So your association has decided to switch to a new property management company or managing agent – perhaps your relationship has gone south or you were seeking a company or team better suited to providing the service, value, products, and/or experience your building or community needs. 
If you’re still in the process of selecting the best property management company to serve your HOA, community association or condo board, check out our previous article for some great tips and advice.
But if you’ve already made your choice, you may be wondering what happens when you transition from old to new management.  We want to help.  While each association and property management company has its own unique needs and operating procedures, here’s a basic overview of what you can expect:  
The process begins when your Board notifies your outgoing management company or managing agent that you will not be renewing your contract.  Refer to your management contract to see how much advance notice is required – typically, its 30, 60 or 90 days, so be sure to contact them as soon as possible.
Once notice is given, the outgoing management company will create a list of materials and documents that will be transferred and signed off by the new company.  Generally, both companies will handle the transfer of documents themselves, but if you have any concerns, let both parties know.  Your new property management company will likely have a proven process – or better yet, a dedicated onboarding team – to manage the transition and ensure each step progresses smoothly and according to schedule. 
Many management companies start by creating an action plan, customized to your building or community, that includes a comprehensive list of management and operational initiatives.  Working closely with your Board, they will set long-term goals and a timeline that includes deadlines for completing each task.  Along with the plan, many companies utilize a transition checklist to ensure each activity is completed according to schedule. 
As part of their transition plan, many property management companies will perform the following procedures:
  • Obtain and review all legal documents, contracts and operating agreements
  • Ensure all legal, compliance and operating safeguards are valid
  • Review financials, budgets and reserve funds
  • Confirm proper insurance coverage and ensure no lapses exist in existing contracts
  • Review current service contracts and negotiate/renegotiate the scope of services, fees, licensing and insurance with current and prospective vendors
  • Communicate to homeowners, including welcome letters and events
  • Provide continuous status updates to Board members

“We consider the transition process an opportunity to review and significantly improve the operating procedures, contracts and plans for each new property we manage,” said Dan Wurtzel, president, FirstService Residential New York. “With a dedicated transition team and a thorough, carefully timed onboarding plan, we can ensure we achieve our core initiatives in an efficient and timely manner.”
He added that in addition to performing the service above, his transition team establishes a baseline for each building and assesses its current condition to identify any safety, aesthetic or architectural issues that must be addressed. 
His company’s onboarding process also includes a variety of value-added services, including generating a Board Book and introducing proprietary programs, including FirstService Residential Connect, its custom property management software, and the 24/7 Customer Care Center for residents.  The company’s affiliate FS Energy can also issue an Energy Report Card for each new building and identify opportunities to reduce energy usage and costs.
Also included is a review of all building staff and policies, including preparing job descriptions and a personnel manual, conducting staff training at its in-house Learning Center and reviewing and if necessary, revising all front desk policies and procedures.
“Our goal is to quickly begin providing tailored programs and the highest level of service to our new properties to ensure a seamless and worry-free transition – that’s what creates a foundation for a strong and lasting relationship with Board members and residents,”  says Wurtzel.
For more information about best practices for transitioning from old to new management, please contact FirstService Residential.
Friday March 04, 2016