Technology has provided many ways to communicate more effectively and at lower cost.
At times these technologies seem to be used everywhere except in condominium corporations. It is unfortunate that so many condominium corporations choose to operate under a mistaken belief that their residents are technology neophytes who do not have access to computers or the Internet, and are unwilling to use these technologies.
This mindset is evident with the first and arguably most important document provided to prospective condo purchasers. The Status Certificate is a package of material and information provided to prospective condo owners. It contains information that condo owners should know about the condo they are to purchase including by-laws, financial information and rules. This package can be hundreds of pages long. It includes legal matters and terminology, and financial statements. It can be hard to follow and understand.
Despite employing professional management to prepare this document, the Status Certificate is frequently provided in the most disorganized manner possible. It can lack any form of organization or even an explanation of its contents. Basics such as a table of contents or index are frequently non-existent. Pages may not be numbered. How is anyone to understand this complex, important and legally required document when it is presented so poorly?
For condo owners and residents, this failure to communicate extends to everyday interactions. As with the Status Certificate, technology is not being utilized to better present information and communicate with residents even when doing so is desirable to all parties, faster and more economical.
Here are some technologies that can be better utilized by condo corporations.
If Status Certificates are to be prepared in such a disorganized and unmanageable manner they should at least be provided as pdf files. Among the many benefits of this format is that they can be searched by keyword for desired information rather than requiring readers to sift through each page to find what is desired.
Web Site Hosting
An effective web site can provide some of the services currently provided by a management office or concierge. This includes 24 hour access to general information about the condo corporation, its rules, amenity bookings, repair requisitions and commonly asked questions. Effective implementation, in for the form of Condo Management Software, is easy and economical.
While some condo boards cite privacy concerns or lack of personal computers by some residents as reasons to avoid improving communications, these issues have long since been resolved. It is true that a few may still lack the necessary technology. This is not a reason to deprive the majority of what is now a preferred way to obtain information and communicate.
Online Voting and Surveys
Online voting resolves a majority of problems encountered during condo elections while reducing their cost. Online surveys provide an effective way to know what condo owners want and do not want. There remains no credible reason not to utilize existing technologies for these purposes.
These are the basics for effective communication in condo corporations. Once implemented they provide a solid platform for three-way communications among management, condo boards and residents. This is an effective platform to address condo specific matters which may be private and general information inclusive of meeting updates, newsletters and informational communications.
While no single solution is ideal for all, it is past the time for condominium corporations to come out of the wilderness and use these technologies to inform, educate and interact with condo residents.