but a lot of it, by the time it got to this collection letters that was coming from the attorney, but for us, like I said, the initial shock of it, definitely increased phone calls and people worrying about it. But that’s what you want. You want them to be cognizant and aware of the fact that there’s a ramification for not paying your dues now. And if you pay your dues, it’s positive and you’re going to get positive reinforcement for that. And that was what we had to sort of, probably the first six months really had to drive home with people is “If you’re paying your dues on time, you’re going to get rewarded. If you’re not, you’re really not going to enjoy life because not only are you going to end up paying more, but you’re also going to be affecting the outside world as far as your credit goes.” So.

Grant: Right.

Robert: Yes.

Grant: Exactly. Well, how likely are you to recommend using Sperlonga if someone’s listening at home?

Robert: Very, very. I would highly recommend that if someone’s on the fence of it, just have them give me a call, shoot me an email, I’ll be happy to follow up with them. I really do think it’s been a great service. I think it serves the people that we represent well. And the more that it grows, the better for the industry.

Grant: All right. Everybody that’s Robert Phillips at GNO Property Management, New Orleans.

END

DANA Properties on 2 Years of Credit Reporting with Sperlonga Data

TRANSCRIPT:

Grant: Sheldon, how are you sir?

Sheldon: Doing well Grant. Yourself?

Grant: Very good. Very good. Thanks for joining me for this zoom interview. For everybody watching, this is a Sheldon Wheeler, President, CEO of Dana Properties in El Paso, Texas. One of the, if not the largest management company and in the El Paso region now. Congratulations on that.

Sheldon: Well, thanks Grant.

Grant: Yes, so I really appreciate you taking the time to kind of run through some of these questions. I’m just wanting to get your feedback on the service and your experience using it. You’ve been using it now since 20 maybe right before 2017 right? 2016?

Sheldon: I believe we started around November, 2016.

Grant: Awesome. So well you know, let’s start from the beginning. What were you guys doing before we added Sperlonga Credit Reporting to the collection process?

Sheldon: I think we did the typical thing that most management companies do, sending out the typical demand letters and that doesn’t work. Getting an attorney involved, sending out those demand letters and then following the regular process of filing liens and lawsuits. Before we signed up with Sperlonga, there was no proactive tool that we had to use to try and reduce the collections.

Grant: Right, right. And were you rewarding any homeowners that paid on time? Did they have any kind of reward or benefit for doing so? Any incentive there?

Sheldon: There was no incentive at all for paying on time.

Grant: So, how did you first hear about us? It’s been a while, but I don’t know…?

Sheldon: I remember seeing an ad in the CAI publication that you all were beginning the service and I believe that was about two years before we finally came on board.

Grant: Awesome. And what was it that, you know, when you thought about credit reporting and Sperlonga service, what was it that made you finally decide to use the service? Is that something you’ve been thinking about or wanting to do? Some people say they’d been looking for it for years, they never had access to it.

Sheldon: Yes. Once I saw the ad and then went to the website and started doing some research, it seemed like, you know, the best technology available to reduce the delinquency rates and also the fees for the services were extremely reasonable. And so we signed up, we got a lot of our associations signed up initially. And we have found that not only have we reduced our delinquencies by around 30%, but we’ve also reduced the amount of money that we’re spending on mailing out demand letters, time we have to spend with the attorney and going to court. It’s just been a tremendous service and a wonderful tool for us to use.

Grant: Can you tell the folks at home a little bit about how you do business to differentiate yourself and grow the business?

Sheldon: We are the only ones in El Paso that have the software that’s compatible with Sperlonga. So now when we go out and we interview for a potential new client, we’re the only ones that can sell the service that we can report to credit bureaus and we tell them what the cost is going to be and they’re amazed at how low we can provide that service to them. And they’re also happy that, especially for some of the lower dollar properties that is going to help the residents build positive credit reports.

Grant: That’s awesome. And you know, you are now the largest management company in El Paso, correct?

Sheldon: Correct. We have probably our next closest competitors, probably about one eighth our size.

Grant: That’s awesome. So very full field when you first started and now you are king of El Paso. I love it.

Sheldon: Yes. Well you all have helped us get there as well.

Grant: We’re happy to do it and happy to hear all the great reports that come back.

Sheldon: Most of our communities did sign up for the service. I’d say about 90% of them signed up. And out of those 90, I haven’t looked at the statistics for each individual one, but when a board asks me after we’ve used your service for a year or two years, “What the effect has been?'” I run the reports, it’s almost consistently that we have reduced their delinquencies by 30%. And that’s without us taking any other action, no demand letters from our office, no attorney demands it’s been great. And we’ve had some residents that didn’t really believe that we had the technology available to report to credit bureaus. We had a FBI agent and army officers that called us that they had their security clearances pulled because they were not responsible in paying their bills on time and they wound up sitting behind desks until they were able to clear up their debts.

Grant: I mean, those are great examples and a lot of people think, “Wow, maybe that’s hard core.” But as soon as they pay the monies they owe to the community, right? Their credit goes right back to essentially normal. Right? They have every single month to pay on time?

Sheldon: You would expect FBI agents and army officers and doctors to pay their bills on time. If they hadn’t been paying their car payment or their mortgage or their credit cards, it would have been the same result. So this just helps elevate their home owners assessments to the level of responsibility that it should be.

Grant: Right. And now are those people all signed up on ACH now and making regular payments?

Sheldon: I did look at a report about 60 days ago to see how much our ACH has increased over the last two years. And it’s probably increased by about 25%. So that’s an additional savings to our associations. We have about 7,000 units that we’re managing. So when you add 25% more that we’re not having to spend a printing and postage on monthly statements, that almost pays for your service itself.

Grant: Right, right. I mean, we love hearing that kind of feedback. And I mean, you’re exactly right. I mean, that’s the whole goal of the service, right? It’s fundamentally changes the priority of the process. “I’m going to pay whenever.” And they can go for a year. They pay at the end of the year, they had a little bit of money or whatever and the association gets made whole. The association’s been in a bind now for that entire year. Right? So it really forces people to live up to the obligation.

Sheldon: It’s been a tremendous service and I would recommend it to everybody across the nation, that manages homeowner associations, except for the ones in El Paso. I would recommend it to everyone else except my competitors that this is a tremendous service. It reduces the workload on all your association managers in terms of having to send out demand letters or whatever your process is. I mean, when you reduce 30% of your workload just on demand letters and you figure you’re sending out 25% less statements every month, then it frees you up to actually go out there and manage an association, to do your inspections, work with your board. It’s just a tremendous amount of time saving.

Grant: That’s awesome. Well, I don’t want to take up a lot of your time, Sheldon. I know you’re busy out there running all of El Paso.

Sheldon: Thanks Grant. I appreciate it. And thanks so much for everything you and your team does.

Grant: Thank you!

END

HMS and Sperlonga Discuss Their Successful Partnership

TRANSCRIPT

Grant: Mike, how are you sir?

Michael: I’m fine today, Grant. How are you doing?

Grant: I’m doing great. I’m doing great. Thanks for taking a little time with me today. We’ve got Michael Crew, President, CEO of HMS Management, one of the largest and best run management companies in all of Georgia.

Michael: Well thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Grant: Well, one of our favorite partners. But yes, so I just want to get a little bit of your time today and, and run through a few questions if that’s all right with you?

Michael: Sure. Shoot. What do you want to know?

Grant: Excellent. So let’s start from the beginning. What were you doing before credit reporting was added to your collection policy process?

Michael: We do send out statements every month to everyone who has a balance. So we were sort of dunning them at a low level, I guess you would say. And then most of our clients have a collection policy, which has some kind of, I don’t want to use the term acceleration, but some kind of increased enforcement, you know, there’s a late fee and then after X many days they get a nasty gram from the board. It really comes from HMS, but it says, you need to pay up or you’re going to go to collections. They get to 90 or 120 days or whatever that policy is. And we send them to the Association’s lawyer and then the lawyer starts beating on him, so to speak. I don’t have a lot of love lost for people who don’t pay their assessments, so.

Grant: Right.

Michael: So, we just did the normal stuff except for the fact that I will say we send a late statement every month to anybody, whether they’re a monthly pay or an annual payer, we send a statement every month if they’re delinquent. So.

Grant: All right. And what sort of was the impetus of you guys finding Sperlonga and getting credit reporting rolling?

Michael: Actually, we were interested in credit reporting long before I ever learned about Sperlonga. We had had quite a few clients or prospective clients ask us, “Could we report to a credit Bureau?” Because I guess the board, the volunteers felt that that would help leverage their collections. And so, I actually hired a management consultant to go talk to Equifax and Experian and TransUnion about us reporting, joining the credit Bureau and reporting basically. And basically he came back with a report from all three of those guys that said, “You’re too small and it’s too difficult.” So we threw in the towel at that point until Sperlonga came along.

Grant: Awesome. And so what’s been your experience with the integration with your system? How does that, you know, we’ve been working for you, we’re integrated with your platform. We try to make it very smooth.

Michael: Well, it’s been good. I think, I will tell you that 90% or 95% of everything that goes on between our company and Sperlonga is handled by my accounting department. So, I’m not exactly in the weeds every day dealing with that stuff. But, I am sure if there was anything wrong, my accounting manager would be sitting in my office telling me about it. She’s pretty much on top of everything that goes on in this company. But it’s worked well. As you said, you’re integrated with our software platform. So the work on our end is kind of minimal. We of course do have to deal with, I’m not going to call them false reports, but homeowners call in and say, “I got reported in and it’s not right. Blah, blah blah.” And you know, we turn that over to you guys to take care of it.

Grant: Yes. Disputes. So, and they’ll do that. Right?

Michael: Oh, disputes. Okay. That’s good. Whatever.

Grant: Right? Yes, they’ll dispute. And know, 99.9% of the time, in fact, they were late.

Michael: Yes. I know, that’s why it was kind of like, “Who cares?”

Grant: Right. And so, prior to this call, I have pulled a performance report and you guys have been one of our early adopters, like you said, you’ve been looking for this years before we even brought it to the market. But you’ve been reporting since 2016 and just running down some of these numbers here. Your associations have recovered $317,000 since the start date. When you heard that number was that a shocking number to you? We’re really proud of that.

Michael: Yes. Actually, I was a little surprised. Because, you know, uh, some, some boards want credit reporting and some don’t. I don’t necessarily agree with them, but they have free will, so we do what the client wants. So that number is pretty significant because it doesn’t represent our entire client base. It just represents a slice out of it. Clearly it’s working. I think even more interesting than the numbers themselves are one of my managers, it’s funny because she just came to me like two days ago and told me this story. We, you and us just recently signed another one of our associations up to be a Sperlonga client. And their start date, their reporting start date actually isn’t until October. So we haven’t even started reporting there for them yet. And they sent out a notice to their neighborhood that said that they were going to report delinquencies to the credit bureaus. And the board president called in and said, “Boy, that works so well. So many people came in and paid their assessments.” They were so happy. Oh, clearly the leverage works. I mean, just the threat works. So, it’s been effective. It’s been effective and a good deal, I think for us and for our clients.

Grant: Awesome. And on the other side of that, were there ever any benefits given to the homeowners that are paying on time religiously?

Michael: Well, forgive my dark humor, but we don’t haul them off to jail. So I guess they get that benefit. You know, when you pay your assessments, I mean, you get to use the swimming pool or the tennis courts. Amenities packages are a big thing in our market space. And so, they get that and, and I guess a homeowner has the satisfaction of knowing they fulfill their obligation, but there was no added bump to them. There’s no dividend being paid. It’s not like a credit card with points or anything.

Grant: So now they get the positive points every single month?

Michael: They do get something positive every month. And I think even more important though, really is, I mean, it’s good that the other homeowners get the positive impact, but I can tell you I am absolutely positive of this. Okay. If you get reported in a negative delinquent account as a consumer, it whacks your credit numbers. And I’ve gotten my ear filled up more than once. Like people screaming about their credit numbers went down in 20 points. And that’s effective, I mean, that is just plain effective. And it’s really sad when we pile a 10% late fee on their account and they don’t care. But when you touch their credit score. It lights them up. So, I like that. And our boards like that.

Grant: Yes. You know, we were looking at the numbers before the call and the number of delinquent accounts from start date to now has dropped 44%. And I know…

Michael: Yes. And that’s a good value add for my company to be able to go back to my clients and say, “Look what we did for you.” I mean, they do appreciate that. And they see it every month. We report delinquencies to them and they know that their delinquent account report is shorter than it used to be.

Grant: You know, based on all this, how likely are you to recommend us to associations or other management companies that might be thinking about launching this or bringing it to their toolbox?

Michael: Well, I’m not going to go back to all the people I’ve already recommended and tell them “I changed my mind.” So, I think you’re in good shape with me. Yes. I recommended you guys a bunch of times because I know it’s working. I mean, I know it’s working, so.

Grant: Well, we really appreciate it. We really appreciate it working with you, Mike. And thanks for taking the time today on this call. Once again, we have Michael Crew, President and CEO of HMS Management, best in all of Georgia.

END

EXCEL Association Management on Credit Reporting with Sperlonga

TRANSCRIPT

Grant: Adam, how are you sir?

Adam: Hey, doing great Grant. How are you?

Grant: Very good, very good. Appreciate you taking the time to join me today for this zoom video. I’m really excited to have you on. Excel, as many people know is one of the largest and best managed companies in Texas. Well, you are renowned, well known throughout the industry. But we’re really happy to have you on, really happy to be partners with you. I wanted to take just a few minutes of your time today and just kind of run down, you know, you guys have been reporting now for about nine months, give or take?

Adam: Yes.

Grant: And just wanted to get sort of your impression of the service and some of your thoughts on it. Is that all right with you?

Adam: Absolutely.

Grant: Perfect. So let me just start at the beginning. What were you guys doing before we were added to your collection process? What was your standard sort of method?

Adam: So, you know, at the beginning our managers would go through the AR reports, determine who needs to be sent a letter for collection. And we get that all processed and send a letter and as it goes they pay or they don’t pay and then sending another letter. And it was a very manual process to try and track these down and not to even mention getting into attorney action or anything like that. And so, it was a very manual process that we had to go through to try and get these accounts paid current.

Grant: Because of tens of tens of thousands of units. So, that’s massive.

Adam: Yes. I mean, we’re managing thousands of doors across the North Texas area. So it was a big time suck for our managers to go through each of their associations AR reports and say, “Oh, send this person their notice or skip this person for this time.” And so when we switched this for longer, they kind of automated that whole process in a way. And took a lot of that time consumption out of our managers monthly routines.

Grant: Awesome. And where you guys given any kind of benefits to the homeowners that were paying on time?

Adam: Unfortunately, the only benefit that homeowners who paid on time got is that they wouldn’t receive an angry delinquency letter. But outside of that, there wasn’t really an incentive for anyone to pay on time other than the headache of, or monetary issue of paying a late fee, dealing with an attorney or anything like that. It was always the threat of more monetary fines.

Grant: Right. And now they get the positive points on their credit score every single month.

Adam: Yes. Yes. And now we have thousands of homeowners who pay on time getting those positive marks to their credit, just for doing what they’ve already been doing at no additional cost to the association.

Grant: That’s awesome. And how did you – when you guys had heard about us and had been talking with us, what was it that caused you to pull the trigger, helped you decide to do business with us?

Adam: Well, several of our associations had been asking for credit reporting and we tried it with another company years and years ago now, and it wasn’t really at a place or in a process that works with us, but when we started talking with you guys it had really gotten a lot more sophisticated and just kind of melded into our processes very easily. So it was easy to pick this up and provide this service to the associations who wanted it. And then even the ones who didn’t think that they wanted it, we could present this to them as an additional option to leverage. And many of them have loved having that additional tool in the arsenal.

Grant: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Do you find that that tool in the arsenal as you call it, helping you guys win business? Differentiating yourself in the market?

Adam: I think what we’ve started to notice is that, credit reporting is becoming more and more common. So I wouldn’t say necessarily that it’s differentiating us, but we’re not losing business because we’re not providing the service. You know, it’s not a service for all associations. Some want to be more hands on and go knock on their neighbor’s door. But other big associations or associations that do have an issue collecting money they want as many options as possible to try and collect these. And once you send a first or a second letter and you don’t have a response, it doesn’t matter if you send 10 more letters, you’re probably not getting a response from that person. Most of the time, if you send a first letter, you know, “Oh my gosh, I forgot to pay you. I’m so sorry.” And it gets brought up. So once you’re in the two plus letter stage, it’s a hard truth, but you know, you may not be getting that money back without legal assistance.

Grant: Right, right. You know, and that’s bringing up a great point. I think it might be a good segue to talk about some of the performance stats. And we’re into the ninth month now, over the first eight months, you know, we’ve been able to recover, your associations were able to recover $265,000?

Adam: Yes. And that’s so great. Like $100,000 of that is a debt that’s been over 180 days old. And so…

Grant: In that multilevel letter bucket, right?

Adam: Absolutely. I mean, and you know, in these past nine months, that’s a decrease in 38% of our total delinquent accounts across our portfolio. And that’s without any additional letters hitting the mail, without any additional work from any of our staff in our office or anything like that. It’s just another automated process that we’ve started and our associations have seen that 38% decrease.

Grant: That is awesome. Yes, those numbers are just stellar. So kudos to you and your team for, you know, I mean notification and getting the word out there. That’s a big piece. And you guys have been really great with that. Companies that really just do it by the book and get it in front of people and show the benefits and, you know, let the other delinquent folks know this is happening. That’s because to see that, that money is coming in.

