In the News

Lakes can become liabilities if not maintained

The   prospect of a nice home situated on a lake in a suburban community is very   appealing to prospective buyers. In many communities, the lakes continue to   be an attractive feature as residents or homeowners associations diligently   maintain the shared amenity. In other neighborhoods, what once was an asset has   become an eyesore and a liability, for a variety of reasons. U.S.   Environmental Protection Agency regulations now require on-site retention of   stormwater, making the lakes more than just an amenity.

Lawyer: Association reserves benefit community
Condo buyers should make sure the community association has reserve funds, lawyer Donna Berger writes. Although some homeowners are wary of a large sum of money in the hands of association board members, having the funds to cover unexpected costs not only can save a community in a challenging time, but it can make the community more appealing to potential buyers. Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)/Condos and HOAs blog

Seeking out and engaging new community association leaders

Perhaps you’re tired of seeing the same old faces sitting up at the front of the room at board and membership meetings. Maybe you own one of those faces and are tired of being up there, waiting for reinforcements to come in. We all recognize that an infusion of new energy, ideas and talent can stimulate any organization whether it’s a business, a sports team or even a community association. The real question is: How do you attract that new talent? Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)/Condos and HOAs blog

Community Association Management SmartBrief

Have you signed up for Community Association Management SmartBrief yet? A few weeks ago, NBC-CAM launched a free, weekly e-mail newsbrief specifically designed for community association managers. Sign up here.  Almost 3,000 of your CMCA colleagues have subscribed already.

This complimentary resource is aimed at bringing you a quick, two-minute read that will help you keep up-to-date with the latest news and trends in our profession. SmartBrief will provide short summaries of the news articles that will be of interest to you as a community association manager. We know it will save you time, keep you informed and add to your success. I hope you will subscribe.

Last week’s issue had an interesting article from about diffusing complaints: Listening, refusing to engage in a fight and being willing to take a complaint to a higher authority are among the first steps in dealing with an unhappy client, writes Matthew Swyers. Other tips: Put yourself in the person’s place and offer empathy, work to resolve the issue and conclude your actions with a summary e-mail. Sign up here to get the full story.

A Reporter Calls: Part 1

Frank Rathbun, VP of Communications and Marketing at CAI put together an excellent set of guidelines for when you’re contacted by the media.  Use these helpful tips:

  • First things first: Get the full name of the reporter and get his or her phone number and e-mail address. Make sure you identify the news outlet.
  • Be friendly and respectful. Don’t convey a tone that indicates defensiveness, anger or guilt.
  • Ask:  What’s your deadline? What’s the story about? Don’t hesitate to probe if the initial answer is vague. What prompted your interest in this story? Have you interviewed others for the story or do you plan to do so? Who? Have you covered community association issues before?
  • Once you have a sense of the particulars, especially if you think this could be a difficult interview, tell the reporter you will call him or her back—even if that’s in 10 minutes. Take whatever time you have to gather your thoughts, anticipate questions, collect information, talk to others, and develop a few basic message points. Have your key points in front of you when you call the reporter back.
  • Be sure to get the person most qualified to address this particular topic. Don’t hesitate to ask an “expert” to join you, e.g., an attorney for legal issues or your accountant for financial questions.
  • Make sure the reporter knows whether you’re speaking for yourself, on behalf of the association or the board or some other entity.
  • Never lie or mislead, and don’t try to answer a question for which you don’t know the answer. Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know the answer, and don’t speculate. Offer to try to find the answer and promise to get back to the reporter.
  • If you think you’ve misstated something, don’t hesitate to say so and clarify the point.
  • Don’t assume the reporter knows anything. For instance, reporters who haven’t covered associations may not know that board members are elected by their fellow homeowners.
  • Not matter how knowledgeable the reporter seems to be, speak slowly in short and concise sentences. Remember, the reporter is taking notes and will write the story based on those notes.  Also remember that you’re really talking to the reader or listener. Avoid industry jargon.
  • Don’t get sidetracked or ramble. Answer each question, convey the points you need to make and stop. Some reporters will use the discomfort of silence to keep you talking.
  • Without being evasive, use the reporter’s questions to “bridge” to the messages you need to convey. Don’t hesitate to restate your key points.
  • As a general rule, do not go “off the record,” and definitely don’t do so unless you know and trust the reporter. If you feel the need to do so, always ask if that’s acceptable and make sure the reporter acknowledges that before you divulge that information. State when you’re back on the record.
  • Send an email to the reporter following the interview, restating your key points and providing other background information that reinforces your key points.

