From collecting dues and paying staff to staying on top of local compliance and regulation, a property manager is often the first point of contact for issues, support needs, and regular maintenance.
There are several core responsibilities within the scope of a typical property manager’s services that you should consider if you are determining whether your building should hire a property manager or when you are evaluating the performance of your current property manager. Those responsibilities range from leading daily triage to leading a building through improvements and future plans.
Manage the day-to-day
A property manager should be on top of all of the routine maintenance needs of a building including: regular cleaning, putting out garbage and recycling, coordinating repairs, collecting HOA dues and fees, and managing and paying building staff and contractors.
On top of the routine scheduled work, a property manager is often the central contact for residents and the board when there is a problem, question, or feedback. They triage inbound requests and issues flagged by the residents and should be expected to respond in a timely fashion. They also raise any critical issues or patterns with the building board so that the board has visibility or can approve decisions.
In addition to the day-to-day needs of a building, larger projects can arise. For instance, if a leak is discovered or the elevator needs to be replaced, the property manager can be expected to help lead the project from start to finish.
At the outset, this includes using their experience to help set expectations with the building on how to approach the project and cost ranges, identifying potential vendors for the job, gathering bids, and engaging with the chosen vendor. If the building cannot or elects not to cover the project cost with reserves, the property manager also works with the board to understand options and get approval for the path forward—such as the building securing a loan or issuing a special assessment to cover the work.
Once the project has begun, they can act as the project manager, coordinating with the vendor to get them appropriate access, scheduling the work, and following up on the work. They also communicate with the building residents on any impact of the work and with the board on status updates. Once the project is finalized, the property manager gets proof of work and finalizes payment with the vendor(s) on behalf of the building.
While most property managers for condos, co-ops, and HOAs are not typically responsible for filling vacancies and rentals, owners do rent out their units and eventually sell to new buyers. A condo or co-op property manager is still responsible for communicating and coordinating with all of the residents—owner or renter—in a building as well as supporting the smooth transaction of a sale and transition to a new owner. This includes ensuring move-ins and move-outs follow house rules, maintaining an up-to-date building contact list, and providing necessary documentation to support a sale (for instance, meeting minutes and financials may be requested with board approval). This also includes collecting applications for new residents and owners and reviewing them with the board for approval.
Keep up with compliance and regulation
Your property manager should be knowledgeable in local laws and regulations, such as landlord-tenant laws or disclosure requirements at a sale, and can be expected to follow these laws and regulations to avoid any problems with the building. They also support boards with required governance, such as ensuring the building has budgeted and paid for directors & officers insurance, general building insurance, and with annual tax filings.
They are also responsible for ensuring that the building is in compliance and has safe standing with local requirements—such as maintaining up-to-date inspections and required postings for the building. For instance, in New York City, different types of buildings are required to submit inspections for gas, boilers, fire sprinklers, and elevators at regular intervals or risk fines as well as general safety hazards.
Ensuring a building’s finances are healthy go beyond setting up payments in and out. In addition to collecting HOA dues and managing payments to vendors and contractors, a property manager should work with the board to establish an annual operating budget, advise on healthy reserve targets, and notify the board if things are not tracking to the plan. They help provide the board with a solid understanding of the building’s profit and loss and provide their expertise to support financial planning for upcoming projects and repairs that may go beyond what the reserve can cover.
Does this look like a lot of responsibilities? That’s because it is. Each of these responsibilities is critical to the healthy operations of a building. As the operating system for buildings, Super’s software platform helps property managers, boards, and residents streamline tasks and enhance transparency and accountability.
Super’s two co-founders were featured by Her Forward about their entrepreneurial successes and the strategies that got them there.
A step-by-step guide for building owners in New York City on how to navigate new energy efficiency laws Local Law 97 and beyond.