And so, you’re talking – I don’t know if you want to talk anymore on where it’s improved on your business and the results you’ve achieved obviously. The reductions to the delinquent balances for your clients. But you’re saying that it lowers the workload, removes that workload for your managers. I mean, is that something they talk about with you regularly? I mean, you just see a happier face all the time? Or “Stacy, she’s got Sperlonga, I can tell.”

Adam: Well, it’s an interesting dynamic because as you know, we serve the associations and the boards. And so some boards have taken this and completely eliminated any other type of collections process and decide to use this as the main means of trying to gain collections. But others, they still want to keep some of their same processes in place, whether it’s just not wanting to change or maybe they have a particular policy in place that they need to follow. But in those instances, you know, that’s at least a set procedure, but the ones where they decide to leverage this in its entirety, I mean, the manager doesn’t need to do anything from a collections point of view, on a month to month basis. And then if after say six months, someone still hasn’t paid and they’re not doing credit monitoring, so they don’t even know that this is happening or they’ve stolen the letter in the mail, letting them know that it started, then the association can begin consulting with an attorney to try and gain that collection.

Because, you know, like I said earlier, it’s just another tool in the arsenal. And not all tools work on the same person, but it works on, like I said, 38% of the people. And that’s been huge to cut down the attorney fee costs for our associations. For many of the attorneys that our associations use the first letter that they send to a delinquent owner is equivalent to about six months of credit reporting. And so a lot of associations kind of holster the attorney until credit reporting has gone on for a few months and they know, “Okay, this person is not paying. We need to put a little more pressure on them.”

Grant: Right. And that’s a great point. I mean most people, they think, “Oh well we like our attorney.” We don’t replace the attorney, right? You absolutely have the sledgehammer right over there.

Adam: [laughs] exactly.

Grant: …put a lien on the property. You need to foreclose. You need the lawyers to prosecute these accounts. But like you said, this is a more of a scalpel, right? This is the tool to come in and shave around the edges. Okay, we can clean up a lot, but sometimes you still need to foreclose. So, you need the attorneys.

Adam: Absolutely.

Grant: And we love working with them. I mean, we’ve talked to a lot of your attorneys down there and you know, they sing our praises. And like you said, when you put it together as this cohesive collection policy, best practices, they work sort of hand in hand. And we help their efforts, they help our efforts and your efforts and so great relationship with those folks.

Adam: Definitely.

Grant: And so did you think the service would have as big of an impact as you’ve seen?

Adam: I mean, I don’t think I had a specific number in mind when we got started with you guys. I was more excited to see what it would turn out to be. But you know, that 38% change has been a welcomed change to our number of delinquent accounts. I think if I had to put a number in the back of my mind that I thought I would see it would have been, you know, in the 20%, 25% range. Just kind of shaking the tree, getting about a quarter of ’em down. But you know, nine months in we’re knocking on the door 40%. And that’s outstanding.

Grant: That is great. And most people think of a much lower number. I know, I think you as a tech savvy guy can quantify the power of credit reporting a little bit better than some people. And people are like. “Oh put this up. Maybe we get a 5% reduction.” You know, I think it’s great your target was 25. [Laughs]

Adam: The big win is really that it’s changing the behavior of a lot of the homeowners. Because you know, we’d always have those problem people who just ignore the notices of the association and everything, rack up the late fees and then just pay it all in one fell swoop before it goes to the attorney or right after it does. And that’s just how they decide to deal with the association. And yes, the association gets its money, but some associations have a cashflow issue or they’re a condo and they have a lot of things that need to pay month to month and maintenance that comes up. So even though they get that money at the end of the year perhaps, or whenever that homeowner decides to pay, the association is still kind of in a bind up until that point. Or on the flip side, we’d have people who receive a late notice and decided to be cutesy with it and just ignore the late fee. And that sits on their account indefinitely.

But now that we’re using Sperlonga, it’s really cut down a lot of that because people are seeing that that behavior causes an adverse effect to their credit, which of course touches all other aspects of their lives. And so I think that’s the biggest win that we’ve seen after starting with Sperlonga.

Grant: Adam, how likely are you to recommend us to other people?

Adam: Oh, I mean, I’d recommend Sperlonga as a service to any association who, or management company who’s just looking to diversify how they would like to collect. As I mentioned earlier, it’s not for every association and each association is different, but the ones who have been asking for it and want it, it has been a godsend. I mean, it’s just been a really nice feature that people have been asking for for a while that we can now provide to our clients. I mentioned at the onset how we kind of tried credit reporting with another company several years ago now. But you guys have just really timed up the process, made it really easy for us to implement across our portfolio.

Grant: That’s awesome. Well, thank you so much, Adam. I really do appreciate your time. Just an excellent interview.

Adam: So thanks so much. Grant. I love what you guys are doing and I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me about it as well.

Grant: This is Adam Clark, a Senior Executive at Excel Management out of Dallas, Texas.

Congratulations CAMCO on Making Inc. Magazine’s 5000 for 2019!

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Camco recognized as among America’s fastest growing companies by Inc. Magazine.

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CAMCO, one of the nation’s longest standing property & community management companies, has been named to INC. 5000 following significant growth over the past three years.

Philadelphia, PA August 20, 2019 – CAMCO, which has been serving communities in the region and nationally for over 40 years, has received a prestigious recognition for rapid growth.

Inc. magazine recently revealed that the property and community management staple has been listed on its annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses. Microsoft, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees on the Inc. 5000.

For CAMCO, the combination of longstanding service and experience – paired with recent growth and expansion – complements the high confidence & satisfaction levels they have been developing with their communities since 1975.

“This recognition really speaks to each employee, community, property, and vendor we work with each day.” said CAMCO Managing Partner and President Christopher Maus. “Our growth has been a true team effort backed by hard work and commitment to our mission and history as a company.”

For more information on CAMCO and their property and community management services, visit www.camcomgmt.com

Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com

https://www.inc.com/profile/community-association-management-company

Assessment Credit Reporting – Easy as 1-2-3!

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Sperlonga’s association assessment credit reporting is quickly becoming the gold standard in financial management for the community association industry.

Sperlonga – Assessment Credit Reporting Overview

Sperlonga empowers non-traditional creditors and debt owners by aggregating and facilitating the reporting of alternative credit payment history each month to credit bureaus.

We offer a proactive solution that can help improve the financial health of homeowner associations, multifamily property owners, timeshares, and self-storage businesses.

As a full service data aggregator, our service reduces delinquencies, improves cash flow, positively impacts credit scores, and equalizes the importance of alternative credit and debt payments.

Video Transcript:

Sperlonga has tied the assessment payment to the individual homeowners credit score. We report monthly both the timely payment and delinquent payment status and account balance to a credit agency partner Equifax. In short, we have elevated the assessment payment priority to that of the credit card, auto and mortgage payments, thus making the assessment payment matter.

Sperlonga has already shown some incredible statistics. The service is reducing delinquent balances by almost 5% per month, along with reducing chronic late payers. People who have been two, three and even six months late are paying on time. Those are great results.

Elevating the assessment payment not only helps the HOA, but it helps the homeowner. Thanks to Sperlonga’s HOA credit reporting, community associations now have a way to protect their associations financial health and property values.

Do you want to get started? Here’s how:

Step 1: The HOA or its management company engages Sperlonga.

Step 2: Sperlonga connects with the association or management company’s software system.

Step 3: Sperlonga reports to the credit bureau each month.

This proactive solution offered by Sperlonga can be a win-win-win situation for the homeowners, the association and even your management company. Talk to Sperlonga and find out how your association can reap the benefits of this powerful service. Go to HOAcreditreporting.com (now www.SperlongaData.com) and schedule a webinar or call 844-652-4972 (now 818-200-0530) and ask for the sales director in your area.

Sperlonga Welcomes PMI of Oklahoma City to Assessment Credit Reporting!

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PMI provides management services the neighborhoods of “The Big Friendly”

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Check out PMI for residential, commercial and association management in the greater Oklahoma City area.

PMI Oklahoma City offers full service property management solutions, including free rental analysis, real estate brokerage, market analysis, community management, on-site maintenance, payment processing and much more. They have been recognized by Inc. 5000, Entrepreneur and Franchise Direct for their award winning excellence in the property management space.

Sperlonga is excited to help PMI’s communities increase cash flow, decrease delinquencies and reward on-time paying owners with positive points to their credit scores through credit reporting.

To learn more about adding value to your client offerings by partnering with Sperlonga, contact us today at info@sperlongadata.com or 844-652-4972.

AMCC Property Management Joins Sperlonga for Assessment Credit Reporting!

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AMCC serves the greater Philadelphia and surrounding areas and is based in Warminster, PA

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AMCC makes accountability, accessibility and service for your community their top priority.

AMCC aims to shoulder the responsibilities associated with the day-to-day operations and administration of property management, while retaining the community boards’ power as decision makers. With good communication, AMCC keeps the board apprised of all community operations through a detailed and comprehensive reporting system, which allows them to focus on progress toward their community goals

Sperlonga is excited to help the fiscal health of AMCC s communities through our revolutionary credit reporting technology, which has been shown to increase cash flow, decrease delinquencies and reward on-time paying owners with positive points to their credit scores each month.

To learn more about offering this transformational service to your homeowner and condo-owner associations, contact us today at info@sperlongadata.com or 844-652-4972.

Sperlonga welcomes CAMCO of Philadelphia to Assessment Credit Reporting!

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Founded in 1975, CAMCO is one of Americas’s oldest community management firms.

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CAMCO takes the headaches out of the day-to-day operations of running a homeowners association by offering the scale and resources of a national management firm.

CAMCO has a proven track record of managing hundreds of communities and guiding their respective boards to make sound operational and fiduciary decisions. With a commitment to high standards, CAMCO has grown into the region’s largest independent association management company, yet retains the feel of a local family business.

Sperlonga is excited to add our credit reporting technology to CAMCO’s client offerings to help their associations increase cash flow, decrease delinquencies and reward on-time paying owners with positive points to their credit scores through credit reporting.

To learn more about offering this transformational service to your client associations, contact us today at info@sperlongadata.com or 844-652-4972.

Welcome Goddard Management to Assessment Credit Reporting with Sperlonga!

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Goddard Management is located in Ellis County and provides association management services to North Texas communities.

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Goddard Management has offered high-level professional management to Texas homeowners’ associations for over 10 years.

Goddard Management specializes in managing homeowners’ associations with a staff that is committed to customer service. Their goal is to assist homeowner boards, volunteers who give up their valuable time, with efficient and economical services. Goddard provides leadership that serves their associations without taking away their control and personal involvement in their communities.

By partnering with Sperlonga, Goddard can now offer their homeowners the benefits of credit reporting their on-time assessment payments. Moreover, Goddard has a new and highly effective tool to help their homeowner associations significantly increase cash flow and decrease delinquencies.

To learn more about offering this industry transformative service to your client associations, contact us today at info@sperlongadata.com or 844-652-4972.

Houston’s Sterling ASI partners with Sperlonga to expand Assessment Credit Reporting in Texas

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Sterling ASI adds Sperlonga’s advanced credit reporting technology to their current state-of-the-art resources to provide costs savings and superior results for their communities.

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Sterling Association Services Inc. is the largest, locally-owned Management Company in the Houston area

Sterling Association Services Inc. is a well versed and experienced management company offering services for all areas of community association management, including assessment collection, deed restriction enforcement, negotiating contracts and annexations. From master planned communities, to town-homes to resort properties, Sterling has the resources to offer unique, customized approaches to facility management with personalized service.

With Sterling’s commitment to offering state of the art technology to their clients, Sperlonga is a perfect partner. Our credit reporting technology can aggregate data from a variety of software platforms so that assessment payment histories can be seamlessly reported to the credit bureaus each month. Years of results show that Sperlonga’s service has helped homeowner associations significantly increase cash flow and decrease delinquencies.

To learn more about offering this state-of-the-art service to your client associations, contact us today at info@sperlongadata.com or 844-652-4972.

Come meet Sperlonga at the CAI Annual Conference & Exposition – 2019

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CAI’s annual conference is just two weeks away! Schedule a meeting with one of our Sales Directors to learn more about Sperlonga’s transformational service for the Association Management industry.

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Assessment Credit Reporting – No Cost, No Risk, Just Results.

Sperlonga’s credit reporting technology has helped hundreds of associations increase cash flow, decrease delinquencies and reward on-time paying owners with positive points to their credit scores through credit reporting.

To learn more about offering this transformational service to your client associations, contact us today at info@sperlongadata.com or 844-652-4972.

Sperlonga is excited to add the Windy City’s Advocate Property Management to credit reporting!

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Another progressive management company joins Sperlonga to give their Greater Chicago Suburb homeowners credit for their on-time payment history.

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Advocate Property Management provides suburbs of the Greater Chicago area with association management, real estate and maintenance services.

Advocate Property Management is a leader in the association management industry with certified and licensed managers who pride themselves on attention to detail and excellent customer service. Their clients appreciate their timely feedback, compassionate service and impressive technology which helps them operate efficiently.

Sperlonga is excited to add our credit reporting technology to Advocate’s client offerings to help their associations increase cash flow, decrease delinquencies and reward on-time paying owners with positive points to their credit scores through credit reporting.

To learn more about offering this transformational service to your client associations, contact us today at info@sperlongadata.com or 844-652-4972.

Sperlonga welcomes progressive All-In-One Community Management to Assessment Credit Reporting!

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More homeowners and condo-owners will now be getting the credit they deserve for their on-time payment history.

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All-In-One serves owners and property owner associations in the Greater Atlanta area.

All-In-One Community Management has a tradition of excellence in serving commercial and residential condo and homeowner and property owner associations in Cobb and Paulding counties as well as in the Greater Atlanta area. Their mission is to provide the necessary tools to their neighborhoods so that their homeowners’ associations run efficiently. All-In-One is committed to providing outstanding customer service, communication, and accountability for their managed community associations.

Sperlonga is excited to help All-In-One’s community associations increase cash flow, decrease delinquencies and reward on-time paying owners with positive points to their credit scores through credit reporting.

To learn more about adding value to your client offerings by partnering with Sperlonga, contact us today at info@sperlongadata.com or 844-652-4972.

Congratulations to our Credit Reporting Partner PENCO Management Inc.!

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One year of successful credit reporting and a 90% reduction in total past due balances!

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PENCO provides property management, website and financial services to the association industry in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Since 1975, PENCO Management, Inc., Inc. has provided property, financial and administrative services to Community Associations, shopping and office centers and apartment complexes in Pennsylvania and Delaware. The people of PENCO Management have 30 years of experience and a specialized understanding of the complexities of residential and commercial property management. Their professionalism has earned PENCO many client referrals and a high percentage of long term relationships with satisfied customers.

We at Sperlonga are proud to be a small part of PENCO’s success. Through assessment credit reporting, the vast majority of PENCO’s property owners have received positive points to their credit score. With a 90% reduction in total past due balances,it’s clear that the few owners who were behind on payments were eager to get current and also receive positive points on their credit reports.

To learn more about adding value to your client offerings by partnering with Sperlonga, contact us today at info@sperlongadata.com or 844-652-4972.

Sperlonga is excited to welcome Pinnacle Association Management as a credit reporting client!

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Another progressive management company joins Sperlonga to help their HOA and Condominium members by credit reporting their on-time payments.

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Pinnacle Association Management is a full-service property management company servicing St. Lucie, Martin, Indian River and Volusia County.

Pinnacle Association Management was established in 1997 and has grown to service over 80 satisfied Community Associations. Pinnacle has a team of licensed Community Association Managers dedicated to providing our Associations and their Directors with the best property management services available. With their motto of “Achieving Higher Standards”, Pinnacle offers a long list of services specialized for the community and condominium association industry.

Sperlonga is excited to partner with Pinnacle to help improve the account receivables for their communities, reduce assessment delinquencies and help give a credit boost to their homeowners who pay their assessments on-time.

To learn more about adding value to your client offerings by partnering with Sperlonga, contact us today at info@sperlongadata.com or 844-652-4972.

ASG partners with Sperlonga to expand Assessment Credit Reporting in SE Florida!

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We are excited to help ASG serve their Homeowner and Condominium Associations by improving their reserves through the proven technology of credit reporting.

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ASG specializes in assisting Homeowner and Condominium Associations manage properties, rentals, and overall cash flow at no cost to the Associations.

Association Specialty Group (ASG)

By joining Sperlonga, homeowners and condo-owners whose properties are managed by ASG will see their credit scores go up based on their on-time payment history. Board members will see their reserves go up as delinquent homeowners work to get up to date on their late assessment payments.

Credit reporting is a win-win-win for homeowners, associations and management companies. Find out more at www.SperlongaData.com or call 844-652-4972.

Southeast Florida’s Seacrest Services joins Sperlonga’s family of reporting clients!

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We welcome our newest partner and are excited to help them in their mission improve value for their managed communities.

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Seacrest tailors management plans specifically for each of their community associations or commercial properties.

Seacrest Services has been serving the Palm Beach county area since the 1960’s and became a full service property management company in 1975. They offer industry-leading technology and management tailored to the specific needs of each of their managed communities. They serve HOAs and COAs, commercial properties, country clubs and more.

By joining Sperlonga, homeowners whose properties are managed by Seacrest will see their credit scores go up based on their on-time payment history. Board members will see their reserves go up as delinquent homeowners work to get up to date on their late assessment payments.

