What happens when condo board members fail to listen to residents and owners – or choose to ignore their concerns?
One thing is certain. Things are unlikely to go well. By failing to communicate effectively, a board can create animosity between itself and the residents it represents. Such a board may be perceived as ineffective, indifferent, or more concerned with personal interests.
The most common cause of these problems is a board failing to communicate what can reasonably be expected from them.
Condo boards have more in the way of responsibilities than there is time for a volunteer board to handle. They need to communicate to residents how best to communicate concerns. Residents should know when concerns will be reviewed or addressed, and when to expect a response.
Without a clear understanding of the communication process, residents are more likely to feel they are being ignored. Board indifference or apathy is likely to be assumed. This creates tension, mistrust and an unwillingness to support the board. Once entrenched, it takes years for such perceptions to be reversed. During this time good intentions such as more open communications or well-intended expenditures may be viewed in a more sinister way.
Improve Board/Resident Relations by following a few basic practices:
- Inform residents of scheduled board meetings. For matters being brought to the board’s attention, this allows residents to know when they will be discussed.
- Require residents to put their concerns in writing.
- Establish a policy as to when residents can receive a response.
- Require that all communication be submitted to the property manager.
- Matters for the board’s attention should be presented to the board at their next meeting.
- Most matters are operational in nature and may relate to noise, waste, basic maintenance or repairs. These should be handled by the property manager as should disputes between residents.
- While resolution can take days or weeks, a management response should occur within 24 hours.
E-mail is an effective tool for communications and written documentation. Condo Management Software goes a step further by permanently storing communications for future reference, review and compilation. It eliminates the risk of communications being misplaced or otherwise becoming unavailable.
For more information on condo management software, see the Condo Archives – Condo Building Management.
For assistance identifying condo management software vendors and products, Condo Resource Guide can help. Look under Condo Software.