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New Guide Helps Volunteers Who Manage Community Associations

5/4/2000  -  Alexandria, VA

A surprising number of volunteers are managing their community associations in addition to serving on the Boards of those associations. Most of these people are untrained in property management, but volunteer their time because their association is too small, their resources too limited, or because there just simply are not enough professional property managers for the ever-increasing number of community associations. Now there's help in one handy guide that provides an overview of what and who they need know and how to comply with the many laws and ordinances that affect them.

The Community Associations Press, a division of the Community Association Institute (CAI), has published Self-Management: A Guide for the Small Community Association. In it, Ellen Hirsch de Haan, a well-known community association attorney, has pulled together some of the industry's leading experts in all areas of homeowner association management to contribute their expertise. "This is the only place I know of where a volunteer can find a basic overview of just about everything they need to know to run their association from day to day," said de Haan.

There are over 200,000 community associations in the U.S. and each year 6,000 to 8,000 new ones are formed. This rate of growth is outpacing the property management industry. Self-management is the only option for many associations, especially the smaller or newly created associations. But the people who undertake the role are sometimes at risk. Although competent, some may not realize the scope of the task nor have the expertise they need. "These volunteers have a tremendous responsibility—they not only set policy as Board members, but they also have to implement it on a daily basis as managers," said Barbara Byrd Keenan, president of CAI. "In addition, most of them have regular careers they have to tend to while taking care of their communities. This is the perfect book for these busy people."

Self-Management: A Guide for the Small Community Association provides excellent advice on how to work with certain professionals like accountants and attorneys. It covers financial issues including reserves, assessments, insurance, and budgeting. It provides information on practical, everyday needs like maintenance, conducting meetings, and communications. Perhaps of particular interest to the volunteer are the chapters on complying with the law. Fair debt collection, fair housing, and FCC rules can be serious problems for the uninformed volunteer manager. These chapters provide invaluable information on the basics in each of these areas.

Community Associations Press is the publishing division of the Community Associations Institute which is a nonprofit association created in 1973 to educate and represent the nation's 205,000 community associations—condominium associations, homeowner associations and cooperatives. CAI members include homeowners, associations and related professionals and service providers.

Self-Management: A Guide for the Small Community Association is available for $50 by calling (703) 548-8600, or by visiting CAI's Web site. Members of CAI receive a 40 percent discount.

Phone: 703-970-9235