There is a lesson in the battles between Mayor Rob Ford and City Council for condo corporations in the Yonge North Corridor.
This is a lesson that many will hopefully learn sooner rather than later.
Rick Mercer of The Mercer Report explains it best when he said “we would rather have a guy on crack than a mayor who will raise our taxes …. we will vote for a gerbil if we get a dollar back.…