Monday, August 2, 2010

How are Florida’s community associations being managed?

Every common interest ownership community must follow one of two paths: professional management for their community or self-management by their volunteer board of directors.

My law firm’s statewide advocacy group, the Community Advocacy Network (CAN) wanted to know what factors influence Florida’s communities to choose one path over the other and how often they choose to switch paths mid-stream.

At a time when associations are confronted by so many economic challenges and have recently been presented with new legal tools to deal with those challenges, including the ability to collect rent from tenants in delinquent properties, it is important to know who is helping our Florida boards cope.

CAN’s First Annual Florida Association Management Survey received responses from 762 community association decision-makers and members which provide real insight into what residents, owners and/or Board members in all types of common interest ownership communities in Florida really think about management practices in their communities today. The survey data also gives a good indication of what association leadership takes into consideration in planning the future management in their communities.

For example, did you know?
• Fully 25% of Florida community associations are self-managed by Board members with the help of non-management employees and third-party service providers.

• Of the 75% that are professionally managed, more than half of the respondents are satisfied with their current manager or management company and nearly 2/3 said they were so satisfied they would recommend them to another association.

• Billing & collections, bookkeeping, records maintenance and budget preparation are areas where professional management is seen as “most helpful”.

• Many associations say real improvement is needed in management’s handling of rules & regulations violations, property maintenance, contracts and vendors, as well as member communications.

• Cost savings looms large as an incentive to self-management with nearly 2/3 of self-managed respondents saying they had chosen that path because of cost savings; however, many of these same respondents indicate the potential to switch to professional management for a variety of reasons.

• Among self-managed communities considering a switch to professional management, the single most popular option would be to have an “Off-site Community Association Manager affiliated with a Management Company”; this option was selected by more than 1/3 of the self-managed survey respondents.

CAN’s Florida Association Management Survey contains more than 50 probing questions which were answered online between December 10, 2009 and January 15, 2010, by a nearly-even split between Board (53%) and non-Board (47%) members around the State
We set out to poll the knowledge and experience of community association residents with regard to management practices and the costs associated with same, within their own communities.

To view the full CAN Florida Association Management Survey Report, please click the link below:

1 comment:

  1. This is very interesting information. In our particular County, Brevard, it is estimated that fully 2/3 of all HOA/COA communities are self-managed.

    The responses reported here are interesting in another aspect: Management companies have a great deal to offer in the bookkeeping, financial reporting, budgeting, and record keeping, so the quality of those services is often a defining characteristic of good management companies and practices.

    Conversely, the areas of covenants enforcement, etc., that are cited as reasons for being self-managed are areas where management companies are Statutorily and legally often restricted in what they can and cannot do. In cases of covenants enforcement and pursuit in small claims court, etc., those items are frequently more effectively handled by the communities themselves since management companies (not being lawyers) cannot 'represent' those communities whereas the boards and homeowners can almost always legally 'represent themselves'. It's a 'catch-22' situation: Boards of Directors really want to be able to hand over those problematic activities to management companies whose hands are effectively tied and limited in accomplishing those goals.