5 Tips to Improve Communication with HOA Communities

Improve HOA communication

Communication is key in any relationship, and Condo and HOA communities are no exception. In order to foster a more peaceful environment, curb violations, and reduce misunderstandings, the board should strive to keep community members in the loop.

Well-educated members are often more satisfied and engaged with the association. And fortunately, HOAs have a variety of resources at their disposal to enhance communication and keep members informed.

1. Maintain an Updated Website.

The community website is a go-to resource not just for current residents, but also for future residents. Make it a one-stop-shop where people can find the information they’re looking for. Public access can include all of the basics about the community, its amenities, and events. A resident portal can include copies of all governing documents, forms to fill out for approvals or repairs, forms for questions or complaints, information about service providers, and updates on community events or happenings.

2. Send out Regular Newsletters.

Have a consistent schedule for the newsletter, whether it’s once a month, once a quarter, or twice a year, and stick to it. This way members know when it is coming and that it will actually arrive. Include updates about important events, upcoming projects or repairs, shout outs to recognize volunteers or success stories, and polite reminders about rules to keep in mind – especially if there have been issues with people violating certain terms.

3. Keep Emails Short and Relevant.

No one likes to have their inbox bombarded with multiple emails from the HOA each week (or day). Focus on using email blasts for the most important or time-sensitive issues. Keep messages short and to the point so that members are more likely to take the time to read them in their entirety. Decide what information should be sent via email and what is better left for the newsletter or website.

4. Make use of Social Media.

Most people are active on multiple forms of social media, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any combination thereof. Use these platforms to your advantage. Create pages for the HOA and use them to engage with residents, provide interesting articles and helpful tips, and promote the community. This can be a fast and simple way to reach more people.

5. Take advantage of Software and Apps.

Keep all of the HOA communications organized in one place and have access to important files and folders by using programs such as Evercondo. You can easily manage facility requests, disseminate announcements to all residents, track service requests, and much more. Society is becoming more technology-centric than ever, so it makes sense for HOAs and community managers to use the programs and apps that are available to improve operations and communication.

When residents are regularly informed about what is going on in the community and board members are all on the same page with projects and tasks, it can make condo management run more smoothly. Taking the time to listen to residents and find out what information they feel is important or areas they feel communication is lacking in can also help to direct communication efforts. Use this feedback along with available resources to set up a system that works for your community.

What are some ways that your condo or HOA community stays engaged with residents? Share your stories, tips and tricks in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Evercondo is the leading web and mobile platform that facilitates quick and useful communication between community managers, HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a demonstration or sign up for a free trial to see how we can keep your communities happy today!

6 Ways To “Go Green” in Your HOA or Condo Association

Go Green In Your HOA

There are more than 7 billion people on the Earth. We take up a lot of space and use a lot of resources. That makes implementing eco-friendly practices even more critical to preserve the environment and the resources that we do have. Trees can be cut down in the blink of an eye, but they take years to grow. HOAs and Condo Associations can do their part to protect the earth by going green and making more conscious decisions to be eco-friendly.

Here are just 6 ways your HOA or condo association can implement to start making a difference:

1. Use Paperless Communications

One of the biggest ways HOAs and COAs can be proactive is by cutting back on the amount of paper waste they create. Instead of sending out newsletters, fliers, and forms that will soon find their way into the trashcan, make use of electronic options. Create a spot on the community website or portal where governing documents, request or application forms, and other communications are kept. Send email blasts, electronic newsletters, and digital reminders instead of printing out countless pages of information. Software programs such as Evercondo can make managing and organizing electronic communications and files simple by having everything in one place.

2. Install Motion Detectors

Instead of keeping lights on all the time, use motion detectors so they’re only activated when needed. This can be done for both indoor and outdoor lights and significantly reduces energy usage. Motion sensors can also be a deterrent for suspicious activity because the lights pop on when movement is detected.

3. Use Energy-Efficient Appliances

Encourage homeowners to choose energy-efficient appliances when buying or replacing appliances in their home. Associations can also choose to use these types of devices in common areas such as business centers or clubhouses. Make sure they’re Energy Star Certified.

4. Service HVAC Systems Annually

Ensuring that the HVAC system is running efficiently is a great way to save energy and prolong the life of these systems. Regular maintenance can help to identify problems and keep the heat or air conditioning from being a drain on electricity because they are not functioning properly.

5. Promote Recycling

Many HOA and COA communities have recycling programs in place, but residents may not be taking full advantage of them. Post visual signs near recycling areas and send reminders about exactly what types of materials can be recycled. Residents may not realize that they can discard certain types of cardboard, paper, plastic, or other material. By simply raising awareness and educating homeowners, the HOA can help keep more waste out of landfills.