Credit reporting is a win-win-win for homeowners, associations and management companies. Find out more at www.SperlongaData.com or call 844-652-4972.

Sperlonga is privileged to partner with ACRI Community Realty

Another progressive management company joins Sperlonga to help their HOA and Condominium members by credit reporting their on-time payments.


ACRI offers customized management services with over 25 years of community association management experience.

Acri Community Realty was founded in 1993 with the goal to provide scaled management services to HOA and Condominium communities. They can handle every aspect of community management, from reserve studies to payroll processing, special projects to assessment collections. With over 25 years in the industry, ACRI offers the highest degree of professionalism and responsiveness to help the community, and the community board, run smoothly.

Sperlonga is excited to partner with ACRI to help improve the account receivables for their communities, reduce assessment delinquencies and help give a credit boost to their homeowners who pay their assessments on-time.

To learn more about adding value to your client offerings by partnering with Sperlonga, contact us today at info@sperlongadata.com or 844-652-4972.

Using Non-Traditional Payment Histories to Boost Your Credit Score

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Credit reporting of non-traditional payment information is increasing as more and more consumers seek ways to boost their credit scores.

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Non-traditional payment credit reporting, is it legal?

Credit reporting of non-traditional payment information is increasing as more and more consumers seek ways to boost their credit scores. Recently, Experian has offered Experian Boost (TM), as a way to help consumers instantly increase their scores after signing up for their program. However, the program can only help if payments are linked through a bank account and only cover a handful of payment types. So if you regularly pay your cell phone and utility bills through a credit card, Experian Boost won’t be able to apply that history to your score.

According to Experian, 35% of your credit score is based on your payment history. An additional 15% is based on how long that history goes back in time. So that is 50% of your score tied to how long you have had an account and how on time you have been in paying on your account.

Now think about the HOA assessments you have been paying on time for years. That is a long history of positive payments that you should be getting credit for. Are you? If your HOA or management company partners with Sperlonga you could be. By monthly reporting your positive payment history, you could see a significant boost to your credit score.

Some have discouraged management companies from participating in credit reporting because they have been misinformed that non-traditional payment reporting is risky. However, the Fair Credit Reporting Act mitigates that risk to near zero. Oscar Marquis, a legal expert in this field, has provided a detailed memorandum to dispel any fears a management company may have.

So if you are one of the 40 million HOA households in the U.S. who needs a boost to your credit score, contact your management company today about partnering with Sperlonga.

Sperlonga is excited to welcome Community Property Management as our most recent client!

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Sperlonga can help CPM help their organizations’ members by credit reporting their on-time payment histories.

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With CPM, HOA board members can relax and know that CPM is addressing their unique needs.

Community Property Management (CPM) specializes in community management – their focus is to provide community associations and their members with full service management and maintenance, accounting and oversight on a daily basis. That is their expertise, so HOA board members can relax and know that CPM is addressing their unique needs.

With a typical 90% on time payment rate for HOA assessment payments, Sperlonga can help CPM help their organizations’ members by credit reporting their payment histories, increasing their credit scores and lowering their interest expense.

To learn more about adding value to your client offerings by partnering with Sperlonga, contact us today at info@sperlongadata.com or 844-652-4972.

Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary on How Sperlonga Can Help Your Credit Score

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It’s kind of crazy that anyone pays a bill and doesn’t get credit for it.

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In today’s world you want to be the best you can be, particularly when it comes to credit score. Sperlonga can help.

Hey, Mr. Wonderful here and I want to talk about credit scores. Why? Because if you have a bad credit score it’s really expensive. People with bad credit scores have a hard time borrowing money, cause lenders don’t want to take the risk and they charge really high interest rates.

So one of the best things you can do is drive up your credit score so you drive down your interest expense. It’s kind of crazy that anyone pays a bill and doesn’t get credit for it. So, what I say is pay your bill, report it and lower your interest expense.

Well how do you do this? You have your property management company get with Sperlonga. It’s a great idea, that’s why I’m doing this shout out for Matt Martin. He’s driving this whole process. Sperlonga helps you reduce your interest expense by making you have a higher credit score. A very good idea. In today’s world you want to be the best you can be, particularly when it comes to credit score. Sperlonga can help.

Sperlonga welcomes LB Condo to our credit reporting technology!

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Another smart management company says YES to reporting payment histories.

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Most homeowners benefit from increased credit scores due to the reporting of their on-time payment histories.

LB Condo‘s mission is to increase reserves, maintain a high level of service and help their communities peacefully enjoy their homes and neighborhood.

Sperlonga is excited to partner with LB Condo and help them in their mission. Assessment Payment Reporting has helped our clients reduce delinquencies by 35% year over year and bring those past due amounts into their reserves. Moreover, more than 90% of reported homeowners see a benefit in increased credit scores due to the reporting of their on-time payment histories.

To find out more about how credit reporting can help your management company and the communities you manage, contact us at info@sperlongadata.com or 844-652-4972.

The CAM Team partners with Sperlonga to offer assessment credit reporting to North Florida

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The CAM Team is one of the leading HOA management companies in North Florida, offering exceptional service to HOAs, COAs and other associations.

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The CAM Team managers live locally in the Jacksonville and Orange Park area and understand the unique needs of their communities.

Sperlonga is proud to partner with The CAM Team, a full-service management company serving North Florida. The CAM Team is comprised of licensed Community Association Managers and is dedicated to providing exceptional, tailored service to their communities.

With Sperlonga’s credit reporting technology, The CAM Team can provide a mechanism for their HOAs and COAs to report both timely and delinquent payments of their homeowners to the credit bureaus. This has been shown to both increase credit scores for on time payers and provide an incentive for delinquent payers to get current on their accounts. For The CAM Team’s reporting communities, we have already seen significant reductions in both total amounts past due as well as in the total number of delinquent accounts.

To find out more about how your communities can experience increased payment compliance and increased credit scores for members, contact Sperlonga today.

Sperlonga Announces Partnership with Leading Community Association Cooperative, innovia co-op

“Innovia aggressively seeks out leading products and services for our membership to enhance their value to their customers,” said Mary Hurand, President of Innovia. “The industry has been yearning for this service for a long time and Sperlonga’s managed technology solution is a necessary tool our membership was looking for.”


Innovia members provide management services to more than 1 million homes and condos worth over $200B. The membership consists of over 50 independent management companies and provides immense value through collaboration, bundled buying power, and industry best practices.

NEWS PROVIDED BY
Sperlonga

Mar 26, 2019, 11:44 ET

SANTA MONICA, Calif. and ST. LOUIS, March 26, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Sperlonga (www.sperlongadata.com) announced today a partnership with Innovia Co-Op (www.innoviaco-op.com) the community association management industry’s largest co-operative to provide credit reporting solutions to Innovia’s members. Sperlonga provides credit reporting as a managed technology solution to a variety of non-traditionally reported industries, including Homeowners and Condominium Associations. Credit reporting has shown substantial impacts to assessment collection throughout the industry.

Innovia members provide management services to more than 1 million homes and condos worth over $200B. The membership consists of over 50 independent management companies and provides immense value through collaboration, bundled buying power, and industry best practices.

Sperlonga’s credit reporting technology provides a mechanism for HOAs and Condo associations to report both timely and delinquent payments to the credit bureaus. This has been shown to both increase credit scores of on time payors and provide a deterrent to those that don’t pay timely.

“We are proud to partner with a leading organization in the industry like Innovia,” says Matt Martin, Sperlonga’s Chairman. “The membership consists of leading companies serving the communities we all live in and are some of the most progressive in adapting to the ever-changing landscape.”

“Innovia aggressively seeks out leading products and services for our membership to enhance their value to their customers,” said Mary Hurand, President of Innovia. “The industry has been yearning for this service for a long time and Sperlonga’s managed technology solution is a necessary tool our membership was looking for.”

Many Innovia members have already partnered with Sperlonga who boasts more than 200 management company partners that cover the country from coast to coast. “Given the size of the industry, we have many entrants and Innovia puts prospective partners through a rigorous vetting process before introducing them to the membership,” adds Hurand. “After speaking with and seeing results from Sperlonga with our existing membership, we believe positive credit reporting will become standard for the industry in the future and the negative reporting is positively impacting cash flow for associations.”

“The community association industry provides a vital function to where we live,” says Grant Jackson, VP of Sales at Sperlonga. “Homeowners deserve to be rewarded for making on time assessment payments that make sure the community and its amenities are in great shape for the entire neighborhood to enjoy.”

SOURCE Sperlonga
Related Links

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/sperlonga-data-and-analytics-systems-announces-partnership-with-leading-community-association-cooperative-innovia-co-op-300818695.html

Sperlonga welcomes A Different Association Management of Tucson, AZ!

ADAM is on a mission is to promote community harmony, increase property values and reduce costs by offering efficient service and a low association to community manager ratio.

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Find out more about ADAM at http://adamllc.com

Sperlonga welcomes progressive management company A Different Association Management of Tucson, AZ to our family of reporting clients!

ADAM is on a mission is to promote community harmony, increase property values and reduce costs by offering efficient service and a low association to community manager ratio.

Sperlonga is excited to begin reporting for ADAM to help them improve capital reserves, reduce delinquencies and raise credit scores for their on-time paying homeowners.

To learn what Sperlonga can do for your community associations, contact us today.

Women Leading The Way With Excellence In Association Management

“For women in community associations, however, leadership is—and always has been—the norm,” says Julie Warren in a recent article for Community Associations Institute.

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Are you up to it? Check out CAI’s website to learn more about a future in association management -https://www.caionline.org.

At Sperlonga Data we have the privilege of working with these excellent women leaders every day. As Association Managers, they wear many hats and have many demands on their time. Association management requires a wide skill set and and these women leaders are more than up to the task.

CAI’s President Cat Carmichael says her goal for 2019 is to develop “the next wave of talent”. “We need to be creative and put together a strong bench of managers, business partners, homeowner leaders, and volunteers to serve CAI’s growth…” says Carmichael in the article.

Are you up to it? Check out CAI’s website to learn more about a future in association management – https://www.caionline.org.

Already an Association Manager? We at Sperlonga are ready to work with you. Contact Sperlonga to learn more about how we can help improve cash flow, reduce delinquencies and mitigate risk for your communities.

Welcome Classic Property Management to Sperlonga!

Classic Property Management of Torrance, CA has made the smart choice to add credit reporting to their management tool box.

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We’re excited to help improve Classic’s account receivables with our credit reporting technology.

It’s happened again! Classic Property Management of Torrance, CA has made the smart choice to add credit reporting to their management tool box. Welcome to Sperlonga!

Classic provides a wide range of property management services to the southern California region, with offices in Torrance, Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Jacinto. We’re excited to help improve their account receivables with our credit reporting technology.

Sperlonga empowers non-traditional creditors by aggregating and facilitating the reporting of alternative payment history to credit bureaus. We offer a proactive solution that can help improve the financial health of homeowner associations, multifamily property owners, timeshares, and self-storage businesses.

Contact Sperlonga today to learn more at info@sperlongadata.com or 844-652-4972.

Reporting Assessment Payments to Credit Bureaus Is Good for Homeowners and HOAs

There has already been widespread acceptance of association credit reporting by many HOAs and it is filling a need.

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In recent years, non-traditional information has been included in credit reports to help consumers with little credit history to gain access to credit.

“The idea or need of homeowner associations reporting account information is not a new concept… reporting account information to a credit bureau will allow associations to achieve and maintain the same cash flow management leverage and capabilities that banks and lenders have when they report account information.” says Oscar Marquis, principal of the law firm Oscar Marquis & Associates.

Oscar Marquis covered many aspects regarding reporting assessment payments to credit bureaus in his article for HOA-USA.comReporting Assessment Payments to Credit Bureaus Is Good for Homeowners and HOAs

Sperlonga’s data aggregation service makes it possible for any sized management company to take advantage of reporting accounts to the credit bureaus. Contact Sperlonga today at info@sperlongadata.com or 844-652-4972 to learn more.

Welcome DTA Community Management Services!

Thank you DTA Community Management for choosing Sperlonga!

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Another progressive management company says YES to credit reporting.

DTA Community Management Services provides effective and responsive community association management to the greater Houston and Southeast Texas area. We’re excited to partner with DTA to help manage their accounts receivables, reduce their delinquencies and benefit their responsible homeowners, who pay on time, with increased credit scores.

To learn more about how credit reporting can help your management company, contact Sperlonga today.

Silverleaf Management Company joins Sperlonga!

We’re excited to welcome Silverleaf Management Company to our Sperlonga family!

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We can’t wait for Silverleaf to see the impact of improved cash flow for their communities!

Why Sperlonga Data?

  • Improve cash flow
  • Reduce delinquencies
  • Mitigate risk

With decades of experience and many awards in the industry, Silverleaf Management Company is proving their continued commitment to providing the best in association management services by adding Sperlonga’s credit reporting technology. We can’t wait for Silverleaf to see the impact of improved cash flow for their communities!

For details about how we can do the same for your company, contact us at info@sperlongadata.com or 844-652-4972.

Why Sperlonga Data?

Sperlonga is on a mission to simplify and improve the Accounts Receivables process for multiple industries.

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By providing an immediate reporting mechanism when payments are due, there is added motivation to pay on time.

Why Sperlonga Data?

  • Improve cash flow
  • Reduce delinquencies
  • Mitigate risk

Sperlonga is on a mission to simplify and improve the Accounts Receivables process for multiple industries. We provide access to the same credit reporting technology used by multi-billion dollar financial institutions for organizations which previously did not have access to this powerful payment incentivizing tool.

By providing an immediate reporting mechanism when payments are due, there is added motivation to pay on time. Timely payments help individuals with positive marks to their Credit Report. Late payments result in negative marks to an individual’s Credit Report. For our clients, credit reporting has resulted in significant decreases in delinquencies, with the largest reduction experienced in the severely delinquent account category.

Contact us today for more information: 844-652-4972 or info@sperlongadata.com.

Welcome Albert Management of Palm Desert!

Another progressive property management company sees the benefits of credit reporting and joins Sperlonga Data.

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Credit reporting is a win-win for homeowners, HOAs and management companies.

Albert Management has been providing the Coachella Valley exceptional leadership, management and financial services since 2001. By joining Sperlonga, homeowners whose HOAs are managed by Albert Management will see their credit scores go up based on their on-time payment history. The HOAs will see their reserves go up as delinquent homeowners work to get their assessments paid up to date.

Credit reporting is a win-win for homeowners, HOAs and management companies. Find out more at www.SperlongaData.com or call 844-652-4972.

Sperlonga welcomes another new client, ACCU Inc. of Denver, Colorado!

Another smart management company says YES to Assessment Payment Reporting.

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Historically, Sperlonga has helped our clients reduce delinquencies by 35% per year.

ACCU, Inc. has provided outstanding community association management services throughout Colorado since 1979.

Assessment Payment Reporting is quickly becoming the gold standard in financial management for the community association industry. By providing an immediate reporting mechanism when payments are due, owners have an incentive to make their payments on time. Timely payments will positively impact a homeowner’s Credit Score and, conversely, late payments will negatively impact the Credit Score.

Historically, Sperlonga has helped our clients reduce delinquencies by 35% per year. To find out more about credit reporting, contact us at info@sperlongadata.com or 844-652-4972.

Has YOUR homeowners association raised your credit score today?

Shouldn’t it? With Sperlonga’s credit reporting service it easily could.

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Ask your HOA today about signing up for Sperlonga’s credit reporting service and start getting the kudos you deserve.

Your HOA payments are a significant portion of your financial life – are you getting the credit you deserve from your timely payments?

If your HOA isn’t reporting your on-time payments to the credit bureaus, you are missing out on a big factor that could be improving your credit score.

Ask your HOA today about signing up for Sperlonga Data’s credit reporting service and start getting the kudos you deserve.

Contact Sperlonga today at info@sperlongadata.com or 844-652-4972 for more information.

Sperlonga Data is proud to announce our partnership with Collins & Associates of Tulsa, Oklahoma!

Yet another progressive management company to provide credit reporting services.

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By partnering with Sperlonga, Collins & Associates now has the most effective tool in community management for dealing with delinquent payments.

Collins & Associates, founded in 1948 by Robert B. Collins, has over 60 years of real estate management experience, with major focus on the professional management of Homeowners Associations.

We are excited to help the Collins & Associates communities reduce their delinquent accounts while rewarding their homeowners with positive points for paying their assessments on time. For most homeowners, having their on-time payment history reported to the credit bureaus increases their credit score and gives them the recognition they deserve for being a contributing member of their community.

By using Sperlonga, communities have seen upwards of a 35% reduction in delinquencies in their first year of reporting. By partnering with Sperlonga, Collins & Associates now has the most effective tool in community management for dealing with delinquent payments.

Interested in adding credit reporting to your property management toolbox? Contact Sperlonga today at info@sperlongadata.com or 844-652-4972 for more information.

Recovering Late Payments 180+ Days Past Due

Historically the largest category of debt that we see impacted by Sperlonga’s credit reporting is the 180+ days category.

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Recovering Late Payments 180+ Days Past Due

Repeatedly we hear from our clients that homeowners who had been neglecting their assessment payments for months are quick to get up to date when they see the delinquency listed on their credit report.

We also see an impact in the collections category – as a lien which may impact them someday, doesn’t affect a homeowner as much as a ding on their credit report affects them today.

Contact Sperlonga today about getting your aged accounts paid off and that revenue back into your community’s cash flow.

Contact us today for more information: 844-652-4972 or info@sperlongadata.com.

