What Is Community Association Management?

September 25, 2023

There’s a lot of confusion about what community association management (CAM) is. Many people consider it to be the same as home association management, condominium association, and even general property association management–but that’s not the case.

In this post, we’ll dive into the basics of CAM and how it is foundational to a harmonious community.

Community Association Explained

In many residential communities, there’s a formal organization called a ‘community association.’ Its purpose is to ensure the rights of everyone within the community are protected and that people follow the community rules and regulations.

A community association is made up of three major groups:

  • Community residents (homeowners or tenants)
  • Board of Directors or Board of Trustees, who are elected through community association elections
  • CAM, which is either an outside company or elected members

There are others who participate in the activities of the association, including accountants, financial advisors, vendors, contractors, and committees. However, without the three main groups mentioned above, the association cannot function properly.

What Is Community Association Management?

CAM assists in the administration and maintenance of a community. This management body provides services such as financial management, property maintenance, and administrative support to ensure the smooth operation of a community. 

Financial Management

There are several financial activities CAM assumes, including:

  • Budgeting: CAM prepares and manages the association's annual budget. It also tracks expected versus actual income and expenses.
  • Financial reporting: CAM provides regular financial statements and reports to the board and residents.
  • Dues: CAM collects and records homeowner dues and ensures timely payment of bills and expenses.
  • Reserve fund management: CAM establishes and maintains a reserve fund to cover long-term capital expenses. They may even manage revenue-generating amenities to add funds to the community’s development fund.
  • Expense management: CAM monitors and controls expenses while ensuring that essential services are provided.

Property Maintenance and Operations

In addition to managing money, a CAM gets involved in how the property is managed and operated with:

  • Maintenance planning: Develops and executes a maintenance plan for common areas, facilities, and amenities
  • Vendor management: Hires, supervises, and manages vendors and contractors for various services
  • Landscaping: Maintains landscaping and outdoor areas to enhance curb appeal
  • Amenities: Ensures the proper operation, security, and maintenance of community amenities (e.g., pools, gyms, parks, etc.)

Governance Support

The CAM group may also assist the community with certain administrative and management tasks, such as:

  • Election management: Facilitating annual elections and assisting in the election process
  • Policy implementation: Implementing policies and decisions made by the board
  • Conflict resolution: Mediating disputes and conflicts among residents or between residents and the association
  • Legal compliance: Ensuring the community association complies with local, state, and federal laws

Those responsible for CAM may conduct events and activities to foster a sense of community. They might also perform miscellaneous administrative duties such as:

  • Arranging board meetings
  • Maintaining accurate and accessible community records
  • Preparing an emergency plan in case of a crisis

To sum it up, CAM is essentially the backbone of a residential community.

Who Takes Care of Community Association Management?

As mentioned earlier, CAM is run by either a professional community association management company, an elected community association manager (for small communities), or a small team of elected managers and hired staff members.

In any case, CAM is not an authority body. It is meant to manage the community as instructed. It is not supposed to come up with its own ideas for the community or make independent decisions about its operations. Those responsibilities rest with board members and residents.

Types of Communities Served

CAM differs from home association management, condominium association, and property association management, because it is the organizational umbrella for these associations and functions that have their own specific focus.

Here are the different types of residential organizations that fall under community associations:

  • Homeowners associations (HOAs): HOAs typically govern homes and common property within a specific neighborhood or development. Each homeowner is a member and is subject to community rules and regulations.
  • Condo associations: Condo associations oversee multi-unit buildings or complexes where individual unit owners jointly own common elements. 
  • Cooperative housing associations: In a cooperative housing community, residents collectively own the property and share in the cooperative corporation. Running this type of association often requires close collaboration among members.
  • Age-restricted community: These communities are designed for residents of a specific age group–usually fifty-five years or older–and they offer amenities tailored to senior needs.
  • Gated communities: These are often designed for increased security and exclusivity but with restricted access.

Help With Elections

Most formal residential communities hold elections for varying reasons. If you’re part of one of these and elections are just around the corner, ElectionBuddy has an online platform that ensures efficiency, privacy, and accuracy. If you want to know more, check out our post on how you can vote for a community!

Join 11,984+ organizations like yours that use ElectionBuddy to build more easy online elections

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