Condo Corporation Management – Harder than it seems

March 2017

Property management is a challenge for some condo corporations. Some choose self-management to employing a condominium manager.

Self-management can be effective when condo owners are prepared to share the risk and do the work.

Self-management is frequently considered a way to save money. This equation may not consider that employing a property management firm provides certain advantages including management of risk.

Relying on a single individual, frequently a volunteer, in itself is risky. Volunteers don’t last forever. They may find other interests. A volunteer may not be willing to provide sufficient hours to adequately manage a property. They may take ill. Records may not be organized leading to problems tracking condo fees due and collected. Bills may be go unpaid resulting in problems with vendors.

Landscaping, trash pickup and other tasks that are part of condo living must be handled on a daily or weekly basis. If records are stored in someone’s suite, potential lack of access to these records can be disastrous for the corporation.

There are complexities in enforcing the Condo Act, declaration, bylaws and rules. When there is conflict among residents, or between residents and directors, a professional condominium manager provides a perspective and skills that are unlikely to exist in a self-managed corporation.

Many of the savings from not employing professional management may be offset by the need to employ other expertise such as an accountant.

A director serving as condominium manager, paid or unpaid, is risky. There can be insufficient oversight over their management and easy access to condo funds without adequate controls.

Condominium managers are expected to manage the books, pay bills, ensure building work is done properly, deal with vendor issues and handle what can be personal resident issues. Managing amenities can provide an added level of complexity to condo management. This requires experience and a significant time commitment.

Board members can afford to be trusting and conduct the affairs of the corporation in what may be described as a lackadaisical manner. They can be less concerned about implementation and more focused on making decisions. Professional management is expected to fill these gaps and ensure the corporation is managed according to various laws and best practices.

Where self-managed condo corporations succeed, it is likely that one or two individuals have taken on most of the necessary work. When these individuals are no longer active or involved, boards often lack the individuals and commitment necessary to continue the work.

With property management firms available to provide both full-time and limited services to condo corporations, the value of self-management for condo corporations is less clear than it once was.



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