Consumer/Business Credit Reporting

DELIVERING NON-TRADITIONAL CONSUMER ACCOUNT DATA TO THE TRADITIONAL CREDIT ECOSYSTEM

Sperlonga is on a mission to simplify and improve the Accounts Receivables process for multiple industries.  We provide access to the same credit reporting technology used by multi-billion dollar financial institutions to streamline cash flow, reduce delinquencies, and manage risk for organizations.

By providing an immediate mechanism when payments are due, there is an incentive to pay on time.  Timely payments will result in positive remarks to individuals Credit Report.  Late payments will result in negative remarks to an individuals Credit Report.

Please fill out this quick quiz to find out more about credit reporting through Sperlonga Data.

 

 

Reputation Management for Property Managers

Property managers cannot afford to ignore their reviews; online reviews will inform the decision making of HOAs when choosing a property management company.

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Reputation Management for Property Managers

Prior to the internet (20+ years ago), property management companies made their reputation through word of mouth and written testimonials provided by current and past customers. Nowadays, with the advent of online review sites as well as testimonials on a corporate web site, it is possible to ramp up a reputation in fairly short order. Reputations, however, are just as easily harmed by poor reviews too. This is why it is so vital to the growth of a property management company to tend to its reviews. Property managers cannot afford to ignore their reviews; each bad review diminishes their reputation which could potentially cause loss of business.

Dissatisfied HOAs are always looking for alternatives to their present property managers, and while performing their research they will view testimonials and reviews of their current and potential property management company. These online reviews will inform their decision making.

The Importance of Online Reviews

Statistics prove that the overwhelming majority of consumers use reviews to assist their decisions. This isn’t limited to consumer products alone; it also extends into the service industry. In fact, sites that specialize in reviewing local contractors help homeowners find a reputable, reliable contractor for services from plumbing to home room additions. Sites like Angie’s List and Home Adviser have reputations that depend on checking backgrounds of their contractors, otherwise, a lack of vetting may cause a disaster at a customer’s property. There are also comprehensive sites such as Yelp and Google that review everything from a to z under their umbrellas. Between all the sites with reviews internet-wide, over 90% of purchases are decided by reading reviews, so the importance of them cannot be underestimated.

How to Begin Harnessing Your Online Presence

In many cases especially with new businesses that are not mindful of their online footprint, reviews are generated on a business “account” that was never created by the business in the first place. While it’s imperative to proactively create an account, it’s also crucial for maintaining an online reputation to “claim” the account when created by a reviewer. This way property managers can respond to reviews quickly and, in the case of a negative review, in such a way as to minimize any negative impact. Paying attention and responding to reviews politely can also help the original reviewer change his or her mind into changing a review to a positive one.

Claiming an account previously created by someone outside your company is fairly simple. For example, when you begin the process for claiming your business, Google asks questions regarding the business including name, address, phone number and web site URL. Google will then send a postcard containing a verification code that the company owner or representative enters into Google interface, thereby verifying business ownership. After your verification is complete, your business will not only appear on Google Maps, but any access to your account will be limited to your company or its representatives. Reviews, however, can still be added by users from the outside.

While keeping an eye on your own online reputation, don’t ignore that of your competition. See how they handle reviews, what they say, the solutions they employ. Even if your company is presently on a negative trajectory, it’s never too late to move the arrow upward. Never let it be said that learning from the competition does not improve your business.

Never Ignore Negative – or even Positive – Reviews

Good reputations take several years to develop but can be ruined in the blink of an eye. Creating prompt, well thought out responses are critical, with a professional writing tone that is both empathetic and reflects company integrity.

  • Create an online presence that illustrates that you listen to homeowners and board members. This not only means creating a comprehensive online review account with as much information as possible but making regular updates when necessary.
  • Promptly respond to all reviews. It doesn’t matter whether your reviews are positive or negative, it’s imperative to remain engaged with reviewers.
  • If you respond to a negative review, do not argue. Rather, take responsibility and offer a solution (or solutions, depending on the problem).
  • Follow up in a personal manner to all negative reviews. A phone call, private message or email will open the lines of communication.

Social Media Channel Engagement

Keeping your social media footprint current and lively will boost your reputation management. Comments and images on social media may not always be positive for a property management company, but it may well be worth keeping such a post when the solution becomes a net positive resulting in happy homeowners and board members. It’s important to stay on top of your social media because of the sheer volume of posts on these platforms (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook). Pinterest can be utilized to link to recent projects, while YouTube can link to videos of those projects.

Reputation Management Tools

Managing social media and review sites can be a daunting task for one property management company employee. This is why finding a good reputation management tool is very important. Be sure to research the tool for its viability and ease of use, and get testimonials from other current clients. The larger the app’s reach, the better it can potentially work for you. Imagine being able to log into 1 site and view all recent reviews, posts, and mentions of your company from anywhere on the internet? It will make you, the property manager, more powerful in being able to forestall complaints before they escalate into possible property damage or legal entanglements. It is well worth the cost of obtaining an application to help reign in negativity into an “online complaint funnel” that focuses on all online mentions except email. The initial cost may save tens of thousands over time, and create new business for your property management company as well.

Navigating Large HOA Maintenance Projects

In lieu of a special assessment for the project, a loan can defray the cost over time and it will impact the reserve the least.

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Navigating Large HOA Maintenance Projects

Eventually, an HOA board must brace itself for major construction, reconstruction or infrastructure projects. It’s taken for granted by boards that they will be eventually be required to install new sewers, remove trees or completely replace roofing – all projects that take a big chunk out of an annual budget. With a single family home, the homeowner may need a loan to underwrite the costs of a project; the same alternative can work for an HOA. Because the cost of major projects is shared by the homeowners, a special assessment could cover the cost, but if major reconstruction is required for a large development, financial assistance could be a more favorable alternative. If a board decides against a special assessment for the project, a loan can defray the cost over time and it will impact the reserve the least.

Steps Prior to Project Start

1. Perform Reserve Study: Even if your reserve study finds the HOA short of immediate cash for a large project, the need may supersede the cost. A reserve study helps to ascertain the financial health of the HOA, includes a financial analysis of the HOA, and explores financial alternatives in funding future projects. A reserve study will also include a needs assessment that will detail which projects should be addressed as the community ages.

2. Hire a Construction Manager to Perform a Site Review: a construction manager is not the same as the contractor. He is the “middleman” who keeps the Contractor(s) on schedule and reports back to the HOA Board and property manager. Construction managers are vital to maintaining communication between the various parties and helps to make sure the involved parties are paid during the course of progress payments. He will make sure that all the substantive details of each segment of the project are performed as required.

3. Site Review: in order to assess project cost, a site review is a must. For example, replacing sewer lines is not as simple as removing and replacing just the sewer lines themselves. It could require city permits, reserved parking (if the development does not have enough existing parking for contractor vehicles), tree removal services, concrete, and landscaping services. The construction manager, in tandem with the HOA board, performs the site review – the construction manager, because of his expertise, and the board, because of its knowledge of the property.

4. Write Project Specification: after the site review, the construction manager will compile the project specifications. These not only include the building aspects of the project but ancillary items such as storing equipment and materials, proper disposal, permits, sanitation, safety, timelines, payment schedules, warranty of work, certificates of insurance, and copies of contractors’ licenses. At this point, the construction manager should supply a report to the HOA board with recommendations for contractors and an overall estimate of the cost based on prior similar projects.

5. Request Bids: After the construction manager has compiled his specifications and provided the HOA board with his report, the board may wish to preliminarily vote for the construction manager to move forward with requests bids for the project or the various project segments, if applicable. This may take some time as the construction manager, property manager and/or board president may obtain several bids and testimonials for each contractor. During this time, if a loan is the best financial alternative, it is time for the HOA’s accountant to try and remove as many negatives as possible from its balance sheet (fines, late fees, or foreclosures). The cleaner the HOAs books are, the more likely the association is to obtain a loan at a favorable rate. Once bids are gathered and contractors voted upon at a board meeting (which may take up to 2 months to complete), it’s time for the next step.

Project Commencement

After choosing contractors but prior to actual project start, the parties must sign a contract and a Notice to Proceed. The latter specifies the project start date and what paperwork (contractor’s license, certificate of insurance, contact lists) will be required of the contractor. After the necessary documents are signed and compiled, the construction manager schedules an on-site meeting with the contractor to assess the construction site to minimize impact upon the residents and to the surrounding homeowners, as well as city-owned property. If multiple buildings are under construction, as in the case of a complete roofing upgrade, it’s important to discuss a project timeline, as well as inspection and payment schedule. If weather impacts progress and therefore progress payments, frequent communication among all parties is a must.

Schedule and Completion

Depending on the type of project, a start date must be chosen. Obviously, in rainy climates, it’s unwise to start a roofing project during the rainiest month of the year. Generally speaking, regardless of the location, spring is the start of drier weather (more specifically, from May through October). Unless it’s a smaller community, this should be a rule of thumb, even for sewer projects where water runoff can affect worker access. A schedule of approximately 4 to 6 months can cover both the preliminaries (from hiring a construction manager to signing contracts) and the job itself. If the job involves extensive reconstruction of a larger community, it may mean a schedule spanning more than one calendar year.

During the project preparation, it behooves the HOA board to keep residents advised of any obstructions, noise, blockages, as well as of progress and expectations. It’s also important to keep in touch with contractors to ensure the job is being performed on schedule and without incident. Keeping all parties in the loop will make the job run smoothly and lessen the likelihood of delays. Once completed, the board and construction manager must perform a walk-through to make sure all work is done to specification.

Staying on top of maintenance helps the HOA avert emergencies and plan for necessary projects. Creating a plan for large projects is critical for the long-term well-being of the community to not only maintain the quality of living but property values as well.

When to Seek Assistance from the HOA Attorney

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Personal and business relationships are central to maintaining the fiscal health of the community, so it’s wise to pick battles well.

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When to Seek Assistance from the HOA Attorney

The HOA attorney is an invaluable resource to turn to for advice on a plethora of topics, so if you have a firm you regularly confer with, stay with them. Larger property management companies generally engage with more than just one firm, depending on the size of the community. In most cases, it’s the property manager and the president who seek advice from the HOA attorney. This helps keep misunderstandings at a minimum (if other directors decide to contact the attorney independently) and it keeps legal expenses down. In case the directors are unaware of the protocol, the board must vote on who can contact the association attorney.

Property Managers: First Line of Defense

It’s always easier on the pocketbook and the nerves to seek amicable common ground in advance of taking legal action. If a homeowner disagrees with one of the HOA rules and complains to the board, it may simply be, within reason, easier for the board to change the rule rather than go through the unpleasantries of a lawsuit. Not only do lawsuits cost money, but they also create ill will between the homeowner and members of the board, as well as any other homeowners who may peripherally be involved in the proceeding. Many boards are not expert in the verbiage contained in their CC&Rs, so in this respect, property management will be as valuable a consultant as an attorney. At the very least, property managers will be able to dissect the problem and either confer with the board or forward the inquiry in a more digestible format to the HOA attorney. Because property managers have a legacy with the HOA and are impartial bystanders in a potential legal action, they can help steer the board to a simpler (and less stressful) solution.

Scenarios Making Legal Representation Necessary

At times, basic disagreements between a board and homeowner, vendor or a government entity can escalate to where legal advice is deemed virtually a necessity. Countless scenarios can land an HOA board in court, which is why the property manager is so important to act as an intermediary between the warring parties, to the best of his or her capability.

  • Poor vendor performance resulting in non-payment
  • Homeowner failing to follow rules or wishing to change rules
  • Collection of fines and foreclosure notifications and proceedings
  • Insurance claims
  • Property damage
  • Personal injury
  • Board malfeasance or failure to fulfill fiduciary duties
  • Government design review and special permits

If the property manager is not able to keep the HOA away from legal action, then a lawsuit may be necessary. It could be as relatively simple as the president having to appear in small claims court, or as complex (and rare) as a full jury trial.

Mediation Over Litigation

Because the vast majority of homeowners associations would prefer to avoid litigation, it’s up to the property management company to help the HOA find a viable alternative to the vagaries of legal action.

First, they need to be reminded of the cost of a protracted lawsuit. If a vendor has performed shoddy work resulting in further property damage to a group of condominiums, rather than sue for damages, write them a letter underscoring the board’s dissatisfaction and indicating that final payment will not be made. The association’s property management team can then contact the HOA’s insurance company to work with a contractor to pay for and repair the damages. While this may result in higher insurance premiums, it beats having each homeowner sue the HOA for potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars. Lawsuits can lay waste to a previously healthy reserve, which can negatively affect property values, so common sense is your friend in seeking the best resolution to legal issues.

Second, property management must emphasize to board members that legal entanglements take a great deal of time, robbing directors of productivity at both work and home. While a property manager can help, each individual HOA is a legal entity with the board as its ultimate decision maker and arbiter, so their involvement is a foregone conclusion.

Third, long-term legal issues can cause stress on the members of the board, especially the president, who carries a great deal more responsibility in these matters than the other directors. Not only will the HOA president suffer during this process, but the community as well because lawsuits can distract from other important duties. Neglect of duty can cause repercussions throughout the community, as the board may focus too much attention on the legal fight and not enough on the community at large.

And finally, a legal battle can harm relationships not just with homeowners, but with vendors and city officials as well. Personal and business relationships are central to maintaining the fiscal health of the community, so it’s wise to pick battles well. There is no such thing as a sure thing in the legal profession, with property managers providing a much-needed reality check to boards who want to go the court route before even considering more sensible options.

Ultimately, there is no substitute for face-to-face discussion between the two parties and getting whatever is decided in writing, whether it’s a disgruntled homeowner seeking a rule change or a vendor demanding payment. It may mean a longer board meeting to discuss these issues in front of homeowners, or an executive session to bring the parties together, perhaps with attorneys and property manager present, but these are still lower stress, lower cost alternatives to a months-long, or even years-long, legal imbroglio that can harm the community’s quality of life.

Assisting a New HOA Board During Transition

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Being a board member may be a volunteer position, but a vital one that helps maintain the health, appearance and property values of your community.

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Assisting a New HOA Board During Transition

Many homeowners associations having annual meetings in the fall, so the early winter is spent with newly minted directors “getting their feet wet” learning their responsibilities. As members, especially if they have attended meetings already, most directors know a small part of “the drill,” such as posting announcements and holding quarterly board meetings, but the intricacies involve a lot more than what is on the surface in a meeting agenda. This is why it is vital for new directors to obtain as much information from the property manager, current board members, and retiring directors. Previous members of the board of directors will no doubt spend the first quarter of their retirement being besieged by questions from new directors. It, therefore, helps that the retired directors have as much documentation at the ready, as well as to give the newly elected director the property management company’s website URL to be able to view detailed responsibilities of each member of the board.

Documenta Providing Continuity

Along with providing a website URL to learn the basics, incumbent board members who are transitioning out of their positions on the board should compile, during their tenures, a digital (if possible) folder of documents and correspondences over their tenure with regard to contracts with vendors, a list of preferred vendors, invoices, minutes and meeting agendas, and other letters and emails between members and directors or members and the property manager having to do with complaints, fees and/or maintenance issues. Executive session documentation is confidential and should be kept between the directors and property management. Don’t forget the most basic source of information and community structure: the community CC&Rs. These are vital for learning how to govern the HOA, from assessments to fees, reserves, board meetings, agendas, and elections.

Financial and Security Information

Those who are transitioning into the role of board treasurer should discuss financials and receive a copy of at least 2-3 years of the association’s budget from either the outgoing treasurer or the property manager. If the HOA has low reserves, the beginning of the new directors’ term is a good time to learn why funding is lacking, and what is being done to address it. It’s a good idea for a property management accounting employee with bank documents to attend the HOA annual meeting so that new directors can become signatories and bills remain paid in a timely manner. Be sure to also obtain the latest reserve study. In general, depending on your governing documents or state, reserve studies are conducted yearly or every other year.

If there are any keys to secure areas such as phone wiring boxes, security systems, gates, pool houses, or fire extinguisher boxes, they should be turned over to the new director(s). New directors should also download cell phone apps with access to security system camera if applicable.

Basic Information: Neighbors and Vendors

As a director, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open with your fellow members, hence one of the first bits of information to obtain is a complete list of homeowners (and renters) in your community. Absentee landlords should be able to share renter names and phone numbers with renter permission. In case of emergencies or other issues that may cause inconvenience, it’s important to have both phone numbers AND email addresses. If, for example, your parking lot security gate will undergo maintenance between specific hours, it’s important to get the word out so that residents can park their vehicles elsewhere. Likewise, if a sewer issue requires immediate attention and residents’ water must be turned off temporarily. The more informed directors are regarding projects and how they affect the members of the community, the more effective they will be at their jobs.

Property managers will usually have a comprehensive list of preferred vendors for their communities: plumbers, electricians, handymen, security specialists, and landscapers. In addition, they should have a list of contacts at City Hall when assistance is needed with permitting, trash disposal, tree removal or other items requiring city approvals or permits. In the event of after-hours emergency when immediate help is needed, 24-hour vendor information is extremely important to have at hand.

Seek Educational Sources

Directors – in fact, most homeowners – are extremely busy people, and as such can’t always be present to assist fledgling board members with questions. With this in mind, there are many alternatives. First, property managers are invaluable sources of information. They will possess a broad knowledge of your property’s history and how various issues are handled. They may also have seminars or webinars available for new directors. They should also be able to provide new directors with outside source material on other websites, such as for the state, or other informational sites specific to the state that contains statutes and advisories on how to implement those statutes.

