Property Management During Covid -19
These are trying times indeed! Due to the nation-wide pandemic, state mandated stay-at-home orders continue to be extended with no definitive end in sight. We are faced with many challenges due to this crisis:
- Residents are finding that it can be difficult maintaining physical distancing while in elevators, stair wells, and common hallways.
- Many communities have established requirements that masks and gloves be worn at all times when in common areas.
- Residents have been asked (and in some cases required) to limit visitations by non-residents, put non-essential interior unit repairs on hold, and require deliveries be left in foyers or entryways vs. being delivered to the units.
- The Use of common area amenities such as clubhouses and fitness rooms have been restricted or eliminated.
- Communities with Swimming Pools face the uncertainty of whether they will be able to open the pool(s) for the season.
As we all navigate these “new normal” challenges, many positive opportunities have also been realized:
- Property Managers and Trustees are learning and utilizing new technologies to hold meetings (video conferencing and conference calling) to ensure the continued maintenance and operation of their communities.
- Exterior maintenance and repairs projects can be undertaken with less disruption to residents due to residents saying home.
- Residents are becoming more aware of their surroundings and how their actions and behaviors effect their neighbors.
This pandemic will not last forever but, hopefully, the lessons we learn through this will.
Most condominium Unit Owners feel that what they do within the walls of their unit is nobody’s business but their own, and to an extent they are correct. The Association, however, is responsibility for maintaining the common elements within the community which can often be affected by “in-unit” work.
Below are several scenarios to consider:
- A contractor installing a sink accidentally damages a shared water line which then floods multiple units.
- Plumbing work within a unit requires the water to be shut off within the building while a repair is made effecting all residents.
- A painter drops a can of paint which explodes all throughout the common hallway.
- A window installer tramples and kills the common landscaping, shrubbery and flowers beneath a window.
As benign as all these projects appear, within each of these scenarios there is a great impact on other residents as well as the common elements.
For these reasons, it is important to notify your Trustees and/or Managing agent so they can ensure that the contractors working within the community are licensed (when necessary) and insured.
Goldilocks had the right idea!
She knew that it was important to find just the right fit for her; whether it was her love for a comfy bed or the temperature of her dinner. Finding the right Property Management Company for your community requires this same important consideration.
Many management companies are owned and operated by national corporations and operate as branch locations for these large corporations or are so vast as to manage properties from Pittsfield to Providence to Portsmouth.
Since 1973, Crowninshield Management has been specializing in Condominium, Apartment and Commercial property management throughout the North Shore and Southern New Hampshire. We choose to focus on this geographical service area to optimize the quality of service we can provide to our clients.
If your current management company treats you like just another drop in the ocean, contact Crowninshield and see the difference a privately-owned firm focused on personal, attentive service to our clients can mean to your community.
If your community’s fiscal year ends on December 31st, it should come as no surprise that soon your Community Manager and Board Trustees will begin planning for next year’s budget.
The preparation of an association’s budget is a detailed and lengthy process. They have a lot of work ahead of them. Over the next few months, managers will be tackling the process outlined below:
- Analyze each current expenditure line item to determine the correct level of funding. This process must consider fixed expenses such as multi year service contracts; variable expenses such as increased master insurance premiums, increases in utility costs, and so forth. This can be a time-consuming process which entails communicating with various municipalities, vendors, and contracts to determine if any cost increases are to be expected.
- Determine the appropriate Reserve Funding expense. A recent reserve study is an invaluable tool to help your community determine this expense and stay on track with the appropriate level of funding for future capital expense needs.
- Determine income level to fund expenses. Association fees, special assessments, late fee income, income from late fees, storage fees, parking fees, and laundry room income are all examples of income for communities. Your community may use any, some or all these methods to collect income, but which should be “budgeted”?
Association fees and assessments are legally protected and should be included as should any other fees provided for within the governing documents. Fees such as late fees, fines and laundry room income should not be included as income in a budget as funds generated from these fees may never be realized.
- Determine the difference between the budgeted income and budgeted expense. If the total expenses exceed anticipated income, adjustments will need to be made.
- Establish a balanced budget. This may be achieved by either raising the income level (this can be done through an increase in assessments, establishment of a special assessment to meet funding needs, or a combination of both to achieve the amount required) or re-assess expenditure line items to determine if some items may be reduced or eliminated from the budget.
As you can see, the process for creating a thorough and detailed budget can be complicated and should simply rely upon a percentage increase across the board. If your current Management Company is not providing this detail for you, perhaps it’s time for you to give us a call.
Exciting things are happening at Crowninshield Management and we want to share some important news with you! Loyalty from clients like you has fueled our growth and assisted to increase our presence as the North Shore’s premiere Property Management Company.
It has been two years in the making and now Crowninshield is proud to announce that we have purchased the building located at 9 Atlantic Avenue Marblehead, MA 01945 and will be moving to this new location on June 24, 2019.
This new location offers larger floor space and room for growth, more comfortable furnishings, private gated parking area, and is located in the heart of beautiful downtown Marblehead.
Please update our mailing address in your files. Our contact numbers will remain the same and you can continue to email us at the Crowninshield email you have on file.
We are excited about the future of Crowninshield and we hope you are too!
The Myth of Maintenance Free Living
“Buy a condo, you’ll never have to worry about anything again”, they said……and so a myth was born.
While it is true that you may not have to mow the lawn or paint the siding, maintenance responsibilities still remain with you when you purchase a condominium. Interior plumbing, appliance repair, smoke detector batteries and in unit extermination are just a few items which may still be the responsibility of the unit owner.
This is why it is so important to read your governing documents (Master Deed, Declaration of Trust, Bylaws, and Rules and Regulations). Contained within these documents you will find a description of Common Elements (those elements for which the maintenance responsibility is that of the Association) and a description of the Units. The Unit description outlines the items that the Owner is responsible for maintaining which can often include items such as doors, windows and screens.
A well informed Unit Owner will know when to call their own plumber and when to report a common element leak – saving precious time in the event of a water loss and damage.
Please take the time to thoroughly review your Association’s Governing Documents and don’t hesitate to ask your Property Manager if you have questions.