6. Plant Native Plants

When landscaping the area, use plants that are native to the region and are hearty. They often require less watering and maintenance. Pick plants and shrubs that are appropriate for the amount of sunlight, shade, and rainfall that the area receives. Consider installing an irrigation system to help control water usage, or limit watering to early morning or later in the evening so that it has time to soak in before the heat of the day.
Adopting more eco-friendly practices and going green can help with managing costs in the Association while also cutting down on unnecessary waste and energy usage. We only have one Earth, so we should be doing all that we can to protect it for generations to come.

What other ways have you found to go green in your HOA or condo community? Share your stories, tips and tricks in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Evercondo is the leading #gogreen web and mobile platform that facilitates quick and useful communication between property managers, HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a demonstration or sign up for a free trial to see how we can keep your communities happy and green today!

This Is Why We Love What We Do. Thank You.

happy-community-with-evercondo

At Evercondo, we’re obsessed at making community living better. We have a mission: To make condo and HOA community living and management 10x better than how it is today; from the day-to-day tasks of community managers to the daily household chores and community living of residents.

We understand it is no easy task, even overwhelming, but like the saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and we’ve started laying the bricks. All of our effort would have been meaningless without the support of our dear customers. We’re glad to say that we’ve come very far from where we were in the past 2 years and we know we wouldn’t be here today if not for you.

Here’s why we love what we do and why we wake up each day with the belief that achieving our mission and vision is possible.

 

Anne Burgoon, Vice President – EOPMG

Eastern Ontario Property Management

” Two of the most common requests from owners in the Condominium Industry is improved transparency and better communication. The website services provided through Evercondo address both of these very effectively. The website links the community to the Corporation with a user friendly system. Our residents love it! “


Christopher Davis, Managing Partner – DVP Management

DVP Property Management

” Since the inception of DVP Management, Evercondo has been our most valuable partner by providing a direct, personal connecting to the people who live in the communities we serve. Whether accessed using a mobile device or desktop browser, the user friendly interface allows owners to quickly communicate with DVP and their neighbors, make payments, view their community’s documents – and much more. Importantly, Evercondo goes critically further than any other online property management portal; it truly recreates a sense of community in the cloud. Board members can easily access financials, approve architectural requests, and create work orders. The mobile app makes it extremely easy for us to manage our communities from anywhere, at any time, without being intrusive. Managers can send bulletins, answer questions and access a wide range of information in just just a few taps on their screen. Evercondo has been instrumental in our mission to bring a powerful combination of wide-ranging resources and a personal touch to each community we serve, no matter the location, size or community type. “


Tim Arel, Principal – North Point Management

Northpoint Property Management” Evercondo has been an invaluable partner in our efforts to provide the highest level of HOA management and complete transparency to our client Associations. “

 


Donald Wilden, President – Action Management

Action Management” Evercondo is a valuable communication tool for our associations. As a property management company we can quickly inform the homeowners about a wide range of topics by posting bulletins to the dashboard and posting upcoming events to the Calendar. Homeowners like the quick access to forms, financials and association information through Evercondo. Realtors and lenders have given positive feedback about having easy access to Evercondo to obtain all the needed documents when selling a home. Being able to direct realtors, lenders and homeowners to the website is a great time saver for the office staff. We find all aspects of using Evercondo to be extremely user friendly from uploading documents, creating bulletins, and setting up new accounts or files to advising our clients how to use Evercondo. The Evercondo staff always quickly responds to our questions in a friendly, easy to understand manner. “


Marcus Mayo, Owner – CAMCO Property Management

CAMCO Property Management” We have distinguished ourselves as a property management company since we began using Evercondo. The simple, intuitive platform is an ideal solution for responding quickly to problems and opportunities that arise in managed communities. With Evercondo we’re able to streamline processes, increase our productivity, and deliver more value to the condo board and ultimately, to our residents. “


Joshua Spivey, President – Wise Property Management

wise-logo” Our experience with Evercondo has been extremely positive. At Wise Property Management, we are always looking for ways to enhance the experience of our Boards and the owners we serve. It is very important to our company to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to solutions that can provide our clients with the additional conveniences and efficiencies they deserve. Evercondo’s team is not only helping us achieve our goals, but they are also forward thinkers who have demonstrated a desire to constantly improve and enhance the end-user experience. Rather than settling with their already impressive product, they seem highly motivated to work towards the betterment of their clients’ interests, both management companies and community associations alike. We value the relationship with Evercondo and look forward to continuing our shared efforts in providing industry-leading service to each and every client who has given us the great opportunity of serving them. “


