Community associations, no matter how large or small, require ongoing oversight. From implementing rules and regulations to overseeing a large capital project, these communities and their board members often turn to a professional management company to help lighten the load. In order to contract the services of these companies, the association is required to sign a property management contract.

These contracts serve as a guiding light, delineating responsibilities, expectations, and the scope of services between the association and the property management company. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the intricacies of property management contracts for community associations, addressing key questions and considerations.

How to get property management contracts

Securing property management contracts requires a strategic approach aimed at demonstrating value and trustworthiness to potential management companies. Here's a step-by-step guide from the perspective of a community association looking to secure a management contract: Property management contracts: Understanding the essentials
  1. Research management companies: Begin by researching reputable management companies in your area. Look for companies with experience managing properties similar to yours and a track record of success.
  2. Request Proposals: Reach out to select management companies and request proposals outlining their services, fees, and approach to property management. Be clear about your community's needs and expectations.
  3. Evaluate Proposals: Carefully evaluate the proposals you receive, considering factors such as experience, services offered, pricing, and the company's reputation. Look for a company that aligns with your community's values and goals.
  4. Schedule Interviews: Narrow down your choices and schedule interviews with the top management companies. Use this opportunity to ask questions, clarify any concerns, and get a sense of the company's communication style and responsiveness.
  5. Review References: Request references from the management companies and reach out to current or past clients to inquire about their experiences. Pay attention to feedback regarding communication, professionalism, and the quality of services provided.
  6. Negotiate Terms: Once you've selected a preferred management company, negotiate the terms of the contract. Discuss services, fees, contract duration, and any other relevant details to ensure mutual understanding and agreement.
  7. Sign Contract: Finalize the contract with the chosen management company, ensuring that all terms are clearly outlined and agreed upon by both parties. Be sure to review the contract carefully before signing.
  8. Establish communication channels: After securing the management contract, establish clear communication channels with the management company. Ensure that expectations are clearly communicated and that both parties are committed to working together effectively.
  9. Monitor Performance: Continuously monitor the performance of the management company to ensure that they are meeting the terms of the contract and fulfilling your community's needs. Provide feedback as needed to address any issues or concerns that may arise.
By following these steps and carefully selecting a management company that aligns with your community's needs and values, you can successfully secure a property management contract that benefits your community in the long term.

What should a property management contract include?

A comprehensive property management contract serves as the foundation for a successful partnership between a community association and a property management company. Here are key components that should be included:
  1. Scope of Services: Clearly outline the range of services to be provided by the property management company, including maintenance, financial management, administrative support, and resident communication.
  2. Term and Termination: Specify the duration of the contract and the terms for termination or renewal. This provides clarity and establishes expectations regarding the longevity of the partnership.
  3. Fees and Compensation: Detail the fee structure, including management fees, additional charges for specific services, and payment terms. Transparency in financial matters is essential for building trust.
  4. Responsibilities of each party: Clearly define the responsibilities of both the community association and the property management company to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts.
  5. Insurance and liability: Ensure that adequate insurance coverage is in place to protect both parties against potential liabilities arising from property management activities.
  6. Conflict resolution mechanisms: Establish procedures for resolving disputes or conflicts that may arise during the course of the contract, emphasizing mediation or arbitration where possible.
  7. Compliance and legal obligations: Ensure that the property management agreement complies with relevant laws, regulations, and industry standards, addressing issues such as fair housing practices and data privacy.
  8. Performance metrics and reporting: Define key performance indicators (KPIs) and reporting requirements to evaluate the effectiveness of property management services and facilitate accountability.
A well-crafted property management agreement should be comprehensive yet flexible, providing clarity and structure while accommodating the unique needs of the community association.

What would you expect in a property management contract?

When entering into a property management contract, both the community association and the property management company have certain expectations. Here's what each party typically anticipates:

Community association expectations:
  • Efficient Operations: Community associations expect the property management company to streamline operations, enhance property value, and maintain a high standard of living for residents.
  • Transparent Communication: Clear and timely communication is paramount. Community associations expect the property management company to keep them informed about relevant developments, issues, and decisions affecting the property.
  • Financial Accountability: Accurate financial management is essential. Community associations expect the property management company to handle financial matters with integrity, transparency, and adherence to budgetary constraints.
  • Quality Maintenance: Property upkeep is a top priority. Community associations expect the property management company to promptly address maintenance issues, ensure compliance with safety regulations, and preserve the aesthetic appeal of the property.
  • Responsive customer service: Prompt and responsive customer service is crucial. Community associations expect the property management company to be accessible, attentive, and proactive in addressing inquiries, concerns, and requests from residents.
Property management company expectations:
  • Cooperation and Collaboration: Property management companies expect cooperation and collaboration from the community association in implementing policies, resolving issues, and executing property management strategies effectively.
  • Clear guidelines and expectations: Property management companies expect the community association to provide clear guidelines, expectations, and feedback to facilitate efficient operations and decision-making.
  • Timely Payment: Prompt payment for services rendered is essential. Property management companies expect the community association to adhere to payment schedules and fulfill financial obligations in a timely manner.
  • Access to resources and information: Access to relevant resources and information is critical for effective property management. Property management companies expect the community association to provide necessary documentation, access to facilities, and support in obtaining permits or approvals.
  • Mutual respect and professionalism: A mutually respectful and professional relationship is essential for success. Property management companies expect the community association to treat them with respect, value their expertise, and maintain open lines of communication.
By aligning expectations and fostering a collaborative partnership, both the community association and the property management company can work together to achieve their respective goals and ensure the smooth operation of the property.

How long do property management contracts last?

The duration of property management contracts can vary depending on various factors, including the preferences of the parties involved, market conditions, and the specific needs of the community association. Typically, property management contracts may have the following durations:
  • Short-Term Contracts: Some property management contracts are short-term agreements that span one to two years. These contracts provide flexibility for both parties to reassess the partnership and adjust terms as needed.
  • Long-Term Contracts: Long-term contracts may extend beyond two years and can offer stability and continuity for both the community association and the property management company. These contracts often include provisions for renewal and periodic reviews to ensure alignment with evolving needs and objectives.
  • Automatic Renewal: Some property management contracts include provisions for automatic renewal unless either party provides notice of termination within a specified timeframe. This approach streamlines contract management and provides continuity unless one party decides to terminate the agreement.
  • Customized Contracts: In some cases, property management contracts are tailored to specific projects or circumstances, resulting in unique durations that align with the scope and timeline of the property management services required.
The duration of a property management contract should be carefully considered based on factors such as the stability of the property market, the complexity of management requirements, and the preferences of both the community association and the property management company. Flexibility and clear terms regarding termination and renewal are essential to ensure a mutually beneficial and sustainable partnership.

In conclusion, property management contracts play a pivotal role in facilitating the effective management of community associations. By following a strategic approach to securing contracts, crafting comprehensive agreements, managing expectations, and establishing appropriate contract durations, both community associations and property management companies can lay the groundwork for successful partnerships that enhance the value and quality of properties for residents and stakeholders alike.

To learn more about how a professional management company like FirstService Residential can support your community, contact a member of our team.
Friday April 26, 2024