Communication is a key pillar of community management. From the smallest notice to the biggest jobs, proper communication is needed to ensure people are informed and aware of what’s happening, and what they’re supposed to do to support their building or neighborhood.
Unfortunately, communication also happens to be one of the biggest challenges for condos and HOAs. Sometimes, the issue is lack of communication; residents don’t feel like they’re getting enough information from the board or management. Other times, it’s the method of communication that creates problems. While residents may prefer email or even text messages, management is still using physical bulletin boards and letters.
Inefficient communication can lead to apathy and make residents feel disconnected. As a result, it’s harder for the association to get things done. For example, if people aren’t showing up to member meetings, either because they don’t know about them or because they feel as though the board isn’t interested in serving them, then quorum won’t be reached. This can lead to a delay in important projects, budget approvals, etc.
Another example is a lack of instructions about where to dispose of cardboard boxes and small appliances. If residents are tossing these types of items down the chute, the machine will break down. This issue is common, but also quite costly if it’s happening every month.
Make it easier to communicate
Investing in an integrated approach and incorporating a digital communication platform, be it email, a community website or a property management platform like Condo Control, can significantly improve the frequency and quality of communication between owners, board members and management. These options allow you to send out a letter or notice to multiple people at the same time.
Condo Control’s announcements feature even allows users to select who they’d like to contact, and whether messages will be sent via email, text or automated voice message. Announcements can be sent from the Condo Control phone app or from a desktop.
Premade announcement templates are also available for those who want to get a message out quickly. Templates range from parking garage cleaning, to pet rules, to extreme weather alerts.
Customizable templates are included in the template offerings. They allow staff to add their own personal touch to messages without having to create a document from scratch.
How templates can help with communication
There are three significant reasons why we like templates.
1. Templates are affordable
In most cases, it costs little or no money to create a template. Regardless of what your budget is, you can afford to make or personalize a template. Templates also help to reduce labor costs. The document is written out in full only once. Then, when it’s needed again, the user only has to change little things like the date and make of the recipient.
2. Templates create consistency for senders and recipients
A template helps to ensure the same information is provided to each recipient. This is important if the letter is providing instructions about how to submit a request or rectify a rule infraction. Consistency is important as it reinforces behaviors and expectations for managers and owners.
3. Templates are versatile
Templates can be printed off and mailed to individual recipients, or sent electronically. If the template is digital, links and attachments can also be included with the message.
Top communication templates for condos and HOAs
Below is a list consisting of commonly used condo and HOA templates.
New residents will appreciate a detailed welcome letter and welcome packet. Not only does this document create a positive experience for a new neighbor, but it helps them understand how things work in that particular community. Keep the letter brief, include the association’s logo and, if possible, sign each letter for a personal touch.
Garbage disposal reminder
Garbage disposal isn’t something that residents give much thought to until the compactor breaks. Usually, the disposal system shuts down because someone threw something down the chute that they shouldn’t have. This careless behavior ends up costing condos thousands of dollars every year if it’s happening regularly.
While tenants are usually given instructions on how to properly dispose of garbage and recycling when they first move in, it’s easy to forget the rules. To encourage residents to bring large items down to the proper disposal area and keep garbage chutes from malfunctioning, management can post messages by each chute, or send out helpful reminders on a regular basis. Improving communication with residents about proper garbage disposal will help preserve the equipment.
Fire alarm notice
Regular fire alarm testing can help save lives. If there’s something wrong with the equipment, staff can identify and fix the problem after a routine test. But, sounding the alarm is disruptive to residents, especially now that so many people regularly work from home. Giving them at least a few days’ notice allows them to prepare for the temporary disruption.
Residents aren’t going to be happy if they wake up and find out their water has been shut off. Much like the fire alarm notice, management should notify people at least three days ahead of time if there is a plan to turn off the water supply. If the water must be turned off suddenly due to an emergency, a notice should still be delivered electronically using a residents portal or email.
Terrace opening and closing
Opening the terrace and/or barbeque area for summer is an exciting event. However, it’s been more than a few months since residents last got to use this shared space. Distributing a short letter about rules, booking processes and hours of operation will help ensure everyone has fun and stays safe.
Electric vehicle charging station requests and responses.
Templates for electric charging stations probably weren’t the first templates you thought of when you started reading this article, but there’s a good chance that you’ll receive a request for a charging station soon if your community doesn’t already have one. Electric vehicles (EV) have been around for a while, but are now becoming mainstream. Not only do electrical vehicle owners sometimes get incentives for purchasing these types of cars, but gas prices have skyrocketed in 2022.
Newer condo buildings and HOAs may already have charging stations available to residents, but older communities probably don’t. Owners may ask the association for permission to install a charging station. How the process is handled will depend on local legislation. In California, for instance, condos must allow owners to install EV charging stations. However, owners are responsible for paying for the installation, maintenance, and electricity use.
You can download our free collection of communication templates to see how to respond to an EV charging station application from an owner.
Thank you emails
This is a bonus template to have on file. Sending a quick thank you to an owner or staff member for being a good neighbor or doing something difficult can go a long way. Not only will they appreciate that their efforts are being recognized, but they’re more likely to continue doing things that will benefit the community as a whole.
Templates are affordable and versatile communication tools. They can create more consistency for communities and increase the frequency of communication between management and residents. While they won’t resolve all communication issues, they can help get you on the right track.