What is Corporate Social Responsibility? Why is it important for a company to adhere to it?

A corporation’s responsibility and commitment to its stakeholders is called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and it means emphasizing the good and diminishing the bad contributions companies have on the varied interests of its stakeholders. Consumers want corporations to be accountable for implementing social change among their beliefs, practices and profits. According to Business News Daily, 75 percent of consumers will refuse to buy from a company if they learn it supports an issue contrary to their own beliefs. Ultimately, employees and consumers only want to work with a company that they respect and share the same values with.

Dr. Archie B. Carroll, a business management author and professor, discusses a four-part definition to describe how companies can implement CSR in his article “The Pyramid of Corporate Social Responsibility”. The pyramid explains the essential duties a business has to its stakeholders and ways they can be implemented. The four areas that make up the pyramid are Economic, Legal, Ethical, and Philanthropic.

Economic Responsibility:  Companies have the responsibility of providing investors with maximized returns. The key take-away here is companies need to be profitable by maximizing sales and minimizing costs through strategic decision making.

Legal Responsibility:  Companies are responsible for obeying the law and complying to all regulations which include environmental and consumer laws, laws protecting employees, fulfilling all contractual obligations and honoring warranties and guarantees.

Ethical Responsibility:  This is a company’s commitment to do what is right, just, and fair to avoid or minimize harm to their stakeholders. The responsibility is to avoid questionable practices and to assert ethical leadership.

Philanthropic Responsibilities:   Companies are expected to be good corporate citizens by fulfilling their philanthropic responsibility of contributing to financial and human resources within their community to improve the quality of life. Companies have the responsibility of providing programs that support the community and to promote and engage in volunteerism.

Implementing the four areas of the pyramid into your company’s practice will ensure transparency with stakeholders while having a positive impact on society and the environment.

 

Homeowners Management Company (HMC) takes corporate social responsibilities very seriously and prides itself on being transparent and available to its clients. If you are interested in learning more about corporate social responsibilities, we invite you to listen to our CEO, Jason Brown and Laura Ravazza, HMC Sr. Community Association Manager discuss how to develop a corporate social responsibility program and how rewarding it can be for the company.

 

 

 

Posted in HMC Blog, Uncategorized

Educational Luncheon January 20, 2017

On Friday, January 20, 2017, The Community Associations Institute (CAI) will be hosting an Educational Luncheon, “Is Your Wish My Command? Responding to Requests.” HMC’s Laura Ravazza, who was voted CAI BayCen Chapter’s Manager of the Year, will be teaming up with Melissa B Ward, Esq. of Hughes Gill Cochrain, PC to present.

The program will discuss some of the difficult requests managers handle on a daily basis, including requests for records, lender questionnaires, and other demands by association members and directors. The speakers will provide some useful tools in managing these challenging requests, including when it’s okay to say, “No.”

We are extending this invitation to our Board Members. For those of you who are interested and have not yet registered for a CAI event, your registration fee will be waived.

The details of the event are as follows:

When: Friday, January 20, 2017 from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. PST

Where: Crowne Plaza, Foster City: 1221 Chess Drive, Foster City, CA 94404

The Speakers: Laura Ravazza & Melissa Ward

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Register: please e-mail Amanda Wayne: amanda@hmcpm.com

We hope to see you there!

Posted in HMC Blog

Happy Holidays from Team HMC!

Posted in HMC Blog

#TeamHMC Partners with CAI Cares! to help families in need

On December 15, 2016, #TeamHMC partnered up with the CAI Cares! Committee to make a difference in the lives of families in need this holiday season. Members of our team made the trek down to the Sunnyvale, CA to the 2016 Family Giving Tree warehouse. There, we organized and bagged gifts to be picked up by social service agencies.

 

The Family Giving Tree was founded 25 years ago, and is the largest gift and backpack/school supplies donations program in California. As an organization, they “envision a world where every child is made to feel like a valuable part of their community through a shared belief in the power of giving,” (Family Giving Tree).

One in four children in the Bay Area lives in poverty. HMC is proud to give back to the community and participate in the Family Giving Tree’s endeavors to bring hope to those most in need this holiday season.