Steven Benton, President – Millbrook Property Management

Millbrook Real Estate Services” Evercondo has helped provide a much better service to our residents. By allowing for more transparency and better communication, our residents experience a much more enhanced living experience. This in turn allows our management company’s services to be much better perceived by our clients and also potential clients. We’re very much pleased with our relationship with Evercondo and look forward to working together in the future. “


John Young, General Manager – Honua Kai COA

” We looked at a number of operating platforms before choosing Evercondo. However the choice was not a difficult one and unanimous when we made the decision as it was very clear that Evercondo provided the ‘bells and whistles’ we were looking for in a property website. More importantly was the simplicity of using the site. Honua Kai is 628 units and it was imperative we find a web platform that was robust but simplistic in its approach. Evercondo does that. We had lots of staff and owner frustrations with our previous platform. I’m very happy to be able to report, we have almost eliminated frustrations and complaints since implementing the transition. Finally the other equally important component was personal service. Evercondo has done that and continues to do so. “


Casey Beacock, President – Sanderson Management

Sanderson Management Inc” Evercondo has allowed us to share our expertise in property management but also living in the Tri City area to our condominium owners. We can update individual corporations based on local events. Our intention it to use EverCondo not just as a place where you sometimes deal with the not so fun aspects of your condominium but are opened to the real experience of what it means to live in a specific condominium community. Owners and Board Members have really appreciated EverCondo and the transparency it provides. It has been touted as the best as far as community awareness and communication. There is an abundance of appreciation of the system from property managers, boards of directors, owners, and tenants. “


Chris Brown, Vice President – Fraser Property Management

Fraser Property Management” We have been very pleased with the results to date in regards to our implementation of Evercondo with our property portfolio. We have found it to be a very effective method for communicating with our clients. It allows for a more direct transfer of information without many of the traditional roadblocks we have encountered in the past. Emergency bulletins, financial information, facilities bookings and work orders are all readily available to owners. This direct communication allows managers to correspond with owners and occupants and let them know of progress on various matters while eliminating many phone calls and email queries.

We provide Evercondo to all our new properties we have taken on, and we envision a day when all our properties are handled via Evercondo. It works well with our accounting system, providing up to date account balances to individual owners and more detailed information to directors.

Furthermore, we have found that working with Grant, Adrian and the rest of their team has been an excellent experience. They are very receptive to our suggestions and take an interest in improving their product on an ongoing basis. This has resulted in a very positive end user experience as we feel that our input (and input provided from our customers) is valued and acted upon.

We view the implementation of Evercondo as part of our business model to be an excellent decision and we look forward to a long and fruitful partnership in the years ahead. ”


Rebecca Rajchgot, Property Manager – Wilkar Property Management

Wilkar Property Management Inc” Using Evercondo gives us an edge in pitching to condo boards. Knowing that we are equipped to attend to their needs 24/7 is a big advantage. Our business has gone completely new direction since we started using Evercondo and residents have given us great feedback so far. “


Nicolas Del Valle, Director of Operations – Conkrite Capital Corporation

Conkrite” Evercondo has been a very important channel for us to create a better sense of community for residents. It is very easy to use yet powerful enough to make a big impact. Residents get amazed by how information is delivered to them and how they can interact with management and their fellow neighbors through the platform. In one tense I would say that Evercondo is a community builder. “


Joanie, Property Manager – Sentinel Property Management

Gestion Immobilier Sentinel” Our residents thank us for the additional attention & support from our management through Evercondo. Their support team is always available to answer our questions. “


Blair Milroy, President – Tridel’s Rêve Condominium

reve” Evercondo has enabled our board to become more responsive and deliver superior service to our residents. We have seen a notable shift in the level of engagement in our community and overall satisfaction has increased dramatically. We conducted a comprehensive review of community management solutions found that Evercondo offers the best value and features for our community. “


Syahrin, Board Member – Armanee Condominium

” Evercondo has transformed the way we interact with residents of our condo and they’re pleased with our quick and prompt response. “


Madeleine, Board Member – Les Sommets Condominium

” Happy to have Evercondo for our condominium. Now our co-owners are in the loop in real time and the managers appreciate its simplicity and its efficiency. “

Evercondo the leading web and mobile software that facilitates quick, useful communication between community managers, HOA/Condo board, and residents. Contact us for a live demo or sign up for a free trial to see how we can keep your management and communities happy.

