The Difference Between a Homeowners Association and Property Management

It’s easy to see why there’s confusion when it comes to a Homeowners Association (HOA) and property management company. They both play critical roles in ensuring the community is managed properly. Even though they may work hand in hand, they often work independently of one another because the responsibilities of the two jobs are quite different. If you’re not quite sure what the difference is between the two, let’s take a closer look.


What is a Homeowners Association?

Within a community, the residents share the responsibility of maintaining their properties and the common areas. To formalize these responsibilities, the community may create an HOA that is tasked with developing and enforcing community rules that all property owners have to abide by. 

The HOA is completely made up of volunteer residents in the community – the board members are voted into each position. If the HOA is self-managed, board members are responsible for:

  • making and enforcing the rules
  • maintaining common areas
  • establishing and collecting dues
  • determining and managing budgets
  • managing insurance for common areas
  • hiring staff for common areas, like maintenance and security

But not all these tasks have to be performed by the HOA. To assist HOA members with these responsibilities, they may hire a property management company to make the lives of board members simpler, easier and much less stressful.


What is a Property Management Company?

A quick search on the Internet would show you that a property management company oversees and manages residential, commercial, and/or industrial property that is owned by another party or entity. In layman’s terms, property managers are hired to help you take care of your property.  In most cases, a property management company is employed by the HOA to make sure residents can live in a safe, well-cared for community. Some of the tasks that were once handled by the HOA are now given to a property management company, taking significant amounts of stress off their plates. 

Here are a few ways a dedicated, professional property management company can help an HOA manage their communities successfully:

  • takes care of common areas
  • collects homeowner’s dues to be a member of the HOA
  • manages financial reporting, budgeting, and other accounting services
  • hires staff to maintain common areas
  • manages insurance for common areas
  • handles work order requests for repairs and maintenance of common areas. 


But What’s The Difference and Why Does it Matter?

Most of the time, the HOA will hire the property management company to carry out responsibilities throughout the community, as mentioned above. The property management company does not hold a lot of power when it comes to the community at whole, but they can enforce the rules that they’re responsible for. On the other hand, the HOA has the legal authority to enforce their own rules. Should a rule be broken, the HOA can issue a warning, then take action at the expense of the owner. 

Running an HOA is a lot of work so having great partners is the key to success. A great property management company can ensure what’s best for the community is being cared for and makes everyone’s life easier. 

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{We retained West Property Management to take over managing our brand new HOA. As a brand new builder community, West Property Management had to help manage numerous complicated developer-builder-homeowner transition matters. Despite the often unpredictable and/or complicated tasks that our HOA faced, West Property Management handled these matters in a very “can do” and no-nonsense manner. Their timely approach, expertise and patience with a new, novice Board of Directors also made working with West Property Management productive and positive. The Board continues to enjoy working with them and highly recommend them for property management needs.
Michelle R.

When selecting West Property Management, you can expect professionalism, follow-through, and success in managing your property(ies). It all started with listening to our expectations and consistently delivering superior service and expertise without prompting for our 350 properties; telephone calls and e-mails were tactfully responded whether there was a complaint or a compliment.

When evaluating a property management company, we felt the primary factor was collaboration to learn what we should or should not do to effectively manage processes. The second important factor was the skillful management of suppliers to reduce outstanding receivables and ensure the successful delivery of work products through excellent customer service. West Property Management always displayed a “can-do” attitude and resolved any issues with persistent alacrity.

West Property Management’s impressive knowledge and practical approach we highly recommend irrespective of what level of management you seek. Both Lynn Weymer (our Property Manager) and Chris Westerlund (the owner) were always available to consult on Board matters and always resolved any presented issues. We will continue to work with West Property Management and look forward to our continued partnership.

Patricia F

It was a pleasure working with Chris. He was very professional and went above and beyond to make sure I was comfortable and informed every step of the way. I give Chris and West Property Management my highest recommendations and look forward to working with them for all my future property management needs.


West has been such a joy to work with – they’ve brought a new level of professionalism and experience to our HOA and we’re grateful to be working with them!

Mike L.

West Property Management has been so wonderful to work with. Excellent communication and customer service. A professional organization who provides a wonderful personal touch. I’d highly recommend them!

Ji L.

Chris Westerlund and West Property Management were great. Being a realtor, I deal with a lot of property management companies. I reached out to Chris about obtaining HOA resale documents. He was instrumental in getting the documents delivered to me that same day when we needed them in a rush. In addition, he used his resources to find the contact information for the company we had been trying to find for a couple of weeks. I’d highly recommend anyone/business looking for property management services to reach out to Chris and West Property Management!

Kevin W.