By Gary Choppé
It all begins at 7:00 am with my phone ringing nonstop: the sprinklers outside my window is broken and water is hitting my window, my neighbor’s dog is barking and woke me up, my neighbor is always slams his door, my car was towed, when did the HOA start doing that “no I did not have a parking permit”, the gardeners blow dirt into my patio, I have a late fee on my billing, “remove it now, I am never late”, someone took my Signal newspaper and “I want you to find out who”, people don’t pick up after their dogs, “fine them”, the kids are making too much noise, its 10:00 pm why is there still people in the pool.
Okay, you get the idea! Welcome to HOA Living and my world as a property manager. 24/7 365 days a year, it’s a relentless job that takes all the will power, tact, communication savvy and diplomacy that one can muster.
At the start, newcomers move in and they are not aware of or read all the Rules and Regulations of the community and how it will affect their living. It is so important that each new owner takes the time to read the information given to them by the HOA through their Escrow Company.
Homeowner Associations operate like their own little cities with Rules & Regulations, Governing Documents, Board of Directors and Members who are not always willing to abide by the laws of the land. Don’t get me wrong, these communities are unique in the fact that they take care of most amenities, so you can just drive in your garage and be taken care of.
Gardner’s mow the lawns, pools are kept clean, security patrols the neighborhood, in some cases the water and trash bill in taken care of through their dues, so living can be peaceful, until its not and in a minute, the HOA from Hell phenomena occurs and I get the calls.
Communications is the key to success in any business, relationship or HOA and one of my most disturbing calls is the homeowner that tells me I did not respond to a question. It usually goes like this… “I called you ten times about that dog; you know the one that keeps peeing on the plant in front of my house. You need to stop it from lifting its leg NOW!” They hang up without any phone number, address or name. These types of messages are very frustrating and I have to take another deep breath and wait for them to call back again because you know they will. My advice to homeowners and their tenants is to communicate clearly with their management company not just with a phone call but put their issues in writing with all the specific details that pertain to the issue.
Seems simple, but as a manager we need to have a detailed paper trail with the date, times description and even pictures of that dog would be helpful. Make contact as soon as possible so that a follow up can be made and if it’s an emergency make that call right away. Let me give you an example: “Hi Gary, someone broke into my car and took everything including that check for my HOA dues, guess it will be late!” I took another deep breath, “Please give me all your information (see above) and when did this occur? “ The caller relayed that it was yesterday morning and that he just got around to making the report, hours after the incident had occurred.
On this property we have 20 security cameras that our Security Company can view in real-time and they could have responded within a short amount of time and now they have to go back and review hours of video. My point is, as a resident living in an HOA, please be part of the community and communicate all the time with your Management Company, Security or Board…your voice counts.
Welcome to HOA Living! Please email me your questions, comments or suggestions and lets all try to get along.
HOA Management of Santa Clarita