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What is the Difference Between Community and Property Management?

Community Management vs Property Management

A common misconception is that property management and community management are the same. While the services are similar, there are key differences between them despite some people using the terms interchangeably. For one, community management and its community association managers (CAMs), which manage a community’s everyday needs, have different responsibilities than the property managers who manage individual properties and the upkeep of these residences.  

While there is some slight overlap in the expectations of community and property management (i.e., both property and community association managers supervise certain maintenance activities and common elements), it is essential to note that the duties between the two can be vastly different.  

Below, you’ll find a quick guide to understanding the difference between community and property management and which would be the best fit for your community: 

Property Management 

Property management and its services are run by property managers responsible for managing the property and its physical assets per resident/owner request. Unlike community management, property management focuses mainly on the needs of these residents and their individual properties. For example, whereas a community manager will oversee the needs of the board and the property’s communal areas, a property manager will oversee tenant needs, property rentals, and individual resident property concerns. Property managers are typically known for their work with rental units and tenant leases. A property manager or group’s responsibilities and expectations include overseeing rent, evictions, rentals, tenant complaints, questions, concerns, or needs, amongst other property or resident requests. 

Community Management  

Community management and its services are run by CAMs, who work together with the board members and residents of a community on larger projects affecting the community and its residents. CAMs and community management companies work hard to manage community spaces or landscapes while listening to the requests and concerns of board members and homeowners. Unlike property managers, community association managers often must be licensed to work with communities due to the delicate nature of some of their tasks and responsibilities outlined in the governing rules and regulations document or formal management agreement contract. And rather than interacting with residents daily, community managers primarily consult with the association’s board. Community managers oversee community budgets, assessments, site inspections, vendor coordination, and record-keeping. Community managers also assist with accounting services, general ledgers, and community financial monitoring.   

Choosing Between Community and Property Management 

From a tenant, unit owner, or vendor perspective, knowing the differences between these two roles can help you determine which would be best to address the community’s specific questions, concerns, and needs. With clearer expectations and an understanding of what property and community management companies or managers can do for you, you or the board can seek and hire the appropriate company for the job.  

Sentry Management is a full-service community management company. Sentry’s business is the day-to-day operation of communities, homeowner associations, and condominiums. Sentry is accredited as an AMO® (Accredited Management Organization) by the Institute of Real Estate Management, providing the independent evaluation that Sentry has one of the highest operating and financial standards in the industry. Sentry operates in dozens of localities in Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. 

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