Fire Prevention Awareness

Fire Safety Tips for Your Home

As we head into cooler months and holidays, it is important to check the fire and CO2 alarms in your home to prevent emergencies, whether you live in a condominium or high-rise building. If you don’t have fire or CO2 alarms in your home, adding alarms can save lives and property. Check with your local fire department to conduct a free property evaluation survey. 

  1. Install the appropriate number of smoke alarms & CO2 alarms. Test alarms once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year.

  2. Check the expiration dates on your alarms, most devices expire after ten years.

  3. Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.

  4. Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home and know the family meeting spot outside of your home.

  5. Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure that all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another.

  6. Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year. Press the smoke alarm test button or yell “Fire“ to alert everyone that they must get out.

  7. Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.

  8. Teach household members to STOP, DROP, and ROLL if their clothes catch on fire.

(Source: From 7 Ways to Prepare for a Home Fire at RedCross.org)

For more helpful fire prevention tips for your home, condominium, or high-rise building, visit American Red Cross or National Fire Protection Association 

See how a professional property management company can help your community better prepare for any emergency with Community Management Associates, Georgia’s leading condominium and HOA management company with offices in Atlanta, Augusta. We have solutions to meet the needs of every community. Community Association Board of Directors can also find CMA offices in Birmingham, Fairhope, Destin, Naples, Santa Rosa Beach, & Nashville.       

How to Bring Your Neighborhood Together

A study by the General Social Survey claims that 33.33% of Americans have never interacted with their neighbors. This is an alarming increase compared to the data collected 40 years ago, in which the number was 25%.  With the emergence of social media apps like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, creating natural and personal connections can seem more challenging.

When homeowners feel disconnected from the neighborhood they are living in, they don’t feel the need to protect their community. This can hamper the reputation, growth and asset value of your HOA.

The onus lies on the Board of large HOAs to bring people residing in gated communities together by instilling within them a sense of belongingness.

What can you do to create a sense of community within a large HOA?

Here are some excellent ways to integrate your community by increasing homeowner participation. 

1. Organize events 

Community events are a great place for homeowners to mingle and get to know each other. You can hold events either on festive holidays or any other day of your choice. Having fun activities and functions that require group participation can help individuals interact and form connections. You can hold numerous events like bake sales, sports tournaments, community pool parties, movie nights and so much more. 

2. Create shared spaces 

Ensure that your community has ample common spaces for homeowners to meet and interact with each other informally, especially if you are a large HOA. Shared spaces can include recreational facilities like spas, theater, game rooms, gymnasiums, libraries, or sporting arenas. Allow residents to utilize these spaces for organizing events. 

3. Create channels for communication 

Create a group on WhatsApp, iMessage or any other app of your choice for homeowners to interact with each other and communicate their questions and grievances related to the community. Residents may take contact details of each other and create personal connections through such channels. 

4. Build a tradition 

Plan out annual traditions that homeowners are excited to attend. This could be anything from a yearly movie screening, a book fair, or a new year’s party. You can even make your community unique by creating special traditions such as sending cards to homeowners on their birthdays or having homeowners share their secret recipes. 

5. Have a welcoming committee for new homeowners 

This is a small gesture for new residents to feel welcome and participate in the association. You can either host an ice-breaking party or have a small group of people visit their home with goodies and welcome treats. 

6. Website

You can create an official website for your HOA to serve multiple purposes ranging from homeowner’s query forms to dispute resolutions, parking, club memberships or participation in festivities. You can even use the website to update homeowners about upcoming events and the regulations they need to abide by. This will restrict conflict among homeowners and increase community participation. 

Take the help of our community association managers at CMA to have homeowners feel invested and contribute to the overall success of your community. 

 

Condo Safety Resources

Condo Safety Resources

The recent incident of the Florida building collapse has left people in shock. Homeowners are beginning to question the safety of their own condos. As a result, they are now more willing to be proactive about their safety and security. Residents and homeowners want to take responsibility for their own well-being and ensure that no accidents happen. Every single community member needs to take the appropriate measures and participate in community building safety. Whether it is condo safety Atlanta or condo safety Augusta, everyone should take it seriously. 

Ask the important questions

While different states have put forth different clauses and requirements for building safety, some standard guidelines can be followed by everyone. Every community member, regardless of where they live, should ask the following questions:

  • What are the steps that have been taken to make the building safe?
  • How much investment has been made into safety equipment and protocols?
  • Is there a financial reserve plan for repairs and replacements?
  • Are the community guidelines updates regularly?
  • How often should professional engineers inspect the structural integrity of the buildings?
  • What are the resources set aside for any accidents?

