Differences Between Community Management Organizations & HOAs In 2023

Homeowners’ Associations, or HOAs, are non-profit groups staffed by volunteers that see to the various needs of their communities. This can include community maintenance, civic advocacy for community safety and well-being, and promoting neighborly familiarity.

Many neighborhoods owe their success as communities to well-run HOAs. Many of those well-run HOAs owe their success to community management organizations.

Though they are sometimes mistaken for one another, HOAs and community management organizations aren’t the same thing.

Community management organizations are closer to HOA management companies than they are to HOAs themselves. Here is more information about the differences between HOAs and community management organizations: 

The Roles of an HOA:

An HOA’s function is primarily to protect the property value of the neighborhood. An HOA can do this by assuming some property management responsibilities and addressing the maintenance of public or private spaces like lawns.

The HOA can also stipulate rules or guidelines for the use of those same areas. This might include regulations on how to use a community pool area, or when and how to put out trash for collection.

HOAs can also protect the community’s safety by lobbying the city for features like stop signs or speed limits in the neighborhood.

The HOA is responsible for including the entire community in its processes so that its actions reflect everyone’s wishes. This grants communities a degree of communal self-governance.

HOAs are made up of volunteer homeowners in a community who often have jobs and other obligations. These additional obligations can prevent HOA board members from giving all their time to their organization.

They also tend to be novices when it comes to community management procedures, as they may have jobs in entirely unrelated fields of work. Although their status as volunteer homeowners provides them with a unique insight into the needs of their community.

As board members, these volunteers can advocate for the changes they want to see in their communities. If other obligations prevent HOA board members from being as involved as they would like to be, a community management organization may be able to help. 

The Roles of Community Management Organizations:

Where HOAs are composed of and directed by members of the community, community management organizations come from outside the community. 

HOA management companies are a common example of professional community management organizations that are hired by HOAs. They fulfill some of the same responsibilities as HOAs, but bring more experience and resources to the role.

HOAs turn to these organizations to help lighten their workload or advise them on big decisions. Management companies can handle everyday tasks, while HOAs focus on community-specific needs. Some areas where a community management organization might step in include:

  • Financial Management: HOAs often collect fees to contribute to community projects and amenities. Managing these finances can be daunting, but professional financial management can alleviate that pressure.
  • Comprehensive Management: Many HOAs transfer the bulk of management responsibilities to the professional care of HOA management companies. This lets the HOA focus on hearing input from the community, which they pass to their management company for implementation.
  • On-Demand Consultation: Some HOAs only require the support and advisement of a community management organization on occasion. Some community management services provide services on an as-needed basis to HOA clients, providing advisement and support when it’s needed most.

HOAs & HOA Management Companies

While HOAs and community management services have significant differences between them, they are both organizations that work in service of their community.

HOAs can require a lot of time and effort on the part of their board members. In this case, community management organizations can step in and assist this group of volunteers with advice, management assistance, and more.