Posted in HMC Blog

Board of Directors Educational Series: “HOA Budgeting and Reserve Studies Best Practices”

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On September 14, 2016, we were lucky to partner up with Association Reserves and Levy, Erlanger & Company, CPAs to present, “HOA Budgeting and Reserve Studies Best Practices.”

This evening seminar covered:

  • Reserve study basics
  • Technology components and how to incorporate them into your reserve study
  • How to understand your reserve study quickly
  • Annual budgets & requirements

The discussion covered the importance of maintaining reserves and not relying on special assessments, annual provisions and accumulated liability, and using reserves for technology replacements and upgrades, such as solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations.

We discussed what a Reserve Study is: a long-term financial plan for ongoing deterioration of properties, and a budgeting tool that will help anticipate big projects and expense, as well as the purpose: guidance for a financial foundation, to sustain and improve the health of your property, insight into the condition of your property, and to avoid unexpected expenses that will dry up the reserve account. The reserve study helps the association to be proactive in planning for its future to maintain the financial health of the community.

Next, the discussion moved to the Pro Forma Operating Budget:

  • Major components
  • Remaining life
  • Useful life
  • Current replacement cost
  • Component study prepared at least once every 3 years
  • Cash reserves
  • Percent reserves are funded
  • (Under) – over-funded reserves per ownership interest
  • Methods of funding
  • Known or anticipated special assessments (next 30 years)
  • Statement of procedures
  • Accrual-basis revenues and expenses
  • Summary of the pro forma budget (optional with legal/CPA guidance)
  • Distribution within 30 to 90 days before the start of the next fiscal year (i.e. October 3 to December 1 for calendar yearend association)
  • Penalty for noncompliance

There were a lot of takeaways from this seminar, and we are so grateful to be able to continue to provide these educational forums for our Boards. Thank you, Derek Eckert and David Levy for making this event possible!

Posted in Uncategorized

Meet Debbie Douglas, Portfolio Community Manager

Celebrating 10 years as part of our dynamic team, Debbie Douglas is a true asset to HMC. She is a compassionate problem solver who is dedicated to the success and happiness of her communities. Please see below for our interview with Debbie.

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What are 3 words you would use to describe HMC?

Professional, Consistent, Longevity.

What aspect of your job do you most enjoy and why?

I enjoy interacting with people and learning about their lives. In this job, you meet many different kinds of people from all backgrounds and walks of life, and I find that extremely interesting. As a manager, I have met many people who have positively affected my life. For example, I have become friends with a member who introduced me to Indian food, and another who shared some of her best friend’s jewelry with me when her friend passed. I was honored by this gesture of friendship, and will always cherish her kindness.

What is your favorite part of working for HMC?

The care and devotion the employees have to this profession.

What is your proudest moment at HMC?

Helping one of my communities through a devastating fire. A 4 unit project was gutted by a fire; fortunately no human or animal lives were lost. I worked diligent to complete the restoration of the units and get all residents back into their homes. It was gratifying knowing that I was able to help the community recover from this upsetting event.

What piece of advice would you give to a new portfolio manager?

Learn to listen and be patient. These skills will help you through many situations.

How has HMC helped you in your career development?

Tons and tons of learning experiences dealing with homeowners and business partners. HMC also provides the opportunity to pursue industry education.

What are your hopes for our industry?

To learn and improve.

What is something that makes you unique that only a few people know about you?

My ancestors came to this country in the mid 1600s, and my family is linked with several of the founding fathers of this country.

What is your favorite way to relax and unwind?

Hiking, reading, and a good martini!

Do you have a favorite movie quote?

“Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”

 

 

Posted in HMC Blog

Holiday Safety Tips for your Home

Among the hustle and bustle of the busy holiday season, remember these 10 simple tips to help keep your family safe:

  1. Keep your tree well watered – a watered, happy tree not only keeps your decor lively and festive, but also helps prevent a potential fire hazard. Heated rooms can dry out a tree quickly, so make sure to check your stand water regularly. Before putting the tree in its stand, cut off a few inches off the trunk; this will help the tree absorb more water an keep from drying out quickly.
  2. If you prefer artificial trees – make sure to  choose one with the label “Fire Resistant.”
  3. Tree lights – make sure to check all tree lights for frayed wires, broken sockets, missing bulbs, or loose connections before putting them on the tree. Make sure you are unplugging all indoor lighted decorations before going to bed or leaving the house. Like candles, holiday lights should only be in use when occupants are present in case of electrical shorts. Also, some tree lights contain lead in the bulbs and/or strands so make sure they are out of reach of children.
  4. Outdoor Lights – check the packaging for outdoor lights to make sure they are certified for outdoor use. To prevent damage to the cord, string light strands through hooks instead of using tacks or nails to secure the lights.
  5. Extension cords – use no more than 3 standard-size sets of lights per extension cord to avoid overloading the circuit.
  6. Ornaments – if you have pets or small children, avoid ornaments that look like candy or food. Sharp or breakable ornaments should be avoided to prevent injury.
  7. Wrapping Paper – do not burn gift wrap paper in the fireplace. Wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely, which could result in a flash fire.
  8. Holiday plants – such as mistletoe berries and holly berries are toxic and should be kept out of reach of children.
  9. Space heaters – cause approximately 79% of fatal home heating fires. If space heaters are in use, make sure there is a 3 foot clearance away from curtains, blankets, or other potentially flammable materials.
  10. Smoke detectors – test smoke detectors to make sure they are working, and keep a fire extinguisher on hand.

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From everyone at HMC, we wish you and your family a happy and safe holiday season!

Posted in HMC Blog

BOARD OF DIRECTORS EDUCATIONAL SERIES: UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS OF IMPORTANT PROVISIONS

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At HMC, we feel so lucky to work with industry professionals who share the common goal of educating Board Members and, in turn, creating stronger, more successful communities. We are very grateful to Zer Iyer from Angius & Terry for her presentation on important contract provisions.

Contracts are an essential aspect of ensuring the Board is meeting its fiduciary duty to protect the financial and legal interests of the Association. In this session, we discussed the most vital provisions:

  • Insurance
    • Worker’s Compensation must comply with statutory requirements.
    • Deductibles and self insured retentions: Must be declared to the Association, must be approved by the Association.
    • Additional Insured Endorsement: Must name the management company and board members (among others); must specify a particular form (2010 form 1985 or equal)
    • It is important to verify that all vendors working on your property provide certificates of insurance prior to beginning any work. HMC utilizes a third party, RMIS, to track and verify all insurance certificates of vendors who work on the properties we manage.
  • Indemnification
    • The contractor should agree to indemnify the Association under the contract
    • Indemnification should extend to the management company and board members (and others)
    • Indemnification should include the Association’s passive or contributory negligence
    • Indemnification may carve out those incidents when the Association was solely negligent or engaged in willful misconduct, which caused the harm
    • Mutual indemnification should only be agreed to if demanded by the contractor
  • Dispute Resolution
    • Binding arbitration is written into most contracts
    • Dispute resolution should be avoided if at all possible (Note: this may not be possible with all vendors)
    • Arbitration appears to be a trial, but without the protections of a trial
      • No right to appeal
      • No requirement that the arbitrator know or follow the law
      • Will be quicker, but is usually not cheaper because arbitrations are essentially “mini trials” and the lawyer fees will correspond
    • Should include mediation as the method of dispute resolution because it allows for the filing of a lawsuit if you don’t reach an agreement.
  • Attorneys’ Fees
    • Should apply if either party attempts to enforce the contract
    • Should include not just the filing of a lawsuit, but any involvement in dispute resolution (even mediation or other forms of ADR)
    • Should include witness/expert fees
    • Should include language allowing the court to grant more than what is provided for in a fee schedule
    • Levels the playing field and heightens the stakes for failing to work an issue out internally

Ensuring that the correct provisions are established in these sections of the contract will help protect the Association.

 

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Posted in HMC Blog

Meet Maureen Gonzales, Accounting Superstar!

IMG_20160614_093923374_HDRMaureen Gonzales has been with HMC for three years, and in the industry for seventeen years. Everyone in our office agrees that HMC would not be the same without her! Maureen helps make it possible for us to provide the level of service that we do.

 

What are 3 words you would use to describe HMC?

