For most developers, a heavy focus toward the end of a project is placed upon the management of General Contractors and ensuring that everything is prepared for the sale and transfer of all units. This focus is understandable as closings, and the subsequent loan payoffs, help Developers move forward to other projects and investments. Unfortunately, this big picture focus often results in a frequently overlooked aspect of townhome development: the contracting of a stable property management company to handle any management obligations as dictated by a townhome community’s partywall agreement.
Typically, a partywall agreement has provisions requiring unit owners to maintain landscaping, perform regular snow removal, and divide any joint billing for utilities. The best partywall agreements will allow the Developer, as the partywall declarant and property owner, to contract for professional management of these and other services. By putting a contract for management services in place prior to the sale of units, Developers can ensure that landscaping, snow removal, etc. happen as they should. Without this pre-contracting, Unit owners may squabble over who to select, what contract provisions to agree upon, and the cost and frequency of services. Ultimately, landscaping may end up neglected and Developers can find themselves trying to dismiss invalid warranty claims.
There are also liability concerns for Developers to think about. Townhomes often have a shared drive aisle that remains shaded from the sun for much, if not all, of the day. During the winter, regular snow removal is vital to prevent snow compaction and ice build-up. While a Developer should not be responsible for damage caused by cars sliding on icy drive aisles into exterior walls or garages of units, the best way to reduce your exposure to lawsuits and owner claims is to ensure services happen as they should.
Putting a management company in place should be an easy task, but very few companies have the knowledge and capacity to handle townhome partywall management. HOA management companies have an expertise and background that makes them suited for condominiums, but fail to understand the nuances of townhome communities. Traditional single family management companies often don’t have the expertise to read and understand partywall requirements, and may not have adequate resources to handle the somewhat complex management issues that arise.
After many years watching Developers struggle with townhome management issues, redT Homes identified key management personnel and currently operates one of the largest townhome management companies in Northwest Denver. If you are interested in learning more about how putting a property management company in place can help streamline turnover of your project and help reduce your liability, contact our office for information on our complete services.