Many people who live in a condominium are proud to call their community home. Their neighbourhood is aesthetically pleasing, there are things to do, and your neighbours generally have similar interests. To maintain all this, there’s a group working diligently behind the scenes—your condominium corporation board of directors. While you pay fees to help keep the community in top shape, your board does what it takes to make sure your community thrives. Read on to learn what you can expect from your board to keep your community looking and feeling its best.
What’s a Condo Board of Directors?
Condominiums are run by a volunteer group of homeowners—your neighbours—that are elected to the board of directors. Usually consisting of three to five members, the board is authorized to act on the community’s behalf. The board makes decisions, sets policy, establishes the budget, and determines which projects to complete and when they get done.
What Does the Board of Directors Do?
A condominium corporation’s governing documents detail specific board powers and duties. However, during a typical year, the board completes and oversees a multitude of tasks, including, but not limited to:
- Schedule board and annual meetings
- Reserve meeting spaces
- Review board packets
- Attend meetings
- Prepare meeting presentations and communicate meeting information
- Complete follow-up tasks and projects
- Review monthly financials, balance sheets, and income expense statements
- Review any budget variances
- Schedule and monitor reserve fund investments
- Approve the budget
- Set vendor budgets
- Select vendors
- Review and approve contracts (insurance, irrigation, landscaping, snow removal, professional management, pool, etc.)
Maintenance, repairs and replacements
- Review recurring maintenance projects
- Review capital projects in the reserve study
- Review and approve vendor quotes
- Review and approve mailings, newsletters, and budget information
- Review, approve and / or distribute insurance reminders and regulated documents (PIC’s, ICU’s etc.)
- Ensure annual compliance inspections get completed
- Enforce governing documents
- Review and update the community’s strategic plan
- Review and ensure the resale disclosures (Status Certificates) are up to date
What Can Homeowners Do If They’re Unhappy with A Board Decision?
Board members have a fiduciary duty to act in the community’s best interest and work to help the condominium corporation succeed. However, there may be times when homeowners are unhappy about a situation or disagree with a decision.
It’s important to reach out when issues arise, but it’s equally necessary to be informed about the various factors that contribute to certain situations.
To better understand a board decision or get clarity on something that occurred in the community, try:
- Reaching out to management. Connect with your management team to understand and discuss the service level expectations.
- Attending homeowner information sessions. Be tactful and courteous in expressing your proposed solution.
- Attending the annual meeting. Get involved and run for the board.
How Can Homeowners Support the Board?
Board members are tasked with everything from preserving the financial health of the corporation and enforcing rules to attending meetings and maintaining overall operations—and it’s easy for these duties to pile up. Here are a few ways residents can do their part, support the board, and enhance their community:
1. Connect with leaders.
Get to know the members of your board of directors. Your leaders work on your behalf and strive to improve your quality of life and keep the community safe—and they want to hear from you. Take the time to connect with them and politely offer insight that may help initiate a collaborative homeowner-board relationship. When the board and owners work together, everyone wins.
2. Learn about your condo and role as a homeowner.
When you purchase a home within a condominium, you become a part of that community. However, not all residents understand how the board of directors or their condominium operate.
Because misinformation and misunderstandings can create friction and lead to low morale, residents should make it a priority to learn the ins and outs of condominium living. Attend meetings, ask your manager, board, or management company for resources, or do your own research. Remember, everyone is on the same team, and the more people know, the better off everyone will be.
3. Show gratitude.
When was the last time you looked at the sidewalk, roads, paint, roof, shrubs, capstones, masonry, retaining walls, and light fixtures? Or read the governing documents and reviewed the insurance policies, budget, or reserve study?
The board is constantly maintaining these items to avoid deferred maintenance, keep property values high, and ensure the community has a good reputation. Let your leaders know you see their hard work and express gratitude for their efforts.
4. Get involved in the community.
As volunteers, it’s difficult for board members to accomplish everything—there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. To help the board avoid burnout and work effectively, consider getting involved in the community. Participation and collaboration ease pressures, promote harmony, and create efficiency.
Here are a few ways to get started:
- Attend meetings. One of the most impactful ways to get your voice heard is by attending community meetings.
- Volunteer on a committee. A committee helps relieve the workload of the board while contributing to the well-being of fellow homeowners.
- Go to social events. Get to know your neighbours and have some fun in the process.
- Engage on the community’s digital platform. It’s okay (and encouraged) to answer poll questions or voice your opinion.
More From the Management Corner
All condominium owners are required to pay monthly fees called assessments. Understanding where every dollar of your assessment is going is important when choosing to live in a condominium community and comparing homes within different communities. Read the article, “Everything Condo Residents Need to Know About Assessments” to learn more about budgets, reserves, and assessments and how they impact a homeowner’s expectations.