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Subject: Performance Issues?
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JenniferM16
(Ohio)

Posts:6


10/25/2018 9:22 AM  
All,

I am a property manager in Tennessee. Recently, I was in a meeting and happened to look at one of the board members notes, which stated "call "management company" to speak about property managers performance". This really struck me, as I have been managing this condominium unit for three years now, always got along great with the board, answer my phone at all times of the night with president, no communication issues (that I know of). They have never brought up performance issues with me. I know that a year ago, A board member was upset that I hadn't answered an email the same day, instead, I did not answer it until two days later. This led them to say I am "off and on, and sometimes they get answers quickly and sometimes not". I have missed two meetings in the last three years, one being a landscape walk as I broke my toe on my daughters overboard the previous night, and the other because my daughter was sick. Mind you, they are aware their contract states bi-monthly meetings (and thats what they pay for) but I still try to make it a point to be at every single one of them.

This leads me to my first question for all of the board members and property managers on this forum, what is your rule of thumb for answering emails-is 48 hours just too long to respond? What about phone calls? I return within 48 hours as well, but mostly the same day unless I am swamped with meetings. Are they being unreasonable, or does my performance really not coincide with responsibility?

I did ask after the meeting ended, what that was about, and the board member wouldn't tell me. She just said, "well, we have issues with "management company" as a whole, it is not to bash you, although we do have some concerns". She would not tell me what those concerns were specifically on my. She was upset that the current owner bought the company 5 years ago, and other than an email, they have not met him. They also think he should be at every single meeting as well, because they heard other companies do that.

I guess my question is this-how would you handle this? How do all of you handle issues with your property manager? What are some of your expectations of your property manager? As an adult, I would much rather a board bring performance issues up to me, if we have a good relationship, rather than running to the owner of the company, who I will tell you right now, will divert back to me.

Would you think it is a fair solution to email the board and say, "I have a feeling you are not happy with my performance. While I would encourage you to call the owner of the company, I would also like to encourage you to speak directly with myself, so I can address any issue you may have immediately." (In better words of course, I don't have the bandwidth to write it all out now ) Of course, I am going to let my boss know as well, as I have no idea what they are having issues with, but its better he is not caught by surprise!
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5852


10/25/2018 10:21 AM  
Is this HOA your only account, Jennifer? Or is part of a portfolio? Put another way, can you estimate how much time you spend on this account per week? Do you have an office on the premises?
JenniferM16
(Ohio)

Posts:6


10/25/2018 10:31 AM  
No, I have about 16 other condominium associations that I manage....No office on site-but about 45 minutes away from complex. I only visit once per month (as stated in contract) and during that time, I will walk all rear and front buildings, streets etc). Winter is sometimes different, as I may drive for these inspections. I don't know if I can estimate hours per week...I probably work on something for them everyday, whether it be for an hour or a bit longer. This does not include meeting vendors on site.

BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:103


10/25/2018 10:45 AM  
It's always good to check in with the Board regularly, to make sure expectations are understood on both sides.

Regarding emails, I answer mine within 24 hours and would consider 48 hours a late response. However, I have learned not to answer them immediately, because if you do that, they come to expect it all the time, and answering five or six hours later becomes "too long".

16 properties is an enormous workload and kudos to you for staying on top of it. Being with the same property for three years is also an impressive consistency - I wonder if your board realizes how good they have it!

I would talk to my boss before approaching the board directly, particularly since one of the board's concerns is that they haven't heard from him.
JenniferM16
(Ohio)

Posts:6


10/25/2018 10:50 AM  
Thank you for that! I love hearing from other managers, as this is the only company I have worked for and I never know what other companies do! I think the trap I fall into, is if I don't know the answer to the email, I don't write them until I know. Perhaps simply saying, "I will research this and get back with you" is better than no response...
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3107


10/25/2018 11:15 AM  
I will respond to all emails by the end of a business day and sometimes weekends. It might not be the answer, but I will inform them I am in the process of researching.

16 properties is a lot, unfortunately, not uncommon.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:62


10/25/2018 12:06 PM  
Posted By JenniferM16 on 10/25/2018 10:50 AM
Thank you for that! I love hearing from other managers, as this is the only company I have worked for and I never know what other companies do! I think the trap I fall into, is if I don't know the answer to the email, I don't write them until I know. Perhaps simply saying, "I will research this and get back with you" is better than no response...




Board president here. Our property manager responds as soon as possible to urgent requests and within 48 hours to non-urgent items. I agree that a generic "I will get back to you" response is a good idea. Something that we've done is set up a auto-response on our board's email address (because people sometimes send us stuff that should go to the property manager). The auto-response states when the person can expect a response and directs them to an emergency number if they have an urgent issue. Short and sweet, and people don't feel that they're being ignored.