See what you’ve missed!

Have you signed up for the Community Association Management Smartbrief yet?  If you haven’t, here’s a little of what you’ve missed:

Miss. HOA heads to court over right to ban rentals — The Northbay homeowners association in Madison, Miss., along with the support of Madison Organization of Neighborhood Associations, is seeking court backing to enforce its ban on rental homes. “Rental properties are often not adequately maintained and degrading to the neighborhood. … We believe this issue is important to all neighborhoods in Madison. MONA has long supported any covenant that increases the value of property, which we think this one does,” MONA Chairman Carl Crawford says. Read the full article.

What do to when the customer isn’t right — What do you do when a customer is convinced he’s right, but isn’t? Cabinet-maker Paul Downs writes that he had to answer that question when a large client wanted an expensive repair to a table the client had damaged. Downs outlines his strategy for keeping customers happy while preventing costly mistakes.  Read the full article.

How a leader resolves problems— Problems are sure to arise in any small organization, but how a boss resolves them can either make or break the situation. A leader should be direct and clear about their desires, rely on partners for support and remain consistent in order to get a good outcome for a problematic situation.  Read the full article.

This complimentary resource is aimed at bringing you a quick, two-minute read that will help you keep up-to-date with the latest news and trends in our profession. Community Association Management Smartbrief will provide short summaries of the news articles that will be of interest to you as a community association manager. Sign up here to get the full stories.

Promote your CMCA Tip #7

Use this sample message to customize letters or e-mails to communities in your area about your CMCA credential. Prospective clients will appreciate periodic messages from you with industry information that can help them succeed. Copy, paste, customize and send the below message to prospective clients.

Subject line: Invested Together

Dear [prospective client name]:

As a board member, trustee or volunteer leader working with your homeowners association, condominium association or cooperative, your decisions can have a profound financial impact. Professional guidance can make the difference between prosperity and distress for yourself and your neighbors.

To ensure that you have the expert guidance you need to manage your community’s assets, look for managers who have earned the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA®) credential.

The CMCA certification provides standards for association management that can give homeowners and boards confidence in their manager’s knowledge and ability to provide professional service. It is the only worldwide certification program designed exclusively for community association managers.

As a CMCA, I have demonstrated the fundamental knowledge needed to manage your association. As part of my part of my commitment to maintaining my CMCA, I must uphold the ethical standards for community association management and continue to educate myself on the issues we face every day.

If you are looking for a qualified manager, I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about how I can help your community. Please contact me for more information how I can provide you with the professional service you deserve.

Best Regards,

[Your signature and contact information]

U.S. Community Association Data

As you know, community associations have become increasingly popular because they help protect home values and help meet increased demand for privatization of services as public officials off-load services that were traditionally provided by government, e.g., trash pickup, snow removal, landscaping, street lighting and street and sidewalk maintenance.  Below are the most recent industry statistics.

Estimated number of association-governed communities and individual housing units and residents within those communities:



Housing Units





2.1 million



3.6 million

9.6 million



11.6 million

29.6 million



17.8 million

45.2 million



19.2 million

48.0 million



20.8 million

51.8 million



23.1 million

57.0 million



24.1 million

59.5 million



24.8 million

62.0 million



25.1 million

62.3 million

Association-governed communities include homeowners associations, condominiums, cooperatives and other planned communities. Homeowners associations and other planned communities currently account for 52-55% of the totals above, condominiums for 38-42% and cooperatives for 5-7%.

Estimated number of community association managers:  60,000.

Estimated number of community association management companies: 10,000.

Almost two million people serve on community association governing boards, with almost 400,000 more involved as committee members. Assuming the typical board or committee member spends just one hour a week on association business—and for most it’s much more than that—these volunteer leaders dedicate more than 110 million hours of service to their communities every year. Combined, the estimated value of these community association governance services is about $450 million.

An estimated four out of five housing starts since 2000 have been in association-governed communities, including condominiums converted from existing rental units.

The value of the homes in all community associations is estimated at $4 trillion, approximately 20 percent of the value of allU.S.residential real estate.

Estimated annual operating revenue for U.S. community associations is close to $40 billion. Community and condominium association boards also maintain investment accounts of more than $35 billion for the long-term maintenance and replacement of common property, e.g., roads, swimming pools, structures and elevators.

The estimates provided above for associations are derived from U.S. Census publications, the American Housing Survey, IRS Statistics of Income Reports, consultation with CAI professional members and state-specific data from California and Florida and related trade organizations.

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