Being a board member is work that carries with it serious fiduciary responsibilities, so while the becoming a director offers an excellent opportunity to get to know your neighbors and community better, it ultimately means diplomacy and sobriety are necessary. The job may be a volunteer position, but a vital one that helps maintain the health, appearance and property values of your community. As a new member, you’ll appreciate the time and effort other directors put into making your living space a better place.

Financial Options for Low Reserve HOAs

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Reserve studies determine the ongoing health of the development and act as advisories on how to best keep reserves up and spending in check.

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Financial Options for Low Reserve HOAs

When HOA reserve funds for a community become perilously low, it places the development at risk when planning for the long-term and helping keep emergencies at bay. There are, however, many strategies a property manager can employ to assist a board when reserves become low. The most important thing is to not panic because, in truth, every HOA increases its reserves month to month, so remind the board that Rome was not built in a day, and reserves will be built up over time with judicious planning.

When Low Reserves are Unavoidable

No matter how well an HOA’s reserves are funded, emergencies can always occur. While the board must remain proactive with community maintenance, there are times when even the most diligent of boards can have property issues that wipe out a great deal of accumulated reserve. It is, on the whole, easier for larger developments to absorb large losses to their reserves because their monthly dues can help build back up the reserve fairly quickly.

With small HOAs, restoring reserve integrity may prove to be more difficult, hence the property manager’s assistance may be necessary for providing much needed financial direction. No board member wants to neglect his or her fiduciary duty, so a consultation with the management company in providing ideas may help get over the “we have no money to do this project” hump may be just the salve needed during the slow and sometimes difficult reserve build-up process. In some cases, assessments may be painfully necessary when reserves are underfunded.

Risks of Underfunded Reserves

with low reserves comes the immediate risk of not being able to perform large emergency repairs, but other risks come with lack of backup funding for those repairs. Reserves reflect on the financial standing of the HOA, and of the board itself. While many repairs coming during one particular year may deplete reserves for a time, the board not being attentive and continuing pattern of underfunding reserves should be addressed by the property management company. Its expertise is eminently valuable in helping rein in an overspending board of directors.

Risk 1: Special Assessments

Since board members are not expected to know the exact reserve level at any one time, it’s up to the property manager to remind them that they cannot do a project because association reserves are low. Depending on how crucial the project is (for example, tenting the complex to forestall termite encroachment), the situation may call for a special assessment. How special assessment votes are conducted depends from state to state, with some states leaving it up to property documents, while others use statute as the ultimate arbiter. Property managers can help guide boards in this process, assisting how to conduct secret balloting process.

Risk 2: Property Devaluation and Selling Difficulty

It may be a detail of the selling process that many HOA members do not think about, but it is vitally important: they should know what their reserve level will be before they sell your property. If it is underfunded, they should know why, when it happened, and how long it may take to restore funding. It may be wise to wait, with assurances from board and property management company, that there are no other projects anticipated in months to come that would further deplete the reserve.

If waiting is not an option, a low reserve may prove advantageous to a future buyer, but not so for the homeowner looking to sell. In such cases, it would behoove the seller to consult with the property manager to obtain a copy of the most recent reserve study. The property manager can remind the seller that his or her selling price may erode comparable property values in the neighborhood. Worst-case scenario, a potential buyer may back out of a deal if he or she is not able to obtain a loan due to a low reserve.

It is easy to understand why a new buyer would second guess a decision to purchase a property with an underfunded reserve. A low reserve may indicate a property that incurs a lot of maintenance cost. If the maintenance is ongoing, it may mean continued increases in association dues. This is why access to the reserve study as well as input from the property manager is so important.

Financing While Growing Reserves

Every property management company has resources available when a homeowners association is crying out for funds during times when reserves are low. As a stopgap solution, financing is a boon to underfunded reserves because, while the payments required may be temporary stressors on the future monthly contributions to the reserve, financing could provide a solution to addressing short-term problems before they turn into long-term larger expenses.

When obtaining a loan to avoid tapping into reserves, the finance company considers the homeowners association in much the same way as an individual borrower, with one exception: every homeowner in the association will undergo a credit check. When there is a history of one or more homeowners being late with paying dues, the prospect of obtaining a loan lowers. At this point, it is up to the board in concert with the property management to make sure all dues are current. If a collection agency is required to keep dues current, it may be worth it for the HOA to pursue this option.

Reserve Studies: Remind the Board

Homeowners associations, as a matter of course, should conduct a reserve study every 3 years. Reserve studies determine the ongoing health of the development and act as advisories on how to best keep reserves up and spending in check. They, with help from the management company, will help assist in providing direction on where to spend money most effectively. Reserve studies may not be top of mind to board members, but they are to property managers. It’s vital for property managers to not only remind the board of the importance of the reserve study but to make sure it’s scheduled prior to annual meetings or periods of low reserves. The board may feel panicky during periods of low reserves – but as a voice of experience and calm, it’s crucial for the property manager to remind them that with time, the association will emerge healthy again.

Why Homeowners Should Join their HOA Board

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Serving on an HOA board can be difficult at times, but it can also be a positive life-changing experience. By being a volunteer board member, you can help create a harmoniously functioning community.

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Why Homeowners Should Join their HOA Board

Regardless of the size of the HOA, where the development is located geographically, or the demographics of its homeowners, there are some aspects shared amongst all associations, the most important of which is that each and every homeowner wants what is best for his or her property, and to do everything possible to maintain the property value. This is why involvement in the inner workings of the association is so significant. Becoming a member of the HOA board and being at the center of activity, from budgeting to problem-solving, allows a homeowner a deeper understanding of how vital it is to collect dues, address repairs, fine violators and resolve complaints.

The reasons are many for a homeowner to join his or her HOA board of directors apart from helping with the vital running functions of the community. On a personal level, joining the board of directors can build leadership and teambuilding skills. A directorial position also allows homeowners to give back to the community and show how much they care about maintaining it and making sure it is also in good financial shape. Being a director also allows one the opportunity to listen to others with different viewpoints, and arrive at more well-informed decisions based on varied opinions and experiences.

What is an HOA?

The homeowner’s association is essentially a nonprofit entity with all homeowners as members. The Board of Directors oversees the decision making and oversight, while the management company deals with the day-to-day functioning of the development, as well as issuing tax returns on an annual basis. HOA CC&Rs contain relevant information on budgeting, dues collection and enforcement rules and regulations. If a new board member doesn’t have this document, it can generally be requested from the community manager (if there is one) or from the county public records. CC&Rs also contain information regarding the formation and structure of the board of directors and their individual responsibilities.

The CC&Rs contain one very overlooked but vitally important piece of information: How many board members are required for your HOA to reach a quorum. Quorum is what is required for decision making, but it is vital to elections and to the very existence of the HOA. In many states, if there is no election quorum (3 nominations for 3 available board seats), even one director can appoint other directors to achieve a quorum in an open meeting. If a quorum is not achievable, your HOA may need to go to court and appoint a receiver, an expensive proposition that, in effect, results in the membership relinquishing control over the community. This is why if election times come and directors are leaving the board, it’s important to bring new volunteers into the fold as soon as possible before election time.

Becoming a Member of the Board of Directors

Everyone who is a homeowner in your community is also an HOA member. Each HOA has a different composition of its board of directors, according to the size of the community. For example, a 15 unit complex may only have 3 directors, while a massive development of 500 homes may have 20. These commonly include a President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Each officer has different responsibilities, for example, the President typically sets the agenda, and the Secretary takes meeting minutes, while the Treasurer signs checks (whether paper or online).

Generally, HOA bylaws require that there be a minimum number of board members who serve for pre-ordained terms. The CC&Rs describe who can serve on the board and provide descriptions of election procedures. The documents also determine the required meetings and describe meeting and voting procedures. If a director or other HOA member approaches you to join the board for the coming year perhaps, once placed on the ballot and elected, you will then attend quarterly board meetings and report findings according to your position.

What Makes a (Potentially) Good Board Member?

To be a good board member, you cannot merely be a people pleaser. While every board’s goal is to keep the peace in the community concerning its decision making, you cannot please everyone every time. There will always be an occasional fine to be assessed, trees that need to be cut down, or a special assessment that must be done. You’ll need to use your patience and diplomatic skills to navigate through administrative issues that may result in personal confrontation – if a vote, for instance, doesn’t go a certain way. As a member of the board, you become part of an invaluable team that helps keep the community humming.

Being a positive influence in your community is always a plus when faced with tough, at times discouraging decisions. If it becomes necessary to spend a large chunk of the reserve for emergency repairs, and other promised repairs must be delayed, it helps to remain optimistic while the reserve is being built up, and encourage affected homeowners that they are top of mind. Getting to know your neighbors as fellow homeowners with different issues than your own is a valuable exercise in empathy. When neighbors begin to let their guard down to the board and bring issues out into the open, the partnership between the board of directors and its membership.

When serving on the board, the position entails becoming a business person, an essential part of the governing team of a corporation – the HOA. Thinking in the long-term rather than short-term results in better decisions t benefit the community at large. The board is the entity that makes these decisions; a board member that has no authority of his or her own. But when issues are brought up at board meetings, a good board member should be fair, and formulate decisions based on improving the community at large rather than on his or her own self-interests.

Although serving on an HOA board can be difficult at times, it can also be a life-changing experience. Not only does being a volunteer board member help create a harmoniously functioning community, but it also looks good on a resume too. Recruiters find volunteer experience, especially on the governing board, an excellent indicator of being a team player and problem solver. It also shows character by way of giving up valuable time for little to no compensation.

How To Become a Board Member

If you are interested in serving on the board of your HOA, be sure to attend meetings and educate yourself. Meet your neighbors and hear about issues that affect them, and see how much commonalities you share. The experience will change your perspective as a member of the community. Be sure to express your interest to a current board member at least 2-3 months before the annual meeting. If there is an opening after a board member’s retirement, it may be an excellent time to join. Get involved for your community!

Best Practices for Responding to HOA Member Complaints and Emergencies

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Having your response plan is not just a proactive measure, but it also helps maintain reserve levels and property values, and that’s precisely what an HOA should aim for.

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Best Practices for Responding to HOA Member Complaints and Emergencies

When it comes to complaints and emergencies, HOA directors and management company representatives should be prepared to “expect the unexpected” – that is, if association members are not fully aware of what they should do in the event of an occurrence that requires an unexpected level of involvement.

Homeowners: Use Common Sense

Unforeseen problems can run from the fairly routine, such as pest incursion during hot weather, to emergency situations such as fire, earthquake or flood. While your property management company will probably have some involvement after-the-fact in these scenarios, generally speaking (depending on HOA governing documents and rules), most are handled individually by the homeowner, with assistance by expert trained personnel (fire, ambulance, police). The number one priority during one of these events is to use common sense while protecting life and limb first. Should trained personnel be required to intervene in an emergency, make sure their instructions are followed. This is critically important especially when a crime has been committed.

Management Company Responsibilities

After a natural disaster, or a flooding problem (such as the bursting of a sewer pipe), it is important for the management company to lead the way in helping the homeowner(s) obtain assistance through the HOA’s insurance. The estimate, repair and reconstruction process can take from days to months, depending on the type and severity of the occurrence. In the event of a sewer pipe explosion that may damage several homes, a resolution may take months, while spraying for ants will usually be a once a year proposition, if that frequently.

Board of Directors: Provide Guidance & Assistance

Homeowners grow to depend on the members of their board, however, they are not the first to consult in the event of emergencies, and when minor complaints arise within the community. If yours is a “No Smoking” complex, and you witness residents smoking, especially in areas that can be potentially hazardous, this may not be a minor infraction but warrants a fine to the offending rule breaker. In this situation, it is appropriate to seek advice from a director. The board can then address the issue at a meeting, and remind homeowners through meeting minutes, that rules violations mean fines, without exceptions. At that point, the board can vote to fine the homeowner or to allow a one-time exception to serve as a warning before fines are assessed.

Make a Plan and Stick to It

Every HOA should have an emergency plan which is discussed with and provided to each homeowner prior to moving into the property. The plan should address a number of different contingencies and how a homeowner should handle them: whether the homeowner should contact 911, the management company, the board, or in rare events, call a preferred HOA vendor directly. In the prior example of a bursting sewer pipe, even if the event occurs during business hours, if the affected homeowner is unable to reach a management company representative in a timely fashion, that is when it becomes crucial to contact the preferred vendor, as any delay will likely impact the amount of potential damage.

A fundamental part of your emergency plan should involve the board of directors’ fiduciary responsibilities. When homes have incurred damage, there is a lot of decision making to be made: estimates to be voted upon, construction timelines scheduled, coordination with the management company on choosing vendors and making payments. There may be unforeseen expenses, actions on which should be contained in the association governing documents. If emergency procedures require updating, it behooves the board and management company work together to best inform all HOA members in the most expeditious manner possible. In any event, emergency response plan documents, when updated, should be sent both electronically with a paper copy to each HOA.

Criminal Activity: First Responders and HOA

When a crime occurs in the community, its consequences show how the various constituents of the HOA can work together to achieve a mutually beneficial result. It’s always a best practice to call first responders in the event of theft, robbery or vandalism. To counter those criminal activities, the association may wish to implement a security system. If crime has been an intrinsic problem to the community, installation of a security system may need to be expedited. Competitive bids, board meetings to decide on a vendor, work schedule – all are the responsibility of the board, with coordination of vendor approval and payments with the management company.

If a crime occurs after the security system is in place, homeowners would still need to contact the police first, then the security system vendor directly, who can supply video or screenshots of any criminal activity, which can be subsequently shared with local authorities. While the members of the board need not be included in the contact chain, it’s a good idea to contact at least one director, who can share the information with the board president. This way if additional security procedures are needed, they can be discussed as an agenda item at the next board meeting, with the affected homeowner present.

Preserving Community Integrity: Short and Long Term

When a deferred expense suddenly becomes an emergency expense, it makes sense for boards to create expenditure guidelines to help keep reserves funded, perform an annual reserve study to keep funding on track and to be prudent when creating the need for special assessments. Requirements may ebb and flow, according to both the financial and structural health of the community, so it is always best to attack those issues that may grow into larger, more expensive problems before they break the bank.

Despite exhaustive preparation, the unexpected may happen and these circumstances require a clear understanding of board member, management company, and membership responsibilities. Having your response plan is not just a preemptive/proactive measure, but it also helps maintain reserve levels and property values, and that’s precisely what an HOA should aim for.

HOA Board vs. Property Manager Responsibilities

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The property manager should be the first line of contact when there are complaints or urgent time-sensitive issues, acting according to the policies established by the board.

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HOA Board vs. Property Manager Responsibilities

HOA Boards are generally composed of homeowners who are either employed full time or are retired. They depend on property management companies to provide support for a wide variety of duties, but the property manager should never be responsible for the duties allocated to the board, and vice versa. The property management company should be the conduit affecting board decisions; it should rarely be placed in the position of making decisions unless CC&Rs warrant.

Financial Responsibilities

While the property manager’s staff may oversee issuing payments, it should never have signature authority. Governing documents provide rules regarding the steps required when jobs are performed by outside vendors, invoices are issued by vendors, and the president and/or treasurer are tasked with signing off. Unless an HOA wants to be in nonstop audit mode in order to forestall embezzlement, it is ill-advised to allow a property management company to handle any financials beyond cutting checks and issuing an annual P & L. It is also within the property management purview to hire a CPA to perform the HOA annual tax returns, with the CPA and board president acting as signatories.

Setting Rules (including changing CC&Rs)

Occasionally during meetings (and through correspondence to both board members and property managers), rules may need to be created or amended. For example, in municipalities that create no-smoking ordinances in public areas, a no smoking policy should be voted on by the board, “No Smoking” signs posted, and a fine assessed for breaking the rule. When there are rules set forth in CC&Rs that require updates, these are decided by the board, with consultation from the HOA attorney.

Waiving Fees and Fines

In the event of extenuating circumstances (set forth usually during an executive session), a board of directors may decide to compromise on fees or waive them altogether. This may be necessary to avoid a lien or legal action against a homeowner, which may create even more expenses for the HOA that is worth pursuing; the board may deem it more important to maintain goodwill than pursuing legal action. Once the board has voted, it forwards its recommendation to the property manager who will act accordingly. These decisions must be kept confidential as to avoid creating a situation where other homeowners may believe there is “favoritism” involved.

Architectural Updates

Whether they are changes undertaken to the exterior of the building (for example, painting or common area fencing) or large-scale interior changes desired by a homeowner, these decisions are made by the board. While the property management company can suggest preferred vendors, or solicit and submit bids to the board from vendors, it cannot make decisions on the changes themselves. If it is an exterior change, it is up to the board to also keep the aesthetics consistent with the current look and feel of the development. Once the board receives bids and referrals or testimonials, it can then vote on the project during a regularly scheduled meeting. If the work is subpar, the property manager can make the determination, based on assessments obtained after board president (or another director) has done a walkthrough, to fire the underperforming vendor. While the board makes the decision to choose a vendor (unless there is a longstanding relationship with vendors, especially during emergencies), it is the property management company’s responsibility to maintain contact with vendors during the project, not the board’s. For example, vendors should contact the management company regarding the timeliness of payments, not members of the board of directors.