5 Tips For Hiring A Good HOA Community Manager

hoa-community-manager-hiring

Choosing a community manager is one of the most important decisions that a HOA and condo board will make. Talk about pressure! You need to be careful in your selection because the people who work on your community’s management team—especially those on-site—will affect quality of life for residents. So it’s important to make a smart choice.

When you hire a community management firm, they run the day-to-day operations of your community. It’s crucial to do your research when hiring a community manager so you’re confident they have what it takes to fit into your community and run things properly.

Apart from having good communication and conflict resolution skills, community managers need to have certain traits in order to be successful. Here are five tips for finding the right fit for your community:

Evaluate your last manager.

Unless you’re hiring because your community is moving from a self-managed model, your existing manager either quit or was fired. So when you choose another community management firm, board members should evaluate the last one for clues about what was missing. Be objective in your evaluation. Make a list of what you liked about the last community manager and what needs to be improved under the new firm.

Shop around, with intelligence.

Your HOA’s other service providers likely work with a number of community management firms, so ask them for recommendations. Check with people you know living in other communities, too—happy residents usually have good managers. Make a short list of the best candidates and research their reputations. Search them out online; ask for references and follow up to see how they performed for past clients. Ask references about their strengths and weaknesses as a manager. Are they accountable? How are their accounting, deadline juggling, and communication skills? If you’re evaluating large management companies, ask for the names and credentials of the team members who will provide the actual service in your community (such as the senior manager, onsite manager, or administrator) so you can research them online and check their references.

Ask the right questions.

Find out exactly what services are offered by the different community management companies you’re considering, and ask for a complete list of management fees so there are no hidden surprises. Ask about their expectations from the board, too: sick days; time off for professional development; offsite meetings; etc. Ask about their vendor relationships (do they get multiple quotes for services and have relationships with multiple vendors for the same service?); back office skills (is a live person available 24/7 in cases of emergency? Are HOA finances kept by a qualified, certified financial expert? Are they up to date on all laws governing the running of a condo or HOA?); and about their experience as community managers (for example, a gated community HOA wouldn’t hire a firm that has only managed high-rise condos).

Look for experience and credentials.

Not all property management companies are created equal. Firms that have been in business for years have a longer track record of staying current with best practices and regulatory changes. But make sure their experience covers all aspects you need: landscaping, governance, pest control, waste and recycling, special projects, etc. Verify the firms’ and individual managers’ industry designations to make sure their credentials meet your standards.

Meet with them in person.

All board members should have a chance to meet prospective managers and talk face-to-face. This way you can evaluate how well they listen and relate to people. A good community manager needs great communication skills and the ability to interact with many different people and personalities, while keeping the community’s logistics in order. You want someone proactive and resourceful who is also personable and level headed. Someone responsive, who returns calls and keeps open lines of communication so everyone in the building—residents and workers alike—feel heard. (Bonus points: give extra consideration to prospective managers who are savvy enough to use Evercondo to communicate, manage, organize and optimize operations.)

Have you ever hired a property manager? How did you choose the right person or firm for the job? Share your stories in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Evercondo is the leading web and mobile platform that facilitates quick and useful communication between property managers, HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a demonstration or sign up for a free trial to see how we can keep your HOA and condo communities happy while saving your community managers tons of time.

How To Write Emails That Get The Job Done

effective-email

How many times have you ask yourself “Why doesn’t she get back to me?” I mean, seriously, how long does it take for someone to reply to an email. It only takes a few minutes but why does it take so long. Getting someone to do something is hard, it’s even harder when you’re asking your customers (a.k.a. the board members) via email. The importance of writing a good email cannot be overemphasized. Things need to get done and your emails to your residents need to be good. Period.

Formalities aside, a good email is a simple one. Easy enough to be understood by a 5th grader (i.e., 10 year old). Here’s a good example, why use 5th grader when you can clearly choose to use “10 year old.” In other words, why make the reader think?

To master the art of effective email writing, property managers can borrow from the lowliest form of communication: direct mail copywriting.

Direct mail copy is, well, direct. It’s persuasive, politely blunt, and makes it easy for recipients to respond. All those flyers and letters that go from your mailbox straight into the recycling bin—they’re a goldmine of inspiration.

You simply transfer those direct mail attributes to your email writing, and bammo. Timely responses in your inbox. Here’s how:

Use short, simple language.

