There are many benefits to living in a master-planned community. These large-scale developments integrate a variety of neighborhoods, recreational facilities and amenities, such as parks, golf courses, lakes, jogging paths and bike trails, under one community umbrella. With so much at a residents’ fingertips, master-planned living clearly focuses on offering a certain level of convenience, lifestyle and quality of life. 
Most master-planned communities also offer homebuyers a wide range of residential options that cater to different price points and life stages – from single-family homes to townhomes, and condominiums to apartments. 
All homeowners within a master-planned community are members of the master association, and as a result are responsible for paying dues and complying with its governing documents, rules, regulations and architectural guidelines. It is then the responsibility of the master association to maintain common areas such as roads, entrances and amenities. But within the master association, there may be separate sub-associations (subs) that have their own set of documents, dues, and rules and regulations that apply only to residents in that particular sub. Thus, if you own a home in one of these standalone subs, you are a member of that association as well as the master association. 
Here’s where it can get tricky.  Within one master-planned community, the master association and sub-associations are each governed by their own Boards of Directors. It is the responsibility of the Board to decide if the association should be professionally managed or not. As a result, you can end up with several property management companies operating within one master-planned community. 
In some instances this is a good decision – this set-up can be extremely beneficial, say, if a certain property management company has the expertise and experience that specifically meets the needs of a given association. However, in most cases, having multiple management companies can cause a lot of confusion, misunderstanding, and ultimately, conflict. For example, homeowners may be confused as to which association or management company to contact if they have, say, a noise complaint or maintenance issue, or if they have a question about their dues. 
To ensure harmony, and maximize value and lifestyle, it’s important for master associations and sub-associations to work together to achieve their goals. That means sub-associations should set rules that are consistent with those of the master association, and follow similar procedures as well. Each association should also be transparent, responsive, cooperative and communicative at all times. And the same applies to their property management companies. 
When management companies in master-planned communities have different agendas or goals, fail to cooperate, or lack the skills and experience to get the job done, nobody wins.  Unfortunately, this is more common than you would think. If you find yourself in this type of situation, you have a few options.
For starters, is a management company is not meeting the needs of one, several or all of the associations, then they can always replace them with another company that is more experienced, cooperative and capable. A better option, however, would be for all of the associations to choose the same management company. 
For obvious reasons, when one management company serves all of the associations within one master-planned community, it reduces homeowner confusion because they have one reliable point of contact for answers and action. This goes a long way in building relationships, increasing effectiveness, increasing customer satisfaction, and building homeowner loyalty and engagement.  
But the residents aren’t the only ones who benefit from having one property management company manage the master-planned community and its subs. The property managers benefit as well because they gain a significant amount of community knowledge and can more readily engage residents. This makes them more effective in their jobs. The result is a property management company that not only helps each association meet its goals, but also helps the entire master-planned community achieve its vision. That goes a long way to adding value and enhancing the quality of life of all its homeowners—and isn’t that why they chose a master-planned community in the first place?  Master-planned communities offer a level of lifestyle, amenities, value and quality of life that are hard to beat – and for many people, hard to resist. Contact FirstService Residential for more information about master-planned communities and property management.
Monday September 19, 2016