There are occasions where, if the property manager has established a legacy with a particular HOA, he or she may be privy to valuable information the board may not. As an example, a board contracted a vendor to replace a compromised wood siding wall with stucco. A wall light was removed during the construction process. The construction company indicated it would purchase a new replacement light to improve the existing aesthetics. Upon installation, common areas were plunged into darkness from sunset to sunrise. It was up to the property manager to obtain an electrician specializing in diagnosing the source of the problem. This property manager also understood that mass market lighting could prove incompatible when installed using the HOA commercial wiring.

Emergency Situations

When homeowners move into a development, they are provided with the protocol involved when reporting emergencies. The property management company takes care of any emergencies with regard to utilities and services:

  • Water/plumbing
  • Electrical (in times of outage, contact utility directly)
  • Security system (surveillance, gates, and doors)
  • Gas leaks (contact utility directly)
  • Pest control and gardening/tree trimming (in an emergency or if an obstruction is caused)

In the event of a security issue involving theft or burglary, homeowners must call local authorities. Should a fire occur in either a homeowner’s property, parking or common areas, it is common sense for any homeowner witnessing this emergency to immediately call 911 or the local fire department, not the property manager or board members. Time is of the essence when fire or theft are involved.

If a flood emergency, especially a sewer line break, threatens property, and homeowners are aware of the preferred emergency vendor’s contact information (provided during the move-in process), it’s always best practice to contact the vendor directly, especially after property management company business hours. Immediate response will help remediate effects of water incursion and minimize potential property damage. While the board consults with the property management company in submitting and settling property damage claims to the HOA insurance company, it is not a board responsibility to contact them directly.

Best Practices for Absentee Landlords and Renters

If the property is occupied by a renter, it is the responsibility of the absentee landlord to provide the renter with the property manager’s contact information, local authorities’ phone numbers, as well as relevant vendor contact information. The landlord should also make it clear that any work performed within the confines of the homeowner’s individual property (absent of emergency) will be charged to the landlord, not to the HOA, and thus will be charged back to the renter if the problem was caused by them (i.e., plugged toilet due to flushing large paper items, not by tree root obstruction).

Renters may not be aware they are doing things against the rules – such as storing items in areas that may result in fines, smoking in common areas, making noise after hours – and it is up to the landlord to convey these rules or the landlord will face fines that may accumulate over time. If the renter is not informed, he/she should not be obligated to pay these fines, so it is vital for landlords to provide as much “move-in” information to their renters as possible.

Who You Gonna Call?

Ultimately, the board makes decisions, and the property management company acts on those decisions. The property manager should also be the first line of contact when there are complaints or urgent time-sensitive issues. Homeowners should be mindful that contacting board members during emergencies or other property maintenance issues is not the most efficient path. They may need to be gently reminded that board members are homeowners too.

Best Practices for Enforcing HOA & COA Rules

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It is crucial for all homeowners to understand their CC&Rs and for property managers to assist board members when violations occur. Keeping lines of communication open between all parties will keep the peace, and help keep property values where they should be.

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Our lives are governed by rules. Whether it’s stopping at a red light or remaining quiet in a library, many rules are a “given,” while others are learned along the way. When you purchase your first home, aside from reading the “Don’t” signs posted in the development, it’s general practice to learn from the HOA Property Manager or from CC&Rs as far as what is acceptable and what is not. Many rules stem from municipal codes, while others apply common sense solutions for keeping property values stable and keeping homeowners safe.

Maintaining Home Aesthetic Appeal

If a neighbor paints his home lime green, what recourse does the homeowner next door have? It goes without saying that while living under the auspices of an HOA, every homeowner must consult the Property Manager and the Board regarding major updates, such as paint, adding to structure, windows or landscaping. It makes sense to keep property aesthetics consistent, and if a specific paint color is required, every homeowner should adhere to this rule.

Property Managers should remind longtime homeowners too that they must consult their governing documents, the Board, and the Property Management company before any work is done on the exterior of a townhome or a single family home. If a homeowner decides, against the rules, after consulting with the Property Manager and Board, to paint his house a non-conforming color, he or she may be on the receiving end of a warning letter asking them to paint the home an acceptable color or face a fine.

It behooves the Property Manager to keep a list of each development’s requirements, as well as colors, manufacturers, materials, and contractors. Armed with this information, homeowners will be well informed about the kind of updates they can make. Association rules, in keeping with municipal codes, may also contain curfew regulations on days of the week and times of day when contractors are allowed to work. For example, if your city code stipulates that there should be no contracting begun before 7 am, and your workers begin work at 6 am, a neighbor may be within his rights to call the police, and either you or the HOA may be cited.

Health and Safety Rules

While aesthetics are important to property value, maintaining the health and safety of the development is equally important. Many cities already have codes limiting smoking, for example, and even provide HOAs with signs to place property-wide to remind residents and renters that they may not only face fines from the HOA but from the city as well. City codes governing smoking are especially critical in high fire danger areas, where an errant cigarette carelessly tossed can cause great property damage.

Other HOA health and safety rules include the following:

  • Pool use rules
  • Recreational facilities rules (rec room, gym, playground)
  • Common area uses (picnicking, pets, children)
  • Trash removal (limits on what is allowed, and weight thereof)
  • Laundry facility (hours, capacity limits and restrictions on how many can be used at a time)
  • Fire hazard mitigation (storage of toxic materials on or behind property or in front of parking spaces)

Enforcing Security Rules

For gated communities and complexes, security is an especially important function that not only ensures that residents sleep soundly at night, but is a property enhancement that adds to the home value. Many developments have rules regarding visitors, usage of designated parking spaces, keys and key cards, and leaving security gates ajar. Many others employ security guards whose job it is to maintain visitor flow and remain vigilant for rule breakers. In the event of a security rule being compromised, the Property Management company may consult with not just the Board, but with law enforcement authorities as well. It is especially helpful when making the case to warn or fine a residentto know the time of day and date when the violation occurred and use the HOA on-site security camera system to corroborate findings.

Property Management Company and Board Enforcement Strategy

Most property management companies and HOAs use an escalating strategy with regard to rules enforcement. First, there must be proof that rules are being broken by a specific homeowner (word of mouth, eyewitnesses, security camera footage). Once the Board, through its members, consults with the Property Manager to write a warning letter, the homeowner will be apprised of the penalty they should expect if the behavior is not corrected.

If the rule violation continues, fines will normally be assessed on a monthly basis, with the amount displayed in the monthly association dues statement. This serves as an ongoing reminder to the homeowner that the fines will continue to mount if there is no course correction.

In cases of egregious repeated violations, the homeowner may be the subject of a lien. This is an absolute last resort, as a homeowner may view this kind of action as discrimination or harassment. Lawsuits involving HOAs and homeowners yield inconsistent results and involve a lot of out-of-pocket expense, much of which can be avoided with a more comprehensive strategy involving all parties. In one circumstance at a California HOA, a homeowner found fines for storing in front of his parking place discriminatory. He indicated that Board members were harassing him to move items elsewhere. He was not only breaking HOA rules but in violation of municipal code. In order to prevent a threatened lawsuit, the Board settled on a 50% payment of dues assessed, payable at any time before the property sale.

Consistent enforcement across all rules for all homeowners is vital in order to prevent expensive lawsuits. This is why it is crucial for all homeowners to understand and read their CC&Rs and for property managers to assist board members when violations occur. Keeping lines of communication open between all parties will keep the peace, and help keep property values where they should be.

How to Maintain an Orderly HOA Board Meeting

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While discussing important agenda items is vital, keeping a debate moving on to the next agenda item and keeping a discussion on the topic is crucial.

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How to Maintain an Orderly HOA Board Meeting

HOA members, regardless of the size of the association, are busy juggling many responsibilities. Work, family and home improvement take up most of the time that is not devoted to sleep. With that in mind, directors should remember that while they are the decision makers, they and all their fellow members are human and occasionally display their shortcomings at board meetings – even when meeting rules are in force.

Whether your association has 20 homes or 2,000, respectful conduct and order should be maintained at board meetings. But we are human, and there are times when frustration and impatience take over that meetings can become sources of contention, especially when a member is dismissed out of hand, or feels his or her concerns have been ignored over a period of time.

Challenges Facing Smaller HOAs

Smaller associations without rec rooms or meeting centers generally are more informal, with meetings held usually at one of the director’s homes. Decorum is generally looser since the association members are tighter knit and members are almost always on the same page when it comes to knowing issues that should be addressed in the short term as well as long term. With intimacy, however, comes occasional controversy and contention that can arise during the course of a board meeting (or in the common area before a meeting). Because smaller sized HOAs have a comparatively limited number of directors, the effect of a disruptive member is more immediate and should be addressed without delay.

As an example, one such smaller association (14 units) had had a persistent problem with residents placing belongings in front of their parking places in the property’s underground parking lot. This behavior is against CC&Rs and monthly penalties are assessed for the repeat, persistent violators. One homeowner was warned on several occasions that his renter needed to stash his belongings elsewhere, as not only was this against rules, but it was also a fire department violation that could incur fines against the HOA upon inspection. The behavior continued, penalties continued to pile up, and the homeowner, who never attended board meetings, decided to finally attend, and during the open forum portion of the meeting, launched a 15 minute invective on the unfairness and excessiveness of the penalties assessed against him (approximately $2000 over the course of 18 months). Despite attempts to forestall him, he continued virtually unabated, in an effort to have the entire debt scrubbed from his account. Having done little to further his cause, the board later met in executive session to reduce it somewhat, with the stipulation that, if the debt was not resolved by the homeowner in a timely manner, it would be resolved once his home was sold. During that executive session, the directors also decided upon future rules of conduct, limiting individual open forum time and that any lengthy issues be addressed in writing to both the management company and to the board.

Averting Disruption at Larger Association Board Meetings

Larger HOAs face a different set of challenges altogether. These communities have a board with several more members than a smaller HOA, and with the more expansive board come more potential disruption problems during meetings. In order to encourage attendance and to keep a healthy turnaround of directors from year to year, it’s important to nip these issues in the bud as soon as they begin.

Instead of the collegiality of a smaller HOA, where members, while adhering to rules of order, meet more casually, larger association meetings are more formal, employing stricter time schedules to keep meetings from becoming marathon complaint sessions. It’s also important to encourage deliberation amongst the directors, should an agenda item come to a vote. Members feel confident with this level of transparency, however, if the agenda item is particularly contentious and requires a great deal of discussion time, directors may experience difficulty maintaining control. While keeping the meeting on a schedule is important, it’s critical that members’ issues are reasonably vented for further consideration, which may mean a longer time block allocated to a specific agenda item, or to the open forum. Directors should remain mindful regarding open forum time to make sure that homeowners are able to air their comments and that their comments are committed to meetings notes recorded by the board secretary.

Remain Focused and Timely

Directors should always make the assumption that their fellow members have a family and work life and do not wish to spend 4 hours at an HOA board meeting – no matter how important the issues may be. While discussing important agenda items is vital, keeping a debate moving on to the next agenda item and keeping a discussion on the topic is crucial. At this time directors should exercise diplomacy and keep members aware that agenda items should be discussed in an orderly manner, one at a time, on topic. Should any member become disruptive, use your better judgment to diffuse the member, from initiating a vote on an agenda item to asking the person to leave. If any items remain unresolved, they can be tabled to the next board meeting or, if urgent, handled via committee through email or a subsequent committee meeting that reports its findings to the board at large at a subsequent meeting.

Long meetings may appear productive because of the length of discussion, but they also can lead to imprudent decision making by fatigued directors, and an equally tired membership that veers off the agenda to points unknown. To avoid these problems, keep your agenda simple and make sure directors read associated agenda materials ahead of time (whether via hard copy or email). HOA members in attendance do not want to wait for directors to read through a 10-page construction bid during the meeting and then vote on it.

Ultimately the board must build a trust between itself and the membership to help ensure that, while bad behavior is discouraged, disagreement is not. With constructive disagreement comes learning, and the realization that when the decision making process involves the general membership, a better result can be achieved. The outcome: a more harmonious community.

How to Hire and Fire HOA Vendors

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Property management companies can help steer HOA boards through the complicated and tedious steps involved in selecting the best vendor.

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How to Hire and Fire HOA Vendors

How Important is Choosing the Right HOA Vendor?

Recruiting and hiring new vendor partners for an HOA vendor list is a vital responsibility of the property management company. Choosing vendors means fewer headaches for the HOA and a sense of calm for both the management company and the board that a quality vendor contractor will mean a job well done. On the other hand, without a fully-vetted vendor list, an HOA may be left in the precarious position of hiring less than qualified contractors. In this scenario, property managers must intervene to assist board members in finding the right vendor for the job. It can be a time-consuming endeavor,but it can also save a lot of future headaches and potential legal problems.

The property management company has the ability to introduce its HOAs to vendors with whom they have established long-standing relationships, but choosing a specific vendor / contractor should be done with care, as every HOA has specific needs, and one vendor that would fit a larger community may not be the right choice for a small condo complex. An HOA’s board of directors has a fiduciary duty to conduct business thoughtfully, with the best interest of the community in mind.

Choosing HOA Vendors to Fit the Property

Property managers may oversee several properties, so what process should they follow to select the appropriate vendor for the job? When choosing a vendor, the choice made isn’t just a matter of the partner with whom the management company has the best relationship, but the one best suited for the job. As an example, a commercial landscaping contractor accustomed to grooming acres of lawn and trimming dozens of trees would not be an appropriate landscaper for a 14 unit condo complex with no lawn and a handful of trees. Larger contractors require more expansive jobs to cover overhead; smaller companies may have far fewer employees, less equipment, and far less overhead as a result.

This is not to say the smaller company is less qualified to do the work, but many certifications and licenses required for larger communities are not necessary with smaller complexes. At a minimum, however, all vendors should have business licenses and/or insurance coverage as required by law. Should an accident occur with the vendor at fault, the association may be forced to use its own liability insurance, hence the vigilance and essential “checking off” of qualifications before the vendor is hired.

Property Managers: Get the Board Involved

The property management company can help steer the board of directors through the complicated and tedious steps involved in selecting the best vendor, but, before you get started, keep these rules of thumb in mind:

– For larger jobs, such as deferred maintenance projects, obtain 3 bids. If the property manager does not have 3 appropriate contractors for the project on his or her preferred vendor list, then it’s time to research. Invite the board of directors to assist; they are valuable assets in determining what is best for their property.

– When you receive an estimate/bid, make sure that what is being offered is what was requested. At times, contractors may be tempted to pad their costs because of ancillary work that they believe could be beneficial (but not necessarily crucial). If the board and property manager believe the additional work is not critical to the project at hand but could be performed at a later date, ask the potential vendor to create a separate bid to be done at a later date. Ask for an expiration date for the bid. If the vendor does not honor a bid within its prescribed timeframe, find another vendor.

– Make sure you check qualifications. If it is a new vendor, ask for references and call the references. Obtain photos of their projects (before and after photos are particularly helpful) and see whether they have received positive reviews online.

– After all the steps above have been followed, the board should schedule a meeting with the vendor. This is particularly important with new vendors, and those whom the HOA will entrust with a large maintenance project. If the vendor is professional, on time, and forthcoming with providing all business references, licenses and insurance, then there is a good chance he will perform to expectations.

Homeowners should be mindful of their CC&Rs regarding contracting independently without board approval. Contractors without the proper business documentation can open the HOA to legal action, but if the work they perform is counter to covenants and restrictions, the aesthetics of the community are undermined. When the board becomes involved after the fact, it could result in the homeowner having to spend more to undo what his contractor has done.

When to Fire an HOA Vendor

Vendor relationships develop over time. Property managers and boards come to count on go-to vendor partners to perform well and at a reasonable price. When relationships sour, it can be for a number of reasons. If a preferred vendor begins to turn out slapdash work, issues estimates past set deadlines, or suddenly starts issuing change orders, if you have an established affiliation, it may time for a talk with your contractor. Reminding them that yours is a long-standing alliance is never a bad idea, but remember that they could be undergoing management changes, financial difficulties, or other business setbacks that affect the quality of their processes as well as their work. This is why it’s important to discuss these issues before they destroy a vendor partnership.

If your vendor is fairly new and has left unfinished work, necessitating phone calls and emails for them to return to finish the job, add them to your list to not rehire. Property managers should remind HOA directors with job approval and payment authority that it is appropriate to hold back a final progress payment for a large project if the work is not complete. Once the walk-through is done and the board has done its assessment of work performed according to estimate, the progress payment can be released. It’s not appropriate for a vendor to contact a board member directly regarding payment; if the contractor proves to be valuable, the property manager (or the board member contacted) should remind them of the protocol.

It’s prudent, albeit time-consuming, for a property manager to check existing vendors’ licenses and insurance periodically. If a vendor has supplied, for example, proof of Workers Compensation insurance, but that coverage expires during the course of work, look for another vendor. Even if your vendor does exemplary work, it is never worth sacrificing the financial security of the HOA when he has not done his due diligence as a business owner.

Best Practices to Protect HOA Property Values

With a regular maintenance plan and a reasonably funded reserve, each homeowner’s property condition will contribute to keep property values consistent with the neighborhood.

The primary purpose of a Homeowners Association is to preserve property values so owners can enjoy a consistent lifestyle quality. In an HOA subdivision, it’s important to keep grounds well maintained to help keep property values at a level relative to others in the neighborhood. Naturally, there are other factors that contribute to property values when compared to others in the area, property availability, the community’s economic wellness and number of foreclosures, but the aesthetics will make your development not just look well cared for (a positive reflection on the HOA) but a more livable place for all homeowners.

