The relationship between a community association board and the association’s management company (and community manager) is absolutely vital to the community’s success. How can your community association best ensure that this important relationship remains positive?
COMMUNICATION! Effective communication is a cornerstone of any important relationship, including the relationship between the board and the management company. Below are a few tips that can increase the effectiveness of communication between the board and management company:
• DTR: Define The Relationship! The board and the management company are two separate entities. The board has the obligation to enforce the governing documents and acts as a fiduciary for the community. The board’s duties and responsibilities are typically detailed in the governing documents. The management company is a vendor that contracts with the community association (through the board), to assist in managing the community affairs, and the management company’s duties and responsibilities should be clearly defined in the management contract.
When both parties are aware of the distinct duties and responsibilities, it creates a level of accountability and ownership, while avoiding many common pitfalls and blurred lines that impact the board/manager relationship.
• Dispute Resolution: When the board and the manager don’t see eye to eye, open lines of communication can help in resolving disputes. Address any issues you may have in a professional and respectfully manner. Avoid pointing fingers or throwing each other “under the bus”. Consider seeking advice/counsel from an unbiased third party. Ultimately, the board is the final decision maker; however, those decisions should take into account the manager’s opinions and expertise.
• End Game: At the end of the day, the goal is to make decisions and take actions that are in the best interest of the community. Do your best to set aside personal feeling, evaluate objectively, and make decisions/take actions that you believe to be in the best interests of the community association as a whole.