How to Keep Homeowners from Interfering with HOA Service Vendors

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We all know that whenever a vendor is on-site to address an HOA issue, certain homeowners like to take advantage of the opportunity to add their two cents about other things around the community, or even their own property, that the vendor could address “just so long as they’re in the area.” This is a frustrating experience for both the vendor as well as the property management companies, who have both estimated a certain amount of time and price for a certain amount of work. Homeowners want their concerns heard about what needs to be addressed in their community, and vendors want to be able to devote the attention each problem deserves without having to be put on the spot suddenly for a project they didn’t anticipate- however minor. In order to strike a balance that’s fair for both, we suggest employing the following tips:

1. Give homeowners the opportunity to contribute to the work order request process 
Have a process for collecting homeowner suggestions for what needs to be serviced in your community. Email, suggestion boxes, regular meetings, or even an online web form can go a long way in making homeowners feel like they have a voice in improving their communities.
2. Create a written protocol for vendor communication
The Vendor Communication Protocol should include not just how homeowners interface with vendors and professionals, but also how the board and management should as well. Take suggestions for what the protocol should be, and get public input so people know why it’s being created. Some good rules to include are that homeowners may not ask vendors to perform additional work when on-site, and that homeowners association are not allowed to change the scope of work for a project without prior approval from the board. Once it’s been written, make sure vendors and homeowners each have a copy. You’ll always get people who are compelled to act on their own, but now at least you can refer them back to the protocol and explain that keeping communications streamlined saves the association money.
3. Adhere to a Maintenance Request Process
Vendors need to understand, as do all unit owners, that requests for maintenance need to go through a particular channel. Otherwise there’s a loss of control by the board and frustration on all sides. The Management Trust Trusted Partners Program helps to ensure that vendors have a clear understanding of the scope of work that needs to be done, what the timeline for completion is, and how and when they will get paid on it. It helps to keep everyone on the same page.
This article is provided by The Management Trust.