The Difference Between HOA Management and Property Management

We receive a lot of inquiries from people looking for property managers in Tacoma, and we hear the terms “HOA management” and “property management” used interchangeably. However, community association management and property management are not the same. If you’re starting the search for a reliable Tacoma HOA management company, it’s crucial that you know the difference between an HOA management firm and HOA property management.

What is an HOA management company?

A Homeowners Association is run by volunteer homeowners who sit on a board of directors. They often hire a community association management firm to ensure that the community association is well cared for. While the HOA board is still the ultimate decision-maker in the community, creating policies and maintaining values, the HOA management company effectively executes the board’s decisions while ensuring residents’ happiness and satisfaction. The community association management firm will perform designated administrative tasks, including answering homeowner inquiries, vetting, scheduling vendors, and collecting dues from residents. Some management firms like The Management Trust also offer comprehensive HOA financial management, including tax filing assistance, annual budget preparation, vendor billings, audit coordination, and much more. HOA management companies generally help ease the burden of HOA board members and ensure that every aspect of their HOA’s daily operations is met. 

What is HOA property management?

Although they sound similar, property management differs from community association management in key ways, even if the properties being managed lie within an HOA. Property management companies are hired by corporations or private homeowners to oversee properties that they are renting or leasing, in order to ensure that everything is running smoothly. A property manager’s responsibilities include liaising with the tenants and landlord, sourcing local vendors for the tenant, responding to urgent repair needs themselves, and generally overseeing the property’s wellbeing. They may or may not work with the HOA board, but ultimately their client is the private homeowner. 

What are the key differences?

One main difference between an HOA management company and a property management company is their client. Community association management firms work exclusively for homeowners associations and report to their board. Property management companies, by contrast, work for private companies or individuals who are renting their home, regardless of whether it’s in an HOA. Property managers may represent one homeowner within the community or many, but they typically don’t work with the homeowners association itself.

Another key difference is their level of power. Property managers will have access to their designated property and likely a certain amount of power when it comes to the current tenant, but they have no power when it comes to the larger community the property resides in. They will have to follow the same rules and regulations for the property as every other resident, and they cannot enforce rules against other residents. An HOA management firm, on the other hand, is hired by the HOA board to help enforce rules and run day-to-day operations within the community. This means that they’ll be able to enforce rules, collect dues, and take care of common areas.

If you’re a homeowner in need of someone that will look after your rental property, then HOA property management is for you. However, if you’re an HOA board in need of greater assistance across several aspects of your HOA’s operations, you need community association management. HOA management companies like The Management Trust will provide you with everything from legal advice to common area maintenance and HOA financial management. Whatever you need, we’re here to help and enable your Tacoma, Washington community association’s success. To find out more about our comprehensive HOA management services, give The Management Trust a call at (253) 472-0825 or fill out our online contact form today.