Deferred Maintenance Fiscal Considerations

A vital component in keeping a well-maintained property is having reasonably well-funded association reserves. Annual budgets will include items for deferred maintenance and it is vital to have reserve funds to carry through with budgeted projects. Deferred maintenance is the difference, for example, between tree trimming and gardening: tree trimming is generally done annually or semi-annually, while gardening is done monthly or even more frequently. Tree trimming would be considered deferred maintenance because the cost is significant and it may or may not be an annually budgeted item. If tree trimming has been budgeted, but you have a sewer blocked by tree roots, that “tree trimming” line item in the budget may be eaten up by the removal of the one tree, with trimming the remaining trees needing to be deferred to next year’s budget, or later the same year if reserve funding allows for it.

A well-funded reserve is generally between 70 and 100%+, though it is not unusual for many HOAs to have reserves between 30 and 70%. If many unexpected expenses begin to deplete the reserve funding, it may be necessary to have a one-time special assessment to help make the reserve reach a healthier level. Just like esthetic appeal and “comp” valuations in the neighborhood, the property value is affected by the level of reserve funding.

Depending on the size of your development or complex, deferred maintenance can mean a number of items that require repair and replacement over time:

  • Lighting: street, common area, and pathways
  • Landscaping, tree trimming, and removal
  • Painting and exterior repairs
  • Parking space and road striping
  • Roadway repair: Speed bumps, stop signs, potholes
  • Concrete maintenance: sidewalks, crack repair, elimination of uneven surfaces, pressure washing
  • Recreational areas: Pool maintenance, spa and deck area, tennis courts, golf course maintenance, trail maintenance, rec room cleaning and maintenance
  • Laundry room maintenance
  • Roof maintenance and repair
  • Plumbing: Common sewer line repair and replacement
  • Security: Entry and parking lot gates, security systems and call boxes

The HOA property management company helps enforce standards when it comes to the outward appearance of homes, garden and patio areas as defined in the association’s covenants and restrictions. The property management company also keeps common areas maintained throughout, including entrances, median strips and roads, and in some cases aesthetic landscape and recreational features that require regular maintenance, such as lakes, walking paths and woodlands.

Addressing Disrepair

Essential solutions to addressing deferred maintenance are often overlooked because boards become reactive rather than proactive. It is vital for boards to adopt strategies not only during annual meetings but at every meeting that will put an HOA back on road to financial and aesthetic well-being.

Ultimately, because they represent the interests of all the owners, boards must seek agreement on HOA priorities. By keeping improvements and maintenance of the property in focus, the board helps ensure that all residents enjoy higher property value and better quality of life. When conflicts arise between boards, managers, and residentsthey generally center around setting priorities, especially when deferred maintenance involves specific properties, not the subdivision as a whole.

While it is crucial for the board to be able to juggle as many balls in the air as is humanly and fiscally possible, it’s also important to understand that individual homeowners’ deferred maintenance must be addressed because of initial discord that may erupt into legal action. So if your homeowner suspects termites are causing rain to filter through his exterior wall into the lower floor of his townhome, it’s imperative to have estimates done and a board vote is taken to correct the damage as soon as possible. Otherwise, the HOA may face a lawsuit for negligence and lack of action in responding to his needs – especially if action is deferred through several rainy seasons that compound interior damage (for which the homeowner can claim against the HOA insurance). Lawsuits (or liens) for any reason can also affect a property’s marketability to render it virtually unmarketable, hence unsellable, which makes resolution of outstanding maintenance issues even more critical. These deferred maintenance issues are why funding the reserve is vital; delaying or ignoring major deferred maintenance can create higher insurance premiums for the HOA, repair costs become higher with time, and the risk of lawsuit increases.

Create a Maintenance Plan

Even if the development or complex is not in a dire state of disrepair, a comprehensive maintenance plan should be part and parcel of the HOA annual budget. When faced with balancing reserve funding against considering maintenance needs, with a current, accurate reserve study, associations can plan for future expenditures by implementing a fiscally responsible funding plan – even without being 100% funded. This plan should include a percentage of the total of HOA dues and assessments being deposited to the reserve account. It may also mean that at the annual meeting, a dues increase must accompany the maintenance plan, to cover planned costs while adding to the reserve. While homeowners may be resistant to a dues increase (or assessment), with the quality of life in mind, it is a necessity for keeping the property appropriately maintained, and to keep property values at a level that corresponds to surrounding properties in the neighborhood. And that, ultimately, makes homeowners happy, despite the short-term belt-tightening required after dues increases.

As a homeowner, it behooves your HOA to maintain property condition to the best of its ability in order to keep property values consistent with the neighborhood. With a regular maintenance plan and a reasonably funded reserve, it can be done. Your home will not only keep its value but when the time comes for you to sell, it will also be the perfect fit for its next occupant.

The Pros and Cons of Short-Term Rentals for HOAs

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With the positives of short-term rentals come negatives, not just for the homeowner but for the HOA community as well as the community at large.

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The Pros and Cons of Short-Term Rentals for HOAs

Short term rentals and their impact on communities have recently attracted a great deal of attention – and controversy. While homeowners enjoy the income created by renting out their condos or homes, there may be issues involved that they may not have considered before taking this step. For the HOA property as an entity, transient renters can create noise and security problems as well as increased maintenance and administrative expenses.

Pros for Homeowners (and Community)

Many investors purchase properties in areas frequented by tourists specifically to profit by encouraging short-term rentals. In the case of a homeowner renting a room in the home, the extra income can mean the difference between being able to enjoy retirement in his home or having to move because he no longer can afford to live in a home he has occupied for decades. In general, the pros can be:

  • Greater income for the homeowner
  • Generation of tax revenue to the local economy
  • Personal income tax advantages / deductions for needed property maintenance / upgrades
  • Supplement to retirement income

Cons for Homeowners (and Community)

With the positives of short-term rentals come negatives, not just for the homeowner but for the HOA community as well as the community at large. Police departments in high tourist areas generally have more critical issues to address, rather than policing HOA communities because of short-term renters creating a nuisance.

  • Safety and security risks
  • Greater maintenance costs for HOA (common and recreational areas)
  • Noise pollution
  • Trash overflow / extra collection
  • Homeowner exposure to illegal activities
  • Homeowner liability
  • Impact on property value
  • Assessments from HOA to help defray costs of maintenance

HOA Board Considerations

Rules governing short-term rental platforms such as Airbnb. VRBO, Booking.com, Expedia, and HomeAway may or may not be contained in community homeownership documents, simply because the rise in popularity in these platforms is relatively recent. HOA rules generally will limit leases to either a minimum of 30 days or 1 year, restrict “hotel-like” operations or running a business out of the home. Occasionally an HOA will add an assessment to rentals of any kind of a specified dollar amount per year to cover any maintenance incurred by the rental. (damage to common areas by skateboards or scooters, for example). Additional rules do not mean amending CC&Rs is necessary; the Board will usually have the authority to vote on changing rules to benefit the HOA community.

If an HOA does not have an airtight prohibition or specific restrictions in its documents regarding short-term rentals, it is wise to address them in an open Board meeting to solicit feedback from residents, then subsequently address feedback and concerns in an Executive Session of its Directors. Assistance of legal counsel may be required, especially if the end game is to prohibit the practice altogether. Many municipalities in tourist areas have outlawed or severely limited short-term rentals altogether. The Board should seek information from its property management company or city officials about prohibitions or restrictions. Potential lawsuits by homeowners against the HOA can be costly, so it’s best to address all these issues head-on proactively.

Assistance from the HOA Property Management Company

Based on its experience handling other HOAs under its umbrella, the HOA property association management company can provide valuable source material on how the Board can craft language in its rules to restrict or prohibit the short-term rental activity. The management company can also help with surveying the community at large for feedback, to further help create rules that best benefit the community. The more “community-centric” the rules, the more beneficial in keeping the community safe, and the less the HOA will be open to lawsuits from homeowners that wish to flaunt the rules. Once the rules are in place, the HOA property management company can help disseminate them and train homeowners on the do’s and don’ts.

How to Address Violators

Once your rules or amended CC&Rs are in place, the Board must remain vigilant for violators. If a neighbor complains of a homeowner using their place of residence for short-term rentals, it may be easier to go to the web, find the address on a rental site, and approach the site management regarding the listing being in violation of HOA rules. A reputable site will understand restrictions placed on residents of HOAs and remove the listing.

It may be useful for HOAs to assess fines for violators to prevent repeat occurrences. Because short-term renters can create security problems for the community, it is a good idea to make all homeowners aware, and to also bring them up to speed about fines incurred should they be in violation of the newly-amended rules or CC&Rs. The property management company is an essential advocate in this situation.

Homeowners must also remain vigilant regarding long-term tenant behavior. A recent incident in a Southern California community revealed a lessee renting a room through an online short-term rental website. Another homeowner in the community saw the listing and the renter was subsequently warned. The lease in this case specifically prohibited short-term rentals, with a clause making it mandatory that the lessee inform the absentee landlord of family member visits and duration of stay.

Ultimately, the homeowner is responsible for activities in or around his home or parking place(s). As members of the community, whether absentee landlords or primary residents, homeowners are liable for any violations, such as noise or nuisance, or property damage from negligence, misuse, fire or flood. The most important point of agreement is that the HOA maintain a happy, healthy and prosperous community whose homeowners/landlords are contributing members to the greater community.

Is It Worth My Time to Attend HOA Board Meetings?

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Involved members can become excellent future Board members because their participation helps them learn the intricacies of being a Director and how an HOA Board operates for the betterment of the community.

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Is It Worth My Time to Attend HOA Board Meetings?

While it’s not always possible for busy homeowners, it’s recommended for HOA members to at least occasionally attend HOA board meetings because it is the best way to learn the business of your association. Members can, of course, request meeting minutes and the agenda will generally be mailed or emailed to each member before the meeting, but receiving minutes and actual attendance are on an entirely different level because there is no substitute for participation.

Because HOA’s are non-profit corporations, they rely on volunteers among the community members to become directors who oversee that everything runs smoothly. And because those directors may not know everything that goes on – especially in larger communities – they depend on individual members to keep them apprised of issues that may be occurring on the grounds or items that are of concern to members.

It behooves members to attend board meetings because important issues are discussed, as well as decisions made. The decisions made at board meetings involve virtually every critical issue affecting the homeowner’s association:

  • Association budget
  • Community maintenance
  • Property management company
  • Emergency repairs (plumbing, pest, construction)
  • Security
  • Choosing directors

Because decision making at board meetings may affect property values, it behooves homeowners to attend. If you want your voice heard, it’s a must to be involved. There are different types of HOA meetings, some of which members can attend, others not. Most meetings are announced in advanced within time frames pre-ordained by either the association itself or its jurisdiction (generally, the state in which the HOA is incorporated).

Annual Meeting

The Annual HOA Meeting is arguably the most important, albeit the least frequently scheduled, of the various meetings. During the Annual Meeting, membership votes on a new Board of Directors, the annual budget is unveiled and voted upon, and if an increase in monthly dues and/or assessments are deemed necessary, it is decided at this time. With the highest attendance expected at an annual meeting, it’s a good time for homeowners to bring up items that may otherwise fall through the cracks if no other homeowners have come forward with these concerns at previous regularly scheduled meetings.

Board of Directors Meeting

Depending on the rules in a development’s documents, a Board of Directors meeting may occur quarterly, or more frequently. It is expected that a quorum of the Directors be present during these meetings because, as with the Annual Meeting, it is a forum where decisions are made. Without a majority, decisions should be left until a time when a quorum can be reached unless the decision involves an emergency situation.

Board of Directors meetings are announced through postings easily viewable throughout the development, generally 2-5 days in advance. Announcements can also be made using mail or email, and they should include an agenda. If there is any Board business transacted during the meeting, the agenda item must be on the public announcement (or included in the mail or email). Otherwise, the vote must be made at a subsequent meeting. Documentation of the agenda items should be presented at the meeting, if possible.

There should always be an agenda item for “Members Forum,” where homeowners can voice their concerns about specific issues. This is also an opportunity to discuss the status of projects that have previously been placed on hold, but homeowners wish to revisit. The Secretary should carefully take minutes at all times, but because the “Members Forum” portion of the agenda may become an active agenda item for the next meeting, taking accurate, detailed notes during this section of the meeting is particularly crucial.

Special Meetings

In the case of an extreme emergency, the Board can make a decision outside the auspices of a formal meeting, as long as a record is kept of the vote. If a sewer pipe has flooded several homes, decisions need to be made quickly. Typically, the President calls either an informal Executive Session or conducts business via email, copying the management company and Board members in the process. A vote then can proceed for the vendor to begin his work expeditiously. Because this is an emergency, it does not fit the conventional definition of a “Special Meeting.”

A “Special Meeting” is typically called for reasons other than maintenance-related emergencies. A special meeting, or executive session, is held with Board members in attendance and selected invited homeowners, attorneys, or other experts, if appropriate. It is not open to the entire membership and must be announced 2 days in advance (though homeowners do not attend unless invited). If a homeowner is summoned, it may be for several reasons. It may be to discuss delinquency, to discourage behaviors detrimental to the community, or for a variety of different reasons.

Why It Is Important to Be an Involved Homeowner

Homeowners will, on occasion, join their community Board of Directors because they have a “pet” project they wish to further during their term. It’s unfortunate, but it does happen. At other times, when homeowners feel they are not being listened to, they will lobby to add their names to the ballot – and subsequently come to understand just how much responsibility these volunteer positions carry once they become Directors, between emergencies, budgeting, raising assessments and lending an ear to homeowner complaints.

Members genuinely interested in the inner workings of their community begin to realize that their continued participation in Board of Directors meetings makes them more valuable members of the community. They contribute to its health and well-being by making the Board and other members aware of, for example, security problems (which could lead to the installation of a security system) or leaky pipes (the replacement of which could forestall a severe flooding problem). Involved members can become excellent future Board members because their participation helps them learn the intricacies of being a Director and how an HOA Board operates for the betterment of the community.

Top-3 Traditional Strategies to Collect Delinquent HOA Dues

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Owners who do not pay their association assessment in a timely fashion become a time-consuming headache for the management company, creating extra tasks and legal expenses. This is why HOAs need Sperlonga’s help. Together with Equifax and TransUnion, Sperlonga’s patent-pending technology assists associations with the process of attaching a late assessment payment to a homeowner’s credit score.

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Top-3 Traditional Strategies to Collect Delinquent HOA Dues

Collecting delinquent HOA dues is not only a time-consuming task for the property manager, but for the HOA board as well, primarily if the delinquency covers a significant stretch of time. Let’s face it; most property managers will never know a time when 100% of homeowners are on time with their payments; a full 12% of homeowners nationwide are currently behind in their dues and assessments. That’s 1 of every 8. If property managers and boards spent as much time as necessary to have everyone current, they would have no more time to attend to other important HOA issues. It’s even worse during an economic downturn when homeowners (and associations) are pinching every penny.

The Most Common Collection Strategies

Strategy 1: Late Payment Reminders / Warning Letters (Combined with Credit Reporting Information)

The first strategy combines a letter with the late payment fee added to the HOA’s monthly billing statement to the homeowner. Most HOAs charge between 5 and 10% late fee for a delinquent assessment. When combined with a statement in the letter regarding the potential negative impact on a homeowner’s credit rating if a payment is not received in time, the association will see a marked increase in on-time payments. This strategy is straightforward, low-impact (concerning time and stress) and yields high returns (more promptly paid assessments).

If a homeowner has not paid his debt within a prescribed time frame, the HOA may not only report them to the credit reporting agency but begin formulating a series of warning letters. The first letter may once again include the fact that the homeowner has been reported to a credit reporting agency, creating the first strike against them. This may be all it takes before the attempt to collect moves on to a second warning letter. At this point, the HOA may inform the homeowner that a lien may follow until such debt has been resolved. The homeowner would then not only need to settle the debt but the price of placing a lien on the property. If a third warning letter is necessary, it usually includes language regarding the consequences of non-payment: legal action, and, as a last resort, foreclosure.

Strategy 2: Collection Agency

In an effort to avoid costly legal fees, homeowners associations have had to become increasingly more “creative” in how they collect late assessments and dues. When you are a board overseeing a large community with hundreds of homes or condos, AND you have 100+ homeowners not paying on time, your association will begin seeing cash flow issues, which will, in turn, create maintenance and bill paying problems. No board wants its association to be unable to pay vendors, or even come close to the edge of bankruptcy.

A worthwhile alternative to issuing increasingly drastic letters may be to submit the debt to a dunning collection agency. This type of agency has a high success rate, costs little, and does not buy the debt. However, this strategy cannot be implemented until a homeowner is seriously delinquent. The collection agency will not only issue letters to the homeowner but make phone calls to the homeowner as well. The substance of the phone call generally includes informing the homeowner about the amount of the outstanding debt, and the damage to their credit report the late payment causes. Many HOAs have been wildly successful employing this strategy because it is far less costly than using an attorney, and gives the board a break in not having to foreclose on a neighbor’s property. The delinquent homeowner gets the nominal collections agency cost added to his debt – a price that is far lower than that of either a lien or the beginning stages of property foreclosure.

Strategy 3: When All Else Fails – Legal Action and Negotiation

Above all else, the board must do its due diligence in helping maintain (and increase) its operating reserve, and delinquencies are a prime reason for not keeping up with proper reserve funding. In fact, when many homeowners are delinquent, it may create the necessity for a special assessment. In truth, the remaining members of the community are covering for those who are having trouble paying their monthly dues.