I also agree that it's necessary to set reasonable expectations for board members and homeowners. Different communities/boards have different needs and expectations; I find it helpful to have the occasional "are we on the same page?" discussion with our property manager to avoid hiccups.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2302


10/25/2018 1:01 PM  
When I was on the board (10 years with mine), our property manager had almost as many clients as you, so depending on the issue, answering within 48 hours by mail or phone is fine. At the very least, I like getting an acknowledgement that my email was received within 24 hours of it being sent (automatic replies are good that way). Our manager had my work phone number and email, as well as the personal stuff – my rule was to start with the home information unless it was an emergency, and never had a problem with her in that regard.

At that time, our newsletter also ran periodic articles on what the property manager can and can’t do, so people wouldn’t go yelling at her about something the board had to address. We also had a year-end survey where we would ask people how they felt about the property manager’s performance, with a space to describe specific problems. It was anonymous, so they could really cut loose if they wanted. However few people responded to the survey anyway – some people gave the property manager an average or below average rating, but never elaborated as to why, so we couldn’t respond. You might want to suggest the board conduct such a poll so you can see if there are any issues that need to be addressed.

We were fortunate in that we never had major problems with our property manager during my tenure. She retired just before I left the board and just as her predecessor did, she brought our current manager with her to some of our board meetings so she could meet everyone and see and hear for herself what our issues were. I agree that if one has a problem with another person, he/she should be adult enough to first address it with that person and if it doesn’t work, THEN you take it to a higher authority.

Unfortunately, there are people who won’t even go to their neighbors with an issue, but would rather complain to the board and have them deal with it because they don’t have the guts or maturity to do it themselves. I realize it can be a little dicey to talk to some people, but I usually start with treating people with respect and not yelling – I’ve been fortunate that works at least 80% of the time.
If you haven’t heard anyone else on the board complain, you’re probably ok. Unfortunately some people carry silly grudges for no reason at all – why would this board member still be honked off at something that happened a year ago, especially if the matter was resolved shortly thereafter? It may be the board member has also spoken to other homeowners who are concerned about something and are yelling at her, and so now she thinks there’s a problem.

I agree it would be helpful to ask the board president if the next meeting could include an agenda item where expectations can be discussed. Without singling out specific board members (they know who they are), you can start with an overview of how quickly you respond to homeowner inquiries and board member issues, and then ask is that is the understanding of the group. If not, encourage them to express their concerns – hopefully they will be specific. If this board member still keeps her mouth, there’s nothing you can do about that, but keep the lines of communication open. I think bringing along your supervisor to this meeting is a great idea, so he can hear what’s going on and also offer suggestions. Sometimes people have to hear the same thing from a higher up before they finally believe it.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:128


10/25/2018 1:34 PM  
Shelia makes some great points as does everyone else so far. I am sure you have heard the saying you are never going to make all of the people happy all of the time. Boards are no different. It is a group of individuals with different expectations.


I was the Treasurer for 4 years and then the President for the next 4 years. My attitude in the first position was not the same as President. I did expect more and quicker communications as President. I also expected to be called so any major issue all hours of the day or night if needed. I think part if the problem you are having is if all board members are overwhelming you with expectations that is unreasonable. If I were you I would say that the President should be copied on any communication other board members make to the PM. He or She needs to know what is being requested and asked for by the board. He also would know when PM response to those issues. They can also save you from needless tasks that they may be requesting.


16 properties is more than most PMs could handle. You need to explain to the board what a small slice of Pie they are getting and if they have an issue they should bring it to the MC. They can request more of your time. It may have to come with a higher fee from the MC.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:750


10/25/2018 3:48 PM  
Our Board has an expectation for returns on calls or texts by COB ... and within 24 hours on emails.

I consider 48 hours unacceptable.

That is far too many properties for a single person to manage. If it is an office with support, sure.
JenniferM16
(Ohio)

Posts:6


10/26/2018 5:28 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 10/25/2018 3:48 PM
Our Board has an expectation for returns on calls or texts by COB ... and within 24 hours on emails.

I consider 48 hours unacceptable.

That is far too many properties for a single person to manage. If it is an office with support, sure.







Thank you for your insight!
JenniferM16
(Ohio)

Posts:6


10/26/2018 5:29 AM  
Posted By BarbaraT1 on 10/25/2018 10:45 AM
It's always good to check in with the Board regularly, to make sure expectations are understood on both sides.

Regarding emails, I answer mine within 24 hours and would consider 48 hours a late response. However, I have learned not to answer them immediately, because if you do that, they come to expect it all the time, and answering five or six hours later becomes "too long".

16 properties is an enormous workload and kudos to you for staying on top of it. Being with the same property for three years is also an impressive consistency - I wonder if your board realizes how good they have it!

I would talk to my boss before approaching the board directly, particularly since one of the board's concerns is that they haven't heard from him.





Thank you!
JenniferM16
(Ohio)

Posts:6


10/26/2018 5:29 AM  
Thank you!
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:7820


10/26/2018 8:34 AM  
Jen

Request a sit down with the troublesome BOD and get things out on the table.
JohnS106
(New York)

Posts:2


10/29/2018 11:32 PM  
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