What is an HOA Inspector, Plus Tips for Hiring One
Property inspections are essential to the well-being and growth of the HOA community. Its primary purpose is to ensure that the community is safe, thrives, and maintains its value. Imagine a neighborhood watchdog — he watches for danger and continuously checks to ensure his owners are safe. He craves knowing that everyone is in good hands. This metaphor can be applied to the role of a community inspector. They, too, protect and prevent the community from any danger or risk that could harm the HOA. The role itself is vital to the community. It not only helps maintain the quality and living standards of the HOA but also helps prevent legal action that could highly affect a community financially.
What’s an HOA inspection?
An HOA inspection reviews and monitors the overall condition of the HOA community. Its primary purpose is to:
- Monitor all facility maintenance: pools, common areas, clubhouses, exterior inspections, etc.
- Identify non-compliance with community covenants: this may include community parking, home violations, fire codes, extinguishers, etc.
- Prevent maintenance issues: fencing, roofing, lighting, construction to buildings, street signage, etc.
Typical areas of liability as it relates to inspections:
- Slip-and-fall accidents: inspection of sidewalks, entrance and exit walkways, driveways, weather (snow and ice), and proper signage
- Non-smoking building: can create a potential health and fire hazard
- Hoarding behaviors: can create health and environmental issues
What is an HOA inspector?
The primary role of an HOA inspector is to: protect property values, ensure the safety of the community, prevent future risk, and help reduce cost if a significant repair or maintenance is required. This person or team works as the primary contact for all responsibilities related to the HOAs community inspections. They are also responsible for ensuring all inspection protocols are exercised and scheduled according to the community bylaws.
What is the role of the HOA property manager as it relates to inspections?
- Executing site inspections
- Conduct formal inspections
- Following the site inspection plan given by the HOA board or bylaws;
- Monitoring community hazards and potential risk;
- If a violation occurs due to an inspection, the community manager will be responsible for creating a violation resolution to present to the Board of Directors;
- Responsible for all inspection and violation follow-ups to ensure compliance.
Who conducts inspections if my community does not have an HOA community manager?
If your HOA community does not have a community manager, the responsibility of the community inspector is then passed on to the Board of Directors or a qualified appointed person.
Although great value is put on the board for their dedication and knowledge of the community, it’s essential to consider the pros and cons of using this option. On the upside, your Board of Directors is well educated on the matter related to inspections; they’re trusting, skilled at their role, and have a thorough understanding of the requirements needed to facilitate the community.
On the downside, your HOA board may know everyone in your community — this may include your closest friends and neighbors. Imagine telling your friendly neighbor of 10 years that they're being given a violation due to an inspection issue found by their Board of Directors. Or, to make matters worse, a board member voids a violation related to an inspection because the person being given the violation is their best friend and neighbor.
Overall, regardless of whoever conducts the inspections, the number one sole purpose must be for the well-being and safety of the HOA community.
Are there any alternative options for inspecting my HOA community?
A popular alternative for conducting inspections is utilizing an HOA third-party specializing in handling HOA community inspections. Although this option can be costly, the benefits can easily outweigh the cost. Companies such as this can help prevent significant repairs and even lawsuits down the road. They also work alongside the board and the community manager to conduct regular, thorough inspections. This includes recommending repairs and necessary projects when needed.
What to look for when hiring a third-party community inspector for your HOA?
- Communication- Looking for someone or a company that offers clear and timely communication makes it easier for the community and manager to keep track of the inspections.
- Scheduled agenda - Having an inspector who is organized and provides a clear schedule of pending or conducted inspections give peace of mind to the community.
- Detailed oriented - It should come as no surprise that you should want someone who can focus on details to ensure your communites Bylaws and CC&Rs are being upheld.
- Consistent - Having a third-party conduct your inspections creates consistancy and eliminates any bias.
- Proactive- With a dedicated resource for youir inspections and violations, you can ensure that this part of your HOA is handled in a timly and prioritized manner.
- Trusting and honest - As with any service you hire out, you want to look for someone you can trust.
5 benefits of hiring a third-party HOA community inspector
- Allows time for other projects - As we all know, working in an HOA is no walk in the park. With the many responsibilities required to maintain an HOA properly, it can be challenging to handle everything at once. By allowing a third-party company to conduct your community's inspections, your committee members can focus on other backburner projects and priorities.
- Technology - An added benefit to using a third-party management company comes with the technology perks. Many property management companies now offer advanced technology methods for managers and board members to view existing and future inspections. Other benefits may include virtual proof of inspections, virtual documentation, documented communication and reports, follow-ups, organized insurance claims, and much more.
- Inspection protocols - When inspections are conducted, specific protocols may be required so that the inspection runs smoothly. A property management company can provide organized protocols to keep inspections organized and compliant. Protocols can also help monitor acceptable and unacceptable conditions, along with covenant restrictions.
- Peace of mind - There’s nothing more comforting than knowing that your community is safe. Not only does a management company take the emotional responsibility off your board’s shoulders, but it also reduces financial risks — repairs and maintenance issues are addressed before they even occur. As a result, the HOA saves money and prevents more considerable hazards down the road.
- Direct contact and spokesperson - We all know what it’s like to have too many cooks in the kitchen, especially when working in an HOA. The communications struggles, stress increases, and the focus of the project gets lost. A large part of utilizing a management company comes with having a direct contact and inspection spokesperson hired to be your eyes and ears. This person also sits alongside the Board of Directors to communicate the community's progress related to inspections.