Integrity, Efficient, and Superior.

 

What aspect of your job do you enjoy most? Why?

I love to gather financial information and translate it into something Boards and Association Members can make sense of. I love that I can put out a product that is accurate and easily understood. I am a numbers person, and I love working with finances. It is a passion for me, and has been ever since I was a little kid playing school and pretending to be the math teacher.

 

What is your proudest moment at HMC?

My proudest moment would be when we took over two associations that had not been properly managed, and were missing years of accounting information. I took on the challenge, and was able to turn around the HOA’s finances to get them back on the right track. I worked closely with the associations’ manager, and together we were able to get the two HOAs financially stable. Now, they are looking good!

 

How has HMC helped you in your career development?

I have been a Supervisor, an Accounting Manager, and a Controller. Here at HMC, I don’t have to manage employees anymore, and I can focus on what I do best: Accounting. For me, the development is to be able to focus on what I love and do best.

 

What are your hopes for the industry?

I hope that we in the industry can help homeowners to better recognize their association manager as a necessity to their community, and dispel any notion that we are just taking their money. HOA management companies are important for any homeowner to raise the value of their most important asset, their home.

 

What is something that makes you unique that only a few people know about you?

I was a single mom, and at 27 bought my first condo in an HOA. I became Board President of my association. I worked full time, went to school full time, and had a baby.

I can also remember numbers as soon as someone tells them to me, like a phone number. If someone tells me a number, I can remember it forever. I can still remember my childhood friends’ telephone numbers.

 

What is your favorite way to relax and unwind?

I like to go camping in my RV with my husband, daughter, and our three dogs. I love to find a little spot on a river and just relax and watch the water flow by.

 

Do you have a favorite movie quote?

“Show me the money!”

Posted in HMC Blog

Answers to Your Questions About the New FHA/VA Disclosure

Per Civil Code 5300, beginning July 1, 2016,  all condominium associations must disclose their FHA/VA status in the annual budget disclosure.

The biggest question arising from this is, “Is the Association legally obligated to become FHA or VA Certified?” The answer is no, there is currently no legal requirement for a Board of Directors to seek FHA or VA Certification for their condominium project. It does, however, fall under the fiduciary duty of the Board to at least consider it.

Below, are some reasons to consider whether or not becoming FHA or VA approved:

Some Benefits of being FHA approved:

  • FHA approval increases the pool for potential new homebuyers.
  • Having a larger pool of prospective buyers increases competition for the demand of the product, potentially resulting in higher purchase prices and an increase in market value.
  • FHA certification is necessary to get a Reverse Mortgage.
  • FHA/VA approved communities tend to be more marketable. The units are easier to sell and often at a higher price.
  • Decreased rental ratio: buyers who use FHA loans are more likely to live within the unit, and not rent it out. Communities without FHA approval often attract investors who will rent out the property for a profit.

Some of the Misconceptions of being FHA approved:

While there are no “cons” to being FHA certified on which expects can agree, these are the two most misconceptions about FHA Condo Approval:

  • FHA and VA are lenders. This is false. The FHA and VA provide mortgage insurance to banks, credit unions, and other lenders.
  • Being FHA Certified will bring in “low-income” buyers. This is false. FHA Condo approval is unrelated to affordable housing programs.

Some other facts you should be aware of regarding FHA/VA Approval:

  • How much does it cost to become FHA/VA Approved? Anywhere from $765-850. This fee includes all condo plans, annexations, supplemental CC&Rs, and tract maps.
  • Who is responsible for paying for this? The Association is not legally obligated to pay for the Certifications. Many Associations will, however, cover the cost because it benefits the entire community. It is also common for a homeowner, realtor, lender, or other interested party to pay for the submission.
  • How long does the process take? Processing time can vary depending on the Regional HUD or VA office that is reviewing the project, usually between 2-4 weeks. The comprehensive eligibility review takes 2-3 business days.
  • Does FHA or VA certification require Board approval? No. The Board does not need to approve the process. Current owners have a legal right to all the documentation necessary and can proceed without approval from the Board. However, if you are a homeowner seeking FHA/VA approval, it is recommended to discuss this with the Board of Directors first.
Posted in HMC Blog