Managing documents & folders

6 Must-Have Folders for Your Document Library

The best way to engage your clients and residents is to inform them.  There are many ways to engage your clients within Pilera through communications, events, help center, document library, and more.  In this month’s manager toolkit, we put the spotlight on document library management in your apartment, condo or HOA management company. We’ll specifically focus on the six document folders you absolutely need and how to structure it.  

Before we talk about the six document folders, we’ll go over the basic structure of documents in Pilera.  Managers can add documents on a company-level and community-level. Company-level documents are those that can be shared to multiple communities with their file characteristics maintained globally.  Community-level documents are those that are added to a single community.  Each community must at least have one folder but can have multiple folders nested underneath it for a concise organization.  There are four main permissions you can apply to folders to restrict access: board members, owners, tenants, and other occupants.  It’s also important to know that if you don’t set any permissions for a folder, it’ll automatically default to just manager view.  Without any further ado, let’s dive deep into the document folders.

1) Company Policies

A company policy document focuses on all the services you’re providing to your clients.  It would include content such as procedures, response times, manager/board expectations, and more.  Since this is a document that you will share with all the community/apartment managers you oversee, add it to the Client Group folder.  You can then use the sharing tool to grant access to other communities in a “Company Policy” folder with board members or apartment managers.  The best part about structuring company-level files in this manner is that when managers need to make a change to the document and re-upload it again, they only need to re-upload it to the company-level folder.  The revised document will automatically display in all the communities it has been shared with.

2) Manager-Only or Board Member Section

If you manage many community associations or apartment complexes, it’s important to have a document section that’s dedicated to the board members and managers with content relevant to them.  Depending on all the documents you intend to share, you may opt to create one folder or multiple folders nested under it for better organization.  For condo or homeowner associations, you can create folders titled board member roles & responsibilities, code of conduct, committee rules & responsibilities, ARC review processes, and more.  Then, apply the board member permission to the folders and start adding files.  For apartment complexes, you can create folders for maintenance procedures, vendor contracts, list of management company contacts, equipment user manuals, leasing procedures, marketing, and more.  To ensure that only managers get access to this folder, you’ll need to ensure that no other permissions are checked off.  By default, when you don’t set permissions, only managers will be able to view the folders and files.  Here’s an example of how you might structure manager only documents for your apartments:

Manager Only Section in the document library

3) Owner/Renter Documents

A great way to increase resident engagement and satisfaction within any community is to continually keep residents updated.  The document library serves as a central place for them to get all information about their apartment complex or community. If you are managing an HOA or Condo, then providing information to residents on discussions and shared decisions that impact the community is vital.  To this end, you can create folders called Owner Responsibilities/Code of Conduct, Meeting Minutes, CC&R’s, Community Resources, and Association Contact information. Once you’ve created the folders, apply the owner or other-occupants permission. Alternatively, if there are any rental properties in your communities, you can also give Tenants permission to access certain folders like Community Resources.  Managers handling multifamily/apartment units can create folders for tenants called Tenant Rules/Guidelines, Common Area Guidelines/Info, maintenance, and amenity rules. Once you have structured these folders, set the permission to Tenant. Here are some examples you may opt to emulate for your HOA or condo community:

Resident folders in the document library

4) Community Financials & Planning

Sharing community financials is more applicable to the management companies handling homeowner and condominium associations.  Some states have implemented laws that require community associations to provide financial information to homeowners. In Florida, the Condo Law Reform requires that condominium associations managing more than 150 units provide owners with a password-protected website or portal.  

To create an organized document structure, managers can create a main folder in the community called Financial Information.  Permissions for this high-level folder would include board members, managers, owners, tenants, and other occupants. Then, community managers can create additional folders the reserve study, balance sheet, income statement, and budgets.  For example, if the reserve study is only for the board members, set the permission to board members.  Again, these are examples of how you can apply permissions for folders and nested folders but how you apply them will be purely based on your community’s operational procedures and by-laws.  Here’s an example of what your community’s folder structure for financials might look like:

Community financials folder in the document library

5) Newsletters

A newsletter is a great tool to engage and inform your homeowners and renters.  To structure your newsletter uploads in the document library, first create a folder under the community titled “Newsletters”. Then, you can create subfolders for each year to house all newsletters.  

6) Emergency Procedures

Providing information to your managers, boards, homeowners, and tenants on what to do in an emergency is critical.  The document library structure and permissions will vary based on the type of information you share. For better organization, create a high-level folder called Emergency Procedures and set all user type permissions.  Then, you can create subfolders/nested folders and set permissions according to what each user type needs access for. As an example, the folders you may want to add are Manager Responsibilities, Board Responsibilities, Emergency Contacts, and Resources.  The manager responsibilities folder might include procedures such as communicating with owners/tenants or safety best practices. If processes are consistent throughout the company, create company-level files and share it with the communities.  The board responsibilities folder might include how the board needs to communicate with residents and management or handling committees.  The Emergency Contacts folder would comprise of file(s) detailing who to call for maintenance, human-caused, or natural emergencies. The Resources folder is a great way to share other essential information that’ll help ease your resident’s concerns during emergencies.  Add documents on how to prepare their property/unit for winter, emergency checklists, nearby shelters, evacuation procedures, and maps.  Take a look at a sample structure of the Emergency Procedures folder:

emergency procedures folder in the document library

Document management is a continually evolving process…

The document library within Pilera is an essential tool that multifamily, condo & HOA managers can use to keep staff, board members, homeowners, and tenants informed. As a manager, your implementation of the document library is a constant process and will grow over time.  The key is to have a plan when you start building the document library and keep it fresh. When building the document library, consider company operations, future growth of the content, and overall resident experience. That way, it’ll help you to manage growth as your portfolios evolve and increase resident satisfaction.