Whether change is good or bad often depends on who you talk to; even a welcome change produces a certain level of stress and adjustment. Personal changes are challenging enough, but for community association residents, a board decision to change association managers or firms will quite literally hit home. Even if a board has done adequate research, and the change is for the better, adjustments will still be required. By the same token, if a board has done less than satisfactory due diligence, there will almost certainly be unnecessary and unwanted chaos, as well as possible financial ramifications.
Breaking Up is Hard to Do
Experts agree that changes in association management is a common occurrence for boards. Every board has its reason for deciding to see other people, but there are a few recurring issues the pros list as red flags.
“The biggest three complaints we hear when we are taking over a site are lack of response from the manager, a weak accounting department and back office, and lack of leadership from the manager and supporting upper management,” says Brian Weaver, vice president of Wilkin Management Group, Inc. in Mahwah.
Cutting costs in another leading factor for boards seeking new management, says Elaine Warga-Murray, CEO and the managing partner of Regency Management Group, LLC in Howell, New Jersey. “Unfortunately, in this economy sometimes, building owners or the board will change managers or management firms based on trying to get someone to do the job for less money,” she says. “That reasoning generally backfires, and creates much more upheaval in the community or building than anticipated.”
Despite all the issue boards might face with managers or a management company, surprisingly, it is common for them to not share complaints, Warga-Murray continues. “It has been my experience that often boards are reluctant to communicate to a management firm that they are unhappy with a manager and ask for a change, and simply decide to change firms,” she says.