Write your emails for clarity to avoid confusion on the part of recipients. Be succinct. Clearly explain what you want using the fewest possible words. (Top tip: remove unnecessary qualifiers – words like “very”, “really”, “extremely” – that lessen the impact of your message. It’s better to use one powerful word than two or three mediocre ones.) Long blocks of text are subject to the “tl;dr” (too long; didn’t read) phenomenon. Instead, write short, to-the-point sentences. Use bullet points to break up long paragraphs that list things. Limit paragraphs to four or five lines so they’re easy to skim—you should see lots of white space in the email message field.

Focus on a single topic.

People have short attention spans. Don’t overload them with too much information crammed into one message. Each email you send to board members should include details only relevant to the specific point you’re trying to make. Resist the urge to add a “p.s.” or ask about other (unrelated) issues.

Be specific in the “Subject” line.

A good subject line lets recipients know what your email is about right away. Write subject lines using detailed language instead of vague phrases like “Questions for you” or “Ideas to consider” and instead use something like “Feedback needed: Agenda items for 2017 AGM.” (This also makes emails easier to find if you have to search your inbox for them later.)

Remember that size matters.

There’s a reason direct mail copy uses bold lettering, big headlines, and fine print. It guides the reader’s eye to the most important messages. For email, make sure your messages are readable on a mobile phone, where most people will open them. This means using precise language to keep copy as short as possible; using at least an 11-point font for body text and a 22-point font for headlines; and having a clear call to action in the subject line.

Have an obvious call to action.

Create a sense of urgency that encourages board members to act right away. Whether it’s a contract deadline, a maintenance issue, or an event they should attend, explain in 10 words or less exactly what action you want them take. Make sure to use “active voice” rather than “passive voice”.

Examples:

  • Hit “reply” and type “Yes” to RSVP today.
  • Feedback due ASAP to meet next week’s deadline.
  • Reply to accept this meeting time or suggest another.

Do you find that board members are responsive to your emails? How do you encourage timely responses? Share your stories in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Evercondo the leading web and mobile platform that facilitates quick, useful communication between property managers, the condo association or HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a demonstration or a free trial to see how we can keep your communities happy.

5 Productivity Apps For HOA & Condo Managers

5 Productivity Apps for HOA and Condo Managers

Welcome to another Evercondo “tech tips” post, where we share some of the best apps and technology solutions out there for helping property managers, board members and residents get more done with less time.

We all want to be more productive in life. Fortunately we live in a time when helpful technology is plentiful and cheap—it’s never been easier to find web and phone apps that make it simple to stay organized at work and at home. Here are five of our latest favourites:

Unroll.Me (Free; iOS)

Gain control of your inbox by getting rid of junk mail and unwanted subscriptions in just a few clicks. Simply go to the Unroll.Me homepage and click on the “Get started now” button. Signup is easy (either provide your email or sign in via Google or another service). Unroll.Me gives you the option to unsubscribe from junk emails right away; keep them coming into your inbox; or to compile them into a single “Rollup” of all your subscriptions in a single place. You can choose to have your Rollup delivered in the morning, afternoon, or evening to read at your leisure—clean, simple and convenient.

LastPass (Free and paid versions; Android, iOS, Windows)

Login passwords are one of modern life’s biggest hassles. Having to remember them, having to create them each time you sign up for a new service—it’s safe to say passwords (while necessary for data security) are a waste of time. Naturally there’s an app for that. LastPass remembers your passwords (and keeps them secure) so you don’t have to. We like the LastPass Premium app ($12 per year). It’s a password vault, strong password generator and browser rolled into a single mobile app. You can sync your password vault so the LastPass browser automatically fills in forms and login details on websites, either through the in-app browser, Safari or Chrome. You can also use LastPass on all your devices for free.

Todoist (Free and paid versions; Android, iOS, Windows)

The human brain is hardwired to keep thinking about unfinished tasks. This may have worked thousands of years ago when survival was the main priority. But in today’s multitasking world it can lead to stress, overwhelm and burnout. We’ve found that Todoist is a great tool for getting things out of your head and onto your to-do list. From there it’s much simpler to organize and prioritize tasks and projects, so you know exactly what to focus on and when. Keep track of everything you need to get done and plan your day for maximum focus and productivity with Todoist. The app lets you share projects, delegate tasks, and collaborate with anyone.

