Your Property Manager is not the same as the manager at the HOA (Homeowners Association). If you rent a condo or planned housing community, you likely have a property manager and an HOA. You probably have very little interaction with the HOA unless you are moving in, moving out or did something wrong.
So what is the difference?
Property Management Company
While they could potentially manage an HOA or even your HOA, the actual property manager for your unit is likely not the same as your neighbors. The owner of your home contracted with a property management company like ours to advertise, lease, manage regular maintenance, move outs etc. The owner may not live nearby or frankly doesn’t want the responsibility of day-to-day management of the rental property. This is who you will call in the event of an emergency. This is who your lease is with. They will involve the HOA when necessary.
The HOA represents the whole community. They are typically responsible for all common areas. In a condo think balconies or common plumbing lines. In a house think the shared pools, mailbox areas and landscape outside of your house. The owner pays a monthly fee, that is typically adjusted annually for ongoing expenses. Many are anywhere from $200-700. In city centers they can be over $1000. They are usually higher if there is an elevator, security guard, fitness center etc. The more amenities the more the HOA fee. So, when you see that increase in rent this may be part of why.
When moving into your new home you may have to complete HOA resident documents like car registration or pay a fee to use the elevator. Each HOA has their own set of rules and regulations. Make sure you get a copy of them so that you don’t get in trouble.
Many find HOA’s annoying because they are constantly trying to find things wrong. Don’t leave a towel on your balcony. Can’t hang a flag or political sign. Don’t BBQ. Don’t wash your car. It can feel very controlling. But the flip side is that the communities are typically very clean and well maintained. Take the good with the bad.
Most of your interaction will be with your specific property manager, but in the event of a leak or some other major issue you may have to be involved with the HOA manager as well. Especially in a condo with a top-down leak. Pack your patience if that ever happens. Know that they are not the same. They are not trained the same. They do not adhere to the same level of service or quality- though they should.
Just know and respect the differences.