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Let’s say you and your condo board are doing pretty well. You meet regularly and communicate decisions effectively. Your finances are on the up-and-up, and your building doesn’t seem to be falling apart.
Things are… good.
But maybe thoughts of a flooded parking garage keep you up at night. Or the windows and doors are starting to show their age, or owners are feeling strained by an unexpected special assessment . Maybe things are good now, but a crisis could put your board to the test.
You don’t need good, you need great. You don’t need constant worry. Rather, you need confidence and assurance. Your body will thank you for the sleep, at any rate.
When the unexpected strikes, good condo boards… manage. Probably hitting a few bumps along the way, making the journey more painful than necessary. But great condo boards float through crises like swans on a pond.
So how can you get from good to great?
Get the right people on your condo board
No matter how big or small, your condo board only runs as efficiently and effectively as the people at the table.
Is everyone pulling their weight? Is everyone at the table really present, and not somewhere else in spirit? Does the Chair handle conflict effectively? Does the Secretary capture everything the board decides? If not, it’s time to take action.
Check your registered condo bylaws for an outline of how you can remove people from your board. But first, consider having a discussion with the board member in question. That way, they have a chance to buckle down and improve their performance. Alternatively, they might agree they aren’t prepared to put their full effort in, and resign.
Condo board members come from a variety of backgrounds. What is yours? Lawyer? Professional executive? None of the above?
Not everyone sitting on a condo board necessarily has experience sitting on a committee, or making decisions for others. As long as someone is passionate about their condo lifestyle, and eager to bring that passion to their work on the board, they can learn the skills they need.
A good board member becomes great through education. Consider signing yourself or your board members up for a course! The Canadian Condominium Institute (CCI) offers courses and seminars for condo board members. Usually, they conduct classes in-person through the South Alberta or North Alberta CCI chapters.
These courses cover the basics of board roles and responsibilities, and fundamental and practical management principles. As a result, you and your board gain the skills and confidence you need to handle any situation.
Get a condo manager
Maybe you’re just not that interested in being a manager or spending a bunch of time in board meetings. That’s okay – it’s not for everyone! Or maybe your board needs help to get through a tough time. A professional condominium manager can take care of condo board business on your board’s behalf. They do this for a living, so why not benefit from their expertise? Great boards know that they don’t know everything, and ask for help when they need it.
When the Condominium Property Amendment Act is passed by the Alberta Legislature, Condominium managers in Alberta will require a licence from the Real Estate Council of Alberta. Watch for updates on this when you hire a condo manager.
If there’s no record of a conversation, a decision, an agreement – did it really happen? Maybe… but the you can’t 100% convince anyone with just your own memory. Make sure everything that impacts your condo life gets written down!
On that same note, have you ever sat down at a meeting and realized.. no one knows why you’re there, or what you’re supposed to talk about? What a waste of time! Again, you can prevent this mess with documentation.
Agendas and Minutes are the input/output mechanisms that keep your condo board humming. Make sure agendas are formal, open to additions before the meeting, and available to all your condo owners in advance. And insist that board meeting minutes are thorough, approved by the board, and disseminated to all owners as soon as possible.
Great condo boards are open and transparent. They inform all the stakeholders what will be discussed, and then what was decided. When everyone is on the same page, all sorts of potential disagreements simply disappear.
Become a condo encyclopedia
Speaking of documents, your condo board must register bylaws and other documents with the government. That’s because they’re really important! If you can, get to know those documents back to front, front to back, and side to side. A good condo board follows and consults their documents regularly. A great condo board knows them inside and out, and uses them to inform every word and action.
Get to know your condo
Your condo is a corporation, and a building – and also all the people in it! So get to know all three.
When you get to know your fellow board members, meetings run smoother. Likewise, when you know your building, maintenance decisions are easier. And if you get to know all the owners, you’ll learn about issues sooner, before they turn into unmanageable problems.
You have the power to take your condo board from good to great! With the right people, the right education, the right management, proper documentation, and a solid knowledge base, your board will soar through any problem with ease.
Good condo boards get by. Great condo boards float by. Stop worrying and start enjoying your condo!