What can you do?

As a homeowner, you do have a say in how the condo operates and you should utilize that power. 

  • Homeowners have to familiarise themselves with their rights and responsibilities. 
  • Attending board meetings is essential because it is the easiest way to convey your grievances to the condo committee with the support of other homeowners. You will have the stage to present your problems and fears openly. 
  • Do not ignore communication from the community and stay up to date with the latest developments.
  • Do not be afraid to ask questions during community events.
  • Be prepared to fund reserves for necessary replacements and repairs.

Do your research!

Being self-sufficient will help you take the best decisions for yourselves. You can do your research online or you can even ask the condo manager to provide you with resources that you can study. This will also encourage your neighbors to do the same and the management will go the extra mile to take proper safety measures. We have linked some resources for you below:

You can also access more resources here.

Responsibilities of the Board

Board members should keep an eye on the needs of the condo and take measures before it is too late. They should schedule inspections every other month to find out whether there are any structural problems that have to be resolved ahead of time. It is important to review the reserve plan and ensure its efficacy. The reserve funding plan should be implemented using the best practices. Being transparent about funding and resources with residents and homeowners will make the process smoother. Frequent communication is key. Formulating a disaster management plan can also prove to be helpful. 

Everyone deserves to feel safe in their own living space. Stay aware and take initiatives to secure your future. 

 

You’re a New Volunteer Neighborhood Board Member: 5 Things You Should Know

You’re a New Volunteer Neighborhood Board Member: 5 Things You Should Know

The neighborhood board requires active participation from members so that there is continuous improvement. If you have chosen to become a volunteer board member, you should know your duties and responsibilities clearly. It is important for you to be efficient at what you do and remain approachable to homeowners. 

These are the five things you should know as you accept this new role:

You cannot focus on personal interests

When you join the board, you will be subjected to a lot of different opinions. Homeowners and other board members will expect you to side with their personal interests. You have to remain as neutral as possible. You should focus on serving the best interests of the association as a whole. 

It will not be possible for you to cater to individual people. Be wise and use sound judgment to make the correct business decisions for the association based on the available resources and circumstances. 

You have to provide residents with participation opportunities 

Residents and homeowners will be more willing to participate in the community and work together if they feel included in the board decisions. Give them a chance to comment on the matters facing the board so that they feel valued. 

You can organize events for residents where they can participate and have an open discussion without any bias. Suppressing someone’s opinions directly can lead to backlash for you.

You cannot accept gifts from residents

With great power comes great responsibility. As a board member, you will have the ability to take decisions that affect the entire community. It is likely that you will have residents coming to you for support. They might even offer you some gifts in exchange for your help. 

However, it is unethical for you to accept any direct or indirect gifts from residents, vendors and owners. It can be seen as bribery since you are in a position of power. You must politely decline any gifts that come your way.

Always stand by the board

There will be times when you might not fully agree with the decision of the board. You might be in the minority in regards to a particular action. However, you always have to speak in support of the board. You have to uphold the singular voice of the board to avoid confusion. You have to accept all the duly-adopted board decisions even if you have personal objections.

You cannot engage in any personal attacks

Maintaining composure and being charismatic will help you a good board member. You cannot engage in personal attack or issue threats to get your away. You have to follow the code of conduct with residents, owners and other board members. 

Also be particular about maintaining confidentiality of the board meetings. Leaking information without the permission of the board can lead to penalty.

You have to remember that you are accepting responsibility when you become a voluntary board member and remain committed to it. Property management Atlanta expects voluntary board members to be ethical and efficient. 

Best practices for building community with neighborhood social events (during and post COVID)

The pandemic has not only affected the mental and physical health of millions of people worldwide but also considerably weakened our sense of community by limiting our social interactions. Although people have continued to remain in touch virtually, there is no substitute for actual human gathering to foster a sense of togetherness within a community. 

Neighborhood social events you can organize to build community within your HOA

Social events and activities go a long way in bringing people together. Here are a few ideas for events you can conduct within your community while maintaining appropriate COVID-19 protocol. 

1. Community BBQ 

There is nothing like a good BBQ to celebrate the resuming of regular activities after a year-long pause. Since BBQs are open-air, the chances of contamination are a lot less. Residents may use their own plates and cutlery and take care of disposing of them too. They can take out mats or even set up individual grills in their backyard. 

2. Outdoor movie night 

Set up a screen or a projector by your community’s ground or poolside and ask residents to maintain social distancing norms while enjoying a movie together. 

3. Arrange for community drives

You can schedule drives to a nearby waterfall, hill or any scenic attraction by asking residents to take their vehicles together. Residents can even choose to decorate their cars based on a common theme. This will be a great way to have fun together while maintaining social distancing. 

