Condo Board Optics – Perception Matters

May 2021

Good decisions are expected of condo boards.  Communicating decisions in a clearly understood and digestible way, while not often stated, is also necessary.

Effectively communicating decisions is an essential part of transparency.  Failure to do so has consequences.

A condo board that does the right thing but fails to make residents aware can be faced with misinterpretation and opposition.  Residents are unlikely to support board decisions they believe have been made in secrecy or without proper communication.

Results are important.  So is perception of performance. Owners that feel they have no voice in the process are less likely to be satisfied with results.  They may be entirely unaware of important issues before the board that impact on decisions and create unnecessary conflict.

Condo owners have an economic and personal interest in how the board operates even when they choose not to directly participate. Insufficient information to adequately assess condo board decisions can lead to a lack of trust and confidence in the board.

In condo communities no news is a problem.  Failure to communicate by a condo board is typically perceived as bad by owners in that something is being hidden from them. It is almost always better to communicate as much information as possible even when the information is not positive.  Reasonable owners will be more comfortable with board decisions when they receive accurate and reliable information regardless if good or bad.

Bad optics and communication has negative consequences.  Owner support for changes to governing documents will be harder to obtain even for matters that should have strong support.  Groups of owners are more likely to requisition meetings to discuss matters not communicated to them.

Over communicating can also be a problem.  Some information should just not be communicated.  Certain documents may have to be withheld to protect attorney-client privilege during litigation.  Personal owner information should never be disclosed.  When evaluating new vendors the corporation’s bargaining position would be compromised if bids, proposals or prices were divulged.

Condo boards have good reason to withhold some information.  They have greater credibility when reasons for doing so are explained.