Nudgemail (Free and pay-by-donation; all devices)

Maybe you dream of attaining the “zero inbox” level of productivity (or maybe you simply want a more manageable inbox). In either case, Nudgemail may be just the solution. Most of us are bombarded with e-mail requests every day. Setting up calendar alerts for each new meeting time or appointment; sending ourselves reminder emails so we don’t forget important tasks; figuring out a foolproof system for never missing a follow-up or to-do item—these are the challenges we face inside the inbox. The beauty of Nudgemail is that it turns any email service you use (the software works with all email clients and on any device) into a productivity app for creating simple reminders or follow-up notifications. So if a supplier emails you about placing an order next week, you simply forward that email to “nextweek@nudgemail.com” and Nudgemail will send it back to your inbox seven days later. Or if a resident emails you with a question that can wait until tomorrow, just forward it to “tomorrow@nudgemail.com” and deal with it when it arrives the next day. The program comes with a variety of commands (including the handy “EOD@nudgemail.com” which arrives at 6 p.m. for emails you need to address by end-of-day).

Plan (Free; iOS)

If you use more than one project platform for your work, Plan might be the tool you need to bring it all together in one place. Think of Plan as a work concierge—one that organizes projects and tasks from all the tools your team may use in a given day: calendars, email, JIRA, Zendesk, Salesforce, and Github. Use the app to plan out your day. Block chunks of time to work on important tasks; create meetings and invite teammates; view your upcoming day, week and month to stay on track. See all your action items in one place so you don’t have to worry about something slipping through the cracks.

What are your favorite productivity apps? Tell us about them in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Evercondo is the leading web and mobile platform that facilitates quick, useful communication between property managers, the condo association or HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a live demonstration or a free trial to see how we can keep your communities happy.

Why Directors and Officers (D&O) Insurance Is A Must For Homeowner Associations

do-insurance

Did you know that volunteering as a board member for your condo or HOA could jeopardize your personal financial security? You’re actually at risk from lawsuits against the board—whether they have merit or not. Having an indemnification clause in your bylaws helps protect directors financially but at a greater potential cost to the condo association than a comprehensive Directors and Officers (D&O) liability insurance policy.

It may not seem fair that being a volunteer director of your condo or HOA board comes with the potential for financial ruin. But it’s a very real risk—there are many cases where directors have been found personally liable for board decisions and required to pay expensive legal costs as a result.

One example from Ottawa, Ontario is the case Boily vs. Carleton Condominium Corporation 145, where a number of unit owners sued the board over repairs to a parking garage that resulted in “substantial changes” being made to the courtyard area. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded in favour of the owners (a decision later upheld by the Ontario Court of Appeal); the directors were found in contempt of court and personally liable for more than $95,000 in legal costs.

Being a director is a somewhat thankless job that comes with big responsibilities. You have a legal duty to protect owners and their investment in the property. And if the board is not covered by the right liability insurance, you are at risk if the board is sued. No matter how frivolous a lawsuit might be, you are required by law to hire an attorney (with your own money) to defend your actions as a director.

Typical lawsuits that plague condo and HOA boards include:

  • Wrongful termination of an employee
  • Discrimination due to race, religion, sex, or disability
  • Defamation of character (i.e. libel or slander)
  • Breach of contract by a third-party vendor
  • Renovations by the building or homeowner
  • Noise by another homeowner, a contractor, or the building’s machinery
  • Subletting guidelines and restrictions
  • Pet guidelines and restrictions

While an indemnification clause in the bylaws will require the condo association to reimburse directors for uninsured legal fees incurred in their capacity as board members, it can become expensive if the board is sued.

On the other hand, a comprehensive D&O liability insurance policy can be a budget line item that pays for itself in the event of a lawsuit.

“Comprehensive” means that the policy stands on its own—it’s not D&O liability coverage that’s embedded into the property’s commercial insurance or general liability policy. This is important because a comprehensive policy provides coverage for elected or appointed directors, trustees, officers, employees, committee members, and volunteers now or in the past. But the embedded policy usually just covers the directors and officers in office during the policy period.

To protect yourself as a board member, make sure to consult the association’s insurance broker to see if the liability coverage can withstand a legal assault.

Do you have any experience with lawsuits as a condo/HOA owner or board member? Share your story in the comments below!

Evercondo the leading web and mobile platform that facilitates quick, useful communication between property managers, the condo association or HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a demonstration or a free trial to see how we can keep your communities happy.

5 Apps That Makes Life Easier for Condo / HOA Managers

apps-productivity-hoa-manager
The tech world today is more advanced and sophisticated than ever. There’s a lot that the condo / HOA management industry can benefit from but with so many options out there, where do we even begin? That’s why we will be featuring some of the best apps and technology solutions that can benefit you as a manager, board member or resident. Here are the first 5 apps that we think will help you get more done with less time.