4. Organize game nights through video conferencing 

Thanks to technology, you can still enjoy the thrill of a game night while maintaining social distancing. Ask residents to join in on a Zoom call to conduct quizzes and fun contests or catch up with each other’s lives. 

5. Organize a photo scavenger hunt

Since coronavirus norms won’t allow you to get together and enjoy a good-old scavenger hunt freely, you can instead conduct a photo scavenger hunt. This will require you to give out a list of things on your community Facebook page or social media group. As residents come across these items on your community campus or even unique objects inside their own homes, they can post a picture of it and tag you. 

6. Organize community gift exchanges 

This can be an exciting way for residents to feel a sense of belongingness to their neighborhood community. Get residents to exchange small surprise gifts with each other through shipping or mail. You can even ask them to leave the gifts by each other’s doors. 

7. Create groups online

Create groups on social media apps for residents to connect and stay updated on each other’s health and general well-being. They can even post selfies, photos or share memories on these groups to keep in touch. 

When it comes to restricting the spread of the deadly Coronavirus inside your community, HOAs have a lot on their shoulders. Feel free to take the help of our community association managers and community leaders to help you conduct social neighborhood events safely amidst the pandemic and well into the future.  

Tips for Nuisance Neighbors

Tips for Nuisance Neighbors

Nobody wants to deal with nuisance neighbors after coming home after a hard day of work. Nuisance neighbors can have many adverse effects on the quality of your life. Noisy neighbors, for example, can disrupt your day by being too loud and invasive. A study found that being annoyed by neighbor noise can cause physical and mental ailments in people. 

If you want some how-to-deal with-nuisance-neighbor tips, we here at CMA have you covered. You can use any of the following suggestions to handle your uncooperative neighbors.

Soundproofing

If your neighbors make too much noise and you want to deal with the disturbance without a confrontation, then you can look into sound-proofing your place. You do not have to invest a lot of money; a little insulation will go a long way in helping you. You can even DIY some soundproofing tools and seals. If your neighbors live beneath you, use some heavy rugs so that there are some extra layers for the noise to travel through. 

Have a patient conversation

It is easy to get enraged when your neighbors are being inconsiderate but sometimes you have to calm down in order to deal with the situation effectively. Conveying your problems to your neighbors patiently is important. Unless your neighbors are deliberately going out of your way to irritate you, they will be willing to hear you out. Instead of taking a hot-headed approach, remain calm and explain how the noise is making your life difficult. Tell them about your daily schedule if they tend to make noise at inconvenient times. 

Write a note

In case you do not feel comfortable confronting your neighbor directly, you can write an old-school note or letter of complaint. Remember to sign the note with your name and apartment number so that the reader takes it seriously. Be cordial but detailed in your complaint. Your neighbor will approach you if necessary after reading the note. You can also choose to remain anonymous, but that might not be as effective.

Opt for light background noise

If you feel distracted because of your neighbors talking or making noise, you can set up your own background noise in your space. This will help you stay focused because the external noise will be drowned out. You can invest in a white noise machine, or simply keep your radio or television switched on at a low volume.

Keep a record of the problems

Once you find that your neighbors are not trying to be better, it is time for you to maintain a meticulous record of all their nuisance acts. Keep a timeline of every measure you have taken to deal with the problem. You can also go the extra mile and record the disturbance caused by your neighbor. 

Approach management

You have to secure backup when dealing with uncooperative clients. Approach the management and explain your problem. You can also provide them with the records you have maintained to back up your claims. 

Opting for the best property management Atlanta services will give you an upper hand when dealing with nuisance neighbors. 

What Makes CMA a Great Place to Work?

Community Management Associates (CMA) is a company that contributes towards regenerating residential communities by efficiently allocating resources in this growing age of modernization.  If you wish to contribute to this new-age transformation of residential communities, join CMA as a association manager and boost your community association career today. 

The company’s background 

Dan Henning and Dennis Hoffman established CMA in 1989. What started as a company with 7 Associations and only four employees, is now a full-scale enterprise with over 900 Associations located throughout the southeastern United States. CMA runs its operations in   Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina. The company currently has around 150 state-licensed association managers working across the United States. 

Why should you work for CMA?

CMA has made its mark as a distinguished leader in association management for the past 30 years. When it comes to property management careers in Atlanta, CMA is one of the most lucrative places to work. 

Robust credentials 

CMA is a part of the Community Associations Institute, Chamber of Commerce and other licensing entities in the southeastern United States. CMA has also been ranked as the top association management firm in Atlanta by the Atlanta Business Chronicle for 16 years consecutively. 