If warning letters and a collections agency have not yielded the desired results, it may be necessary to involve an attorney. While the HOA can place liens on properties and begin the foreclosure process (both of which create much expense), when legal costs are added to the delinquencies, it creates a situation where the homeowner has even more of a problem being able to pay the debt. In this circumstance, it behooves the homeowner to negotiate in good faith for a payment plan to eventually become current. It may create a temporary squeeze in the homeowner’s budget, but the results will be well worth it: no more lien, no more impending foreclosure, no more debt, AND a credit score that can then begin the rebuilding process.

Learn How Delinquent Payments Can Affect Homeowner Credit Scores

Owners who do not pay their association assessment in a timely fashion become a time-consuming headache for the management company, creating extra tasks and legal expenses. Late paying homeowners do not, however, realize that their tardy assessments can be reported to a credit reporting agency, and subsequently result in a lower credit score for them. This alone provides an incentive to maintaining on-time future payments.

So this is why HOAs need Sperlonga’s help. Together with Equifax and TransUnion, Sperlonga’s patent-pending technology assists associations with the process of attaching a late assessment payment to a homeowner’s credit score. Conversely, on-time payments will lift credit scores, so when issuing a late payment letter, it’s best to include both the positive and negative aspects of assessment payments. In fact, it would behoove a property management company to send an email blast to all homeowners to inform them of how timely payments affect their credit score, for good or for bad.​​

Why Do HOA Dues & Assessments Always Go Up and Not Down?

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Fees are rarely reduced as prices on services and utilities increase from year to year. With additional services come higher monthly payments.

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Why Do HOA Dues & Assessments Always Go Up and Not Down?

Today, 68 million residents live within an HOA governed development. Whether it’s a large luxury development comprised of condos, townhouses, and single family homes, or one building with just a few units, HOA assessments can be composed of anything from monthly dues, to special assessments created for many reasons.

Usually, HOA fees are adjusted annually at the beginning of a fiscal year. For over 60 percent HOAs, that fiscal year begins on January 1 so many assessment changes will occur in January of each year. Decision making, however, may be done during the board’s Annual Meeting, when officers are elected (generally, October of the prior year). The reason for this is that in most cases, the HOA property management company representative will present the newly elected board with its annual budget for the upcoming year. Based on the new budget, the HOA board of directors may adjust monthly dues accordingly. Occasionally, a board may need to increase its dues at a more significant percentage than what is normal, which could mean the fee increase would require a vote of the entire HOA membership, not just its board of directors.

How Are HOA Dues & Assessments Determined?

Ordinarily, the HOA board of directors will divide the total expenses allocated in the budget by the number of homes in the community to set its monthly dues. Since individual properties are of varying sizes, association dues may instead be based on square footage or a similar measure prescribed in the HOA CC&Rs. Fees are rarely if ever, reduced, as prices on services and utilities increase from year to year. With additional services come more monthly payments due to the number of service providers, examples of which include the following:

  • Internet (for security system)
  • Phone land line (entry system)
  • Gardener & Tree Service
  • Water
  • Electricity (lighting, parking gate, maintenance personnel)
  • Gas (common area barbecues)
  • Maintenance (handymen, pool, golf course, roofers, painters; concrete, door and building surface repairs)
  • Exterminators (rodents and insects)
  • HOA property management fees
  • Taxes

All Homeowners Must Do Their Part for the HOA

Just because services aren’t used by an individual homeowner, it doesn’t mean your fees will be reduced. For example, in the case of property taxes, you are not given a break on school assessments simply because you do not have children; as a homeowner located in your state, county or municipality, you are expected to pay property taxes towards the common good of your community. Likewise, every homeowner is expected to pull their weight and pay for the good of everyone in the development. Each homeowner must make monthly (or other preordained time) payments throughout the year or face penalties or foreclosure for nonpayment.

Special Assessments

When an HOA decides that specific special projects are necessary for the community, such as painting the exterior of the buildings or repairing flood damage not covered by HOA insurance, the association may require all owners (perhaps after a community vote) to pay a special assessment to cover the cost. As an example, a small HOA had undergone several wood siding replacements on exterior unit walls over the course of a decade (due to termite and water damage). As a result, the HOA’s board of directors decided that it would cover the cost of replacing stucco, while homeowners covered the cost of the new windows and sliding glass doors required to complete the repair. Homeowners rebelled at the high price, so a compromise was reached for a lower assessment of each homeowner affected.

The following year after existing siding began causing leakage, the HOA board of directors voted to increase its monthly association dues by 10%. Because reserves were negatively impacted by the high cost of this work, a subsequent 10% increase in monthly dues was necessary to bolster reserves and protect the HOA from not being covered for future emergencies. Keep in mind that board members are homeowners themselves, so they too must pay the fee increases just like other association members. On the other hand, homeowners who are not aware of the critical nature of expenditures and reserves believe that every minor issue should be addressed, while sometimes budgets may not allow for it.

Sometimes, special assessments raise more money than needed to fund the project. Occasionally, homeowners challenge the HOA assessment and can take the matter to court. If the over-budget amount raised is not excessive, the board (or entire membership) may vote to place all the money into reserves. When unforeseen accidents such as plumbing emergencies cause flooding, it’s even more important to have a well-funded reserve to keep additional special assessments at bay.

Before You Purchase a Home with a Homeowner’s Association

If the home you purchase comes with monthly HOA fees and/or assessments, you or your legal representative should ascertain whether the costs and assessments are within reason (for your own budget, and for the health of the community) and reflect an HOA that has a relatively well-funded reserve. The vast majority of HOAs are not funded 100%, but at least 70-80% is desirable; anything below 40% is a red flag.

If you are interested in buying a home where the monthly fees appear reasonable but many of the owners aren’t paying, the HOA could potentially face bankruptcy. This is a situation in which you’ll need to be informed before you even put down a deposit. If the HOA has not been doing its fiduciary duty by setting aside monies for financial reserves, while the development has gone without maintenance, it is a serious matter for any potential homebuyer (or current residents, for that matter). Before you go any further, ask the property management company if there are any outstanding maintenance issues or new large expenditures. If the property is not being properly maintained, you don’t want to know about it AFTER you have already moved in.

How to Enforce HOA Pet Policies

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Pet waste left uncollected is an unsightly threat to the health of your community. Lack of enforcement of a dog waste regulation in your community affects not only its well being, but also property value.

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How to Enforce HOA Pet Policies

Pets Are Family

Few HOA membership topics elicit more emotion than pet ownership. Pets are truly a part of the family, and current statistics indicate that fully 68% of American households own pets. Every pet owner will extol the virtues of having a furry friend to walk in the mornings, or snuggle with after a hard day at the office. With pet ownership continuing to rise, rules governing pets can become essential board issues. It’s also recommended that any prospective homeowner (who is also a pet owner) check the pet ownership rules of developments he visits to make sure his pet is made welcome by the HOA rules. While pet policies are subject to change, some associations do not allow pets altogether.

Every state has its own statutes concerning how HOAs should handle pets, with several states allowing HOAs to permit outright pet restriction. This, however, may not be practical at the individual HOA level, as total limitation creates a less family-friendly atmosphere, thus lowering property value.

Apply Pet Rules Consistently

While CC&Rs are the ultimate arbiter of pet restrictions in most states, it can be up to the HOA board to set more specific limits or allowances not covered in the CC&Rs. Most of all, pet policy should be clear and enforcement consistent. Homeowners who do not comply may face legal action if they do not follow HOA guidelines for keeping pets. If a board has granted a pass for friends or board members, it may be placing its enforcement power in jeopardy. As an example, if a homeowner is taken to court for a pet policy infraction, he may have a case to overrule the board if its power has been applied inconsistently. Pet policies can change over time. You can easily find out how your fellow members feel about current policies by suggesting your property management company send a survey on suggestions for modifications to bylaws, or how to better enforce current policies. Even a refresher course on pet policy as a whole is a good idea for longtime residents.

Should you decide to implement policy changes that include future restrictions, be sure to allow present members to be grandfathered, should they be affected by new policies. It’s unwise and unreasonable to create a situation where a resident is forced to give up a pet when they had lived under previous rules when the pet was adopted. A pet owner could successfully wage a legal action against the HOA.

Policies Beyond CC&Rs

When applying more specific restrictions, the board may consider types of pets (restricting exotics, for example), the breed or size of a dog. If a municipality has made ownership of aggressive breeds illegal, then those local statutes would take precedence, should a homeowner decide to bring one into his home. The board would be within its rights to ask that the animal is removed, or contact city officials for removal, in extreme cases. It would also be reasonable for them to file a lawsuit if the animal is expressly forbidden by city law. The same applies to leash laws and pet waste regulations. A homeowner must abide by these statutes above and beyond what is specified in CC&Rs, but for the board, it’s not a bad idea to include pet statutes into its overarching pet policies just to remind pet owners what is and is not permissible while on their property or in common areas.

Service and Assistance Animal Exemptions

There can also be exemptions that apply beyond standard CC&R mandates. These may include allowing service or assistance animals, many of which may not fall within the weight restriction guidelines set by the HOA board. This is an explicit cut exemption that is protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Department of Housing & Urban Development defines an assistance animal is one “that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability.” While the ADA specifies “service animals” as dogs with specialized training to perform tasks for a disabled owner’s well being, “assistance animals” may include any type of domestic animal as long as it provides help with the owner’s disability. “Comfort animals” can fall under the definition of “assistance animals.”

The disabled HOA member must, of course, comply with city, state and HOA regulations unrelated to the animal’s being able to provide support (including leash and waste clean-up), but conditions on the type of pet, breed, and size cannot be set as policy or set in CC&Rs.

Pet Waste – Problem & Solutions

Pet waste left uncollected is an unsightly threat to the health of your community. Its proliferation spreads disease and can leach into groundwater. Bacteria found in dog waste can include e.coli, parvo, salmonella and campylobacter, the last of which can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms among the elderly, infants, and those with weakened immune systems. Lack of enforcement of a dog waste regulation in your community affects not only its well being, but also property value.

The size of your HOA can affect its ability to enforce a pooper scooper policy. Large communities can create a dog park complete with stations having a ready supply of waste bags. But for most HOAs, it may be more practical to employ simple solutions like educating homeowners about the deleterious health effects of dog waste, and how important it is to dispose of it responsibly. Reminders can be posted publicly, mailed, or emailed to members of the community. In cases where these measures are not entirely successful, a cleaning service can be hired. Residents must be made mindful of how harmful negligent behavior can be, to their surroundings, to their families, and to their communities at large.

Removal of an HOA Board Member

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HOAs should consult its bylaws to determine its power to remove a board member, which can be a complicated, expensive matter and may require consultation with the HOA’s attorney.

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Removal of a member of a Homeowners Association (HOA) board is neither pleasant nor straightforward. On a purely human level, it can be difficult just because as an HOA member or fellow board member, it may involve a confrontation with one’s neighbors. It must be done according to each HOA’s individual articles of incorporation and bylaws as well as covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) of the association. It is critical that any such action also is taken within the parameters of your state’s laws to protect the association from potential actions on the part of the potentially ousted member.

Most important to the HOA when a board member is being considered for removal are the 1) reasons for removal and 2) the options available to both members of the HOA and to other current board officers when such action becomes necessary. The process involved when an HOA community member demands the removal of a board member versus a board member removing a fellow elected board member can be drastically different from HOA to HOA, as well as state to state. If a board member is court-appointed, a board may not remove that member.

Membership in an HOA board carries fiduciary obligations and responsibilities that behoove the member to act on behalf of the HOA and do no intentional harm. This requires that board members remain well informed, stay within the bounds of their authority, and ask questions when complicated HOA matters arise (directed to its management company or to legal counsel).

Many HOAs include director qualifications in their bylaws. These may consist of being an HOA member in good standing (including not being in litigation against the association), attending a specified minimum number of meetings, and not being a convicted felon. If a member demands removal because a board member is “unqualified,” he or she may be able to cite the HOA bylaws in this circumstance to back up the case. A recent case study with a board director who was convicted of a felony during his tenure on the board created a situation where the board, while wishing to replace him, was unable to vote him off; board members sought legal counsel, and they were required to instead obtain a resignation from him, either in person or by phone. The director being incarcerated for a serious crime made the board’s ability to get a resignation even more difficult. Eventually, the board was able to obtain a resignation letter, and the board director was replaced by calling a special election. Depending on bylaws, replacement can also be facilitated by the appointment of a substitute by existing board members.

When board members are unable to act in good faith, a member of the HOA at large may call a special board meeting to address the issues that affect the specific board member’s performance, or that member may discuss them at a regularly scheduled Board meeting. Problems that contribute to a potential recall or removal can be many, but the most common involve negligence, fraud, theft, disruption, or not being able to attend meetings. In some states, non-payment of association fees for a specified length of time can expedite removal from an HOA board member. If the board member’s negative behavior does not result in his or her discharge, removing a member from holding an official position may neutralize any conflicts that may occur.

The least disruptive method of removing a member from the board is simple, but it also requires a high level of engagement with other HOA members. That method is to allow the problem member’s term to expire. Most boards have one, two or three year terms. Before an election, HOA members must then become involved in nominating alternative candidates – or to volunteer themselves. Becoming part of the process brings with it not only an appreciation for the work (and learning curve) involved but also much-needed freshness (and new ideas) to a board. Rotation of board members is especially helpful for small HOAs in the event of an illness of a board member; there will always be an experienced member of the HOA at the ready to replace the compromised board member if the need should arise. Member engagement also makes board meeting interactions more productive for the HOA as members become invested in the future of the HOA community.

Although HOA boards are not generally able to remove HOA members, they may have the power to remove one of their officers. This can usually be done by a simple majority vote by members of the board. If however, the vote occurs in a special board meeting open to all HOA members, you may have difficulty removing the troublesome member if your association’s bylaws include cumulative voting. Cumulative voting is a system whereby, for example, if your HOA has 5 board members, during an election or recall, each HOA member has 5 votes that can be spread in any combination such as 5 votes for 1 member, 1 each spread across all 5 members, or any other combination in between (4 for 1 and 1 for one other, etc). Many HOAs no longer use this voting methodology specifically because of the difficulty it can create when a board member removal vote becomes necessary.

Each HOA must consult its bylaws to determine its power under these circumstances. Every state’s corporate statutes address restrictions involved (HOAs are usually nonprofit corporations formed in the state in which the condominium complex or development is located). Many states are very specific in naming the reasons for the removal of a board officer. In California, for example, an HOA board can only remove another officer if that officer is of unsound mind, committed a felony (after an election to the board), failure to attend meetings or lack of qualifications for board membership. Removing an HOA member can be a complicated and expensive matter and may require consultation with your HOA’s attorney, but the end result may prove beneficial to the efficient operation of your HOA.

Say goodbye to collections!!

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Our new management company partner is extremely excited to be able to redirect time and resources from collections to activities that will enhance their client’s experience.

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Say goodbye to collections!!

It’s time to face the facts. Collections is a stressful, agonizing, and thankless endeavor. Why spend anymore time putting your employees and volunteer boards through the torture of chasing after late payers?? Let the U.S. Government backed FCRA and the credit score reporting system do the job for you!!

Another big congratulations this week going out to our friends in Colorado Springs, Colorado!! Welcome to the family!! 9,000 homes ready to begin reporting. Our new management company partner is extremely excited to be able to redirect time and resources from collections to activities that will enhance their client’s experience. Learn how you can too at www.sperlongadata.com.

Credit Reporting In Action

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This community can not be more thrilled with the results!!

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Credit Reporting In Action

Numbers don’t lie!! Here is an amazing before and after graph of the reduction to delinquent balances for an association using our service. Only assessments, special assessments, and late fees are reportable.

I love hearing these quotes from clients!!

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Bragg and Associates Real Estate

We just completed our first month of reporting and we can already see a humongous difference! Homeowners we have not heard from for awhile are all of a sudden calling in to pay their bill. This reporting is amazing!”
-Melissa Fentress, CFO

I love hearing these quotes from clients!! Contact us now to learn more about assessment credit reporting, and our delinquency only pricing.

Congratulations to Washington State!! 10,000 new homes added!!

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10,000 new homes added to our automated credit reporting platform.

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10,000 new homes added to our automated credit reporting platform.

Congratulations to Washington State!! 10,000 new homes added to our automated credit reporting platform!! See how our implementation strategy paired with the cutting edge technology is changing the industry. Average DQ balances were down 27% in October over the same time last year!!

Congratulations Arizona!!

6,500 new doors added to our automated credit reporting platform.


6,500 new doors added to our automated credit reporting platform.

A big congratulations to our friends in Arizona!! 6,500 new doors added last week!! See how automated credit reporting can help you!

Congratulations to Atlanta!!

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4,254 new homes across 41 HOAs enrolled in our assessment credit reporting service.


4,254 new homes across 41 HOAs enrolled in our assessment credit reporting service.

A big congratulations to our friends in Atlanta. We received the contract in last night, 4,254 new homes across 41 HOAs enrolled in our assessment credit reporting service. Automated credit reporting is changing the way the community association industry does business.

8,746 New Families Enrolled

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Helping to protect their home’s property value and improve their credit scores with on-time assessment payments!


8,746 new families across 94 HOAs enrolled in our assessment credit reporting service.

8,746 new families across 94 HOAs enrolled in our assessment credit reporting service last week! Thanksgiving indeed!! Super excited to use automation to help protect their biggest investment, their home’s property value, while helping them improve their credit scores with on-time assessment payments!