Your workday as a manager is hectic, jam-packed with tasks to get done. But all too often your attention is hijacked by demands or situations that interfere with your other priorities. We can’t all afford a personal assistant and with only 24 hours in a day, you need technology to help you do more in less time.

A property manager’s job would try the patience of a Zen monk. Typical days are hectic and crisis-filled, making it tough to balance the overflow of “inputs” (building emergencies, requests for information, resident complaints, etc.) on top of your already-full plate.

Fortunately, technology can help take some of the pressure off and make your days easier to manage. Here are 5 easy-to-use apps for getting things done more efficiently:

Slack

Team messaging – real time communication that works. Its a chat app and who says managers and board members aren’t a team. We believe that communication between board members and property managers should be a constant activity and not just a once in a week or month chore. Slack can really get things moving and keep your inbox clean.

Grammarly

Billed as “the world’s most accurate grammar checker”, Grammarly is a free Chrome plug-in app that helps you write mistake-free on Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and most other web platforms. It corrects more than 250 types of grammatical mistakes and poor vocabulary usage with word-choice suggestions that instantly improve the readability of your copy.

Boomerang

Both a mobile app and Gmail plug-in, Boomerang gives you more control over your email habits. The app lets you write emails in advance and schedule them to be sent automatically whenever you want. You can also use the app to set follow-up reminders for sent emails, so important replies don’t slip through the cracks. Boomerang is available in a free version (with 10 messages per month) as well as three other paid versions that offer more features and unlimited messages.

Calendly

One of the most frustrating things about booking meetings with the board or other groups is keeping track of the “when are you free?” back-and-forth email conversations. Calendly eliminates that problem without the need to give up control of your calendar. You simply set your availability preferences to ensure meetings only happen on your time, and keep all details of your existing appointments private. It checks your Google or Office 365 calendar for conflicts, so you’re never double-booked. The app has a free version as well as moderately priced premium and pro versions, and it can be used on a smartphone, tablet or desktop.

Evercondo

Sure we’re tooting our own horn, but hear us out. Ever wondered whether your residents actually read the bulletins you sent out? Our bulletin feature allows managers to send out important notifications to all residents via email, SMS, push notification and voice calls with tracking capability. This means, when a resident opens up an email of your bulletin, it will be tracked and logged for your reference. No more worries. It’s magical. You can try Evercondo free for 30 days—sign up today to see why thousands of property managers, condo associations, and HOAs rely on it to optimize their daily operations.

What are your favorite productivity apps? Tell us about them in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

3 Useful Tips on How to Deal With a HOA Resident Like Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/

Don’t get us wrong. We’re not taking any political positions. It’s just the reality of living in a multi residential community. We live with all sorts of people and among them are those who exhibit strong personality quirks like The Donald. It’s important for community managers and board members to be able to deal with it; Here are 3 useful tips to help you when the need arises.

Donald Trump’s tough and take-no-prisoners negotiation style is in many ways a hallmark of his success in both business and reality TV. Heck, it helped him win the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. However, it’s not something that most people can handle and if not dealt with properly in a condo or HOA community, it can cause unnecessary conflicts (i.e. lawsuits) and awkward situations for the manager, board member and residents.

Now imagine if Donald Trump is a resident living in your building or HOA. Not just a resident, but a board member. How would you handle someone like The Donald? What would your board accomplish if meetings were continually hijacked by “that” person with strong opinions, prone to emotional outbursts, and the inability to back down in an argument?

Here are three useful tips you can use to tame the beast!

1. “Flow with the wind, not against it.”

A Trump-like character is a “think out loud” and passionate person. They speak their mind without a filter and refuse to argue rationally at times — facts can sometimes mean less to them than their feelings about an issue. What can we say. People do tend to get out-of-control when they are passionate about an issue or topic. You have a better chance of successfully negotiating with them if you accept who they are rather than fighting against it.

Knowing their dominant, aggressive communication style, you can adapt your own negotiating style to complement and harmonize with theirs. This complementary approach was shown to have the best outcome in a recent study on conflict management from Harvard Law School. As a Zen master would say “Flow with the wind, not against it”.

when-dealing-with-difficult-people-try-a-complementary-approach-pon-program-on-negotiation-at-harvard-law-school-2016-11-16-16-12-14

2. Keep an open mind. Embrace change.

Whether you agree or disagree with them, a strong character will always rock the boat and challenge assumptions. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Trumps of the world are often “change agents” who want to disrupt the status quo. This can have a positive outcome in the long run and dealing with change gracefully makes you a better manager.