Employee benefits 

CMA employees boast of the benefits that they receive from their company. Some of these are:

  • Medical/Vision/Dental
  • Life & Disability Insurance
  • Flexible Paid Time Off
  • Volunteer Time Off
  • Company Sponsored 401K 

Excellent work culture 

CMA prioritizes a healthy work-life balance and believes that employees can only work to their full potential if they lead a happy life outside of the office. CMA ensures that employees feel supported, encouraged, and satisfied with their jobs. For this, CMA offers flexible PTOs and telework opportunities. 

CMA seeks to cultivate a work environment that inspires new ideas and supports highly motivated individuals to be truly successful. Employees are valued for their talent, while their differences are acknowledged and accepted. CMA also ensures that employees have a respectful attitude towards varied perspectives. 

CMA employees feel a sense of community in their workplace, which resonates in their behavior while offering services to their clients.

Inclusive employment practices 

CMA is an equal opportunity employer. This means that CMA considers employee applications irrespective of the person’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, veteran, or disability status. 

What are the positions available at CMA?

  1. Community Association Manager – responsible for allocating resources to ensure the management and support of community associations under the guidance of CMA. 
  2. Compliance coordinator – responsible for enforcing restrictions imposed in the community’s memorandum regarding maintenance, architectural specifications, and the guidelines established by the homeowner’s association. 
  3. Accounting – The financial services team keeps financial transaction records and the general ledger for accounts payable, receivable, and adjusting journal entries. 
  4. Administrative Assistant – By providing internal and external customer service, the Administrative Assistant assists the Community Association Managers and our client associations.

 

Click here to find the positions available at CMA today. 

 

Summer Landscaping & Maintenance Tips For Your Community Association

With summer starting soon, community association management services begin to spike. That’s because landscaping is already challenging. Maintaining the looks and feel of your outdoor efforts merely adds to the difficulty.

Everyone has excellent advice for landscaping. However, we’ll provide some of the best strategies we’ve found working with our clients. Make sure you create an approach with your community association based on these tips.

Focus on proper watering

Notice that we say “proper” instead of “more.” That’s because quantity isn’t the best solution for healthier gardens and lawns. Start by checking your irrigation and other watering systems.

While watering, you might benefit from a lower frequency. That’s because you must focus on slow drips for deep hydration—Additionally, water in the evening or early morning to avoid evaporation.

Aim for green and living colors

Healthy grass looks green and vibrant. The same is true for your flowers. You want your garden to look as colorful as possible, but you might cut corners with certain decisions.

To start, don’t cut the grass too short; keep it around 3.5 inches in height. Go for organic fertilizer as well, and don’t over-fertilize your spaces. Schedule lawn checks to find any weeds that could steal your plants’ nutrients.

Consider outdoor amenities

Outdoor living spaces, like event rooms and children’s parks, can reduce your lawn work. They make your community’s areas more entertaining while reducing garden work.

However, it’s still a hefty investment. The best community association management services can help you optimize your amenities without spending too much.

Perennial plants are better

When planning flower beds, it’s best to prioritize longevity. You can save lots of time and money in the long term by buying perennials, not annuals.

These flowers, like the purple coneflower, require less maintenance. Sure, annuals tend to be prettier, but you need to assess how much your community association can spend. Perennials require pruning now and then, and that’s it.

While speaking of low-maintenance plants, also remember to plant native species to make your life easier.

Potted plants are also good

For many, potted plants lack some of the charms of a “natural” garden. While we can understand that, potted plants offer unique advantages.

Firstly, they need less maintenance. You can also move them wherever you want with minimal effort. Even if you prefer to plant everything on the ground, keep a few pots for parties and events.

Check for any pests

Remind your staff to check for pests while performing regular maintenance. Removing dead matter and weeds makes an excellent opportunity to find unwanted visitors.

It’s much better to catch pests early, as it can make treatment much more straightforward. Additionally, opt for organic solutions if you need to treat said pests.

Enact rules and guidelines

Finally, community association management services usually place rules and guidelines around open areas. These recommendations can save a lot of time and effort in maintenance.

For instance, forbidding smoking and drinking alcohol in the open can keep cigarette butts and beer cans off your lawn. Think about regulations that could protect your landscape and make them visually available for everyone.

What To Know About Opening Your Pool

With communities finally looking beyond the pandemic, more people are impatient to go back to their hot summer’s day dip at the community pool. 

Now, these pools are not only a great source of relaxation for residents, but also significantly increase the asset value of properties within your Homeowner’s Association (HOA).

If you’re planning to open a community pool post the pandemic, there are a few things you should know.

Getting a permit and adhering to statutes 

Should you be planning to build an ingrown swimming pool, you need to get specific licenses and permits from your local municipality. Talk to your municipality for all the necessary documentation and receipts you will need. 

Additionally, you will have to adhere to the regulations set by your federal, state or local authority for running a swimming pool post-pandemic. Click here to know about maintenance requirements recently implemented by the California Legislature that community pools within large HOAs need to abide by.

You can use CMA’s services to get your HOA an on-site manager who can take care of all the licensing related to opening a community pool. CMA currently has nearly 150 state-licensed association managers working in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. 

Setting guidelines 

Your HOA needs to develop a comprehensive set of guidelines that residents can follow while using the swimming pool. 

Some rules that you can incorporate into your guidelines are:

  • Restrictions for children to use the pool without adult supervision.
  • Restrictions to take play toys, food items or drinks inside the pool. 
  • Using proper safety gear required for swimming.
  • Identification check before entering the pool. 

In addition to this, you need guests to maintain social distancing protocols in and around the swimming pool. For this, you can have time and maximum occupancy restrictions while using the pool area. 

If you are a large HOA, playing catch up with the rules and regulations can be tough. Taking the help of a community management consultancy like CMA will make this process a lot easier for you. 

Staffing 

Ensure the safety of your residents by having adequate staff in and around your pool. The team shall include lifeguards to prevent accidents and attendees from looking into inconveniences faced by residents while using the pool. 

If you are a large HOA with many people using your community pool, you may want to hire a pool management company. 

Management 

Pools can enhance your property’s aesthetic value and marketability but may also lead to accidents and mishaps. Maintaining a community pool safely and efficiently requires a great deal of commitment from an HOA. 

Building and maintaining a pool for your community requires a significant investment. CMA’s unique corporate structure offers boutique-style custom services that let you reap the best out of your pool experience. With CMA, you can enjoy the benefits of a community pool within your HOA without having to go through the trouble involved in setting up and maintaining it. 

 

The Top Seasonal HVAC Tips This Summer

Your heat, ventilation, and air conditioning system is an invaluable ally during the summer heat. Your homeowner association management should prioritize its efficiency to keep residents happy during the season.

However, it’s also a challenge. Summer tends to push HVAC systems to their limits. Luckily, you’re not out of luck. Learning how to run a responsible community is easy these days, and it can take your homeowner association to the next level.

Before summer

With summer on the horizon, proper preparation is the first step. It’s best to ensure your HVAC system runs at its best before it’s necessary. That’ll allow you to guarantee proper functionality during the season.

Additionally, you can assess what needs fixing, and maintenance before problems arise. Trying to assist several residents simultaneously can feel impossible. That’s why getting everything ready beforehand should be a priority.

Preventative maintenance

The first step is to go through primary maintenance: checking thermostats, changing filters, and more. Homeowner association management must schedule these checks with enough time to go through all spaces before summer hits.

Additionally, give homeowners enough time to run their systems and check for issues before the season.

Flexible staffing

Preparing the HVAC system in your community can take a while, depending on its size. Try to hire enough staff to cover constant shifts to prevent burnout during the preparations.

Many people also take vacations during the summer. Having a flexible staff pool allows you to respond to requests regardless of when they come.

Replacing old HVAC

Getting an outdated HVAC system in shape can save you costs in the short term. It can come in handy in a clutch, but it’s not the optimal approach.

Replace outdated installations whenever possible. It’ll help you save money and time in the long run. It’s also more reliable during the summer months.

Inventory assessment

Finally, make sure you can meet the increase in demand during the summer. Maintenance and repairs are more common. You don’t want to be running around finding the parts and equipment you need.

Before the season begins, list everything you’ll likely need for any request. Keep a decent stock, and streamline your inventory management for when things get rushed.

During summer

On the other hand, you shouldn’t let your guard down because you set up everything correctly before summer. You can still do several things during the season to keep your HVAC systems running and residents happy.

Homeowner association management needs to provide constant care and support for every space in the property. Thankfully, a few simple tips can make your life considerably more manageable.

Replacing filters regularly

Constantly running HVAC systems takes a toll on their filters. It’s often more viable to replace them regularly than providing lengthy maintenance.

Programmable thermostats

You can make everyone’s life easier with programmable thermostats. It allows residents to automate temperature settings for specific times.

Saving energy

Finally, don’t place too much stress on your HVAC system. Keep heat-producing appliances away from thermostats and encourage residents to use their fans to minimize energy costs.

 

 

Image credit: Freepik