3. It’s all in your mindset.

Go into a discussion with the mindset that difficult people are there to help you improve your management skills. It’s an approach that will help you be unflappable in the face of their bullying or accusations because unfortunately, ignoring these people won’t make them go away. When you see them as “allies” helping you raise the bar on your interpersonal skill-level, it gives you a broader perspective towards life. (Bonus: if you can handle the most challenging person in your building, you can handle anyone!)

Do you have any other ideas or tips for handling the “resident Donald Trump” in a community? If so, share them in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Evercondo the leading web and mobile platform that facilitates quick, useful communication between property managers, the condo association or HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a demonstration or a free trial to see how we can keep your communities warm and happy.

6 Practical Communication Tips for Busy Condo & HOA Managers

goodcommunication

Effective, regular communication is your key to an efficiently managed condo or HOA community and happier residents. In fact, an official “communication plan” will help you better manage risk and relationships in your job. Here are 6 practical tips that you can start using today.

Poor communication is often the cause of tension or conflict within a managed community. Proof can be found in a multi-year survey of condo owners in Ontario (which collected data from 40 percent of the province’s condo corporations).

lack-communication-condo-hoa

Almost half of the respondents (49 percent) said “lack of communication from boards of directors and/or managers” was the most common problem. Respondents cited frustration, fear, and other negative feelings due to:

  • Lack of information about board meetings
  • No response from boards and managers to enquiries or requests for information
  • Confusing accounting reports
  • Unexplained fee hikes/maintenance costs/special assessments

With all the other responsibilities a property manager juggles each day, good communication tactics may not be top of mind. But clear, open communication that speaks to your audience actually makes your job easier.

Good communication improves retention rates, builds community bonds, and educates residents about property management policies and procedures.

Fortunately, effective communication is a skill that can be developed easily and enhanced even more with the right tools. So get started on a communication plan for your community with these helpful guidelines:

1. Know your key message

Be clear in your communications by sticking to a single topic in each “message transmission” sent to residents. This is true no matter what format you’re using to communicate. Whether it’s an email to a single resident, a bulletin board post, or a seasonal report, have one clear message to avoid confusion.

Topics that matter to residents include:

  • Work orders and service requests
  • Amenities bookings
  • Problems and complaints
  • Building events
  • Condo board meetings and AGM
  • By-laws and fees
  • Fire safety and emergency testing

2. Use plain language

With millions of words in the English language to choose from, it’s easy to be misunderstood if you use unfamiliar words to get your point across. Vocabularies differ in size. The number of words (and their meanings) each person knows will vary due to environment, culture, and life experience. But when you speak or write in “plain language” you’re using words that everyone knows—a core vocabulary of about 300 familiar words used most often to express meaning and intent, usually without misunderstanding. Plain language excludes jargon, acronyms, legalese, and slang. The simplest, shortest way to say something in plain language is usually the best way.

3. Broadcast your achievements

Use your community blog or newsletter to let residents know what a great job you’re doing. Share good news about building improvements and upgrades—the freshly painted lobby, blooming garden, new hallway carpet—anything that residents will appreciate. Making the news public shows your commitment to open communication as well as your responsiveness to property maintenance.

4. Plan ahead

Map out a yearly timeline in your plan for communicating with residents and owners. Monthly meetings, calendar events, regular maintenance procedures that require alert notices—anything with a clearly defined date can be scheduled ahead of time to be posted or sent automatically. Organize all notifications, announcements and communications in one place for a strong, unified sense of ownership. Post information on discussion boards to kickstart conversations between owners/residents and property management, the board, and each other. The open communication creates a positive feeling of community—notifications, events, news, and other updates can be shared among residents and owners quickly and easily.

5. Encourage feedback (and provide feedback channels)

Communication goes both ways. Make sure residents know that your property management team is available to hear their questions, comments or concerns. Arrange annual meetings with residents/owners to get feedback in person to better understand their priorities. You can also send out surveys (online, or printed) to track how satisfied residents are with the property management and to suggest areas for improvement.

6. Technology is your best buddy

Maintaining a good flow of communication is not easy, especially when you are dealing with a community of hundreds of residents. Luckily, we now live in a world where you can even feed your dog through a smartphone. Take advantage of technology. Make it your best buddy to help you communicate better with your residents. (Shameless plug coming) A community management platform like Evercondo helps you send emails, SMS, push notification and voice broadcasts to your residents in just a few clicks.

Do you have any other communication tips for property managers? If so, let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Evercondo the leading web and mobile platform that facilitates quick, useful communication between property managers, the condo association or HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a demonstration or a free trial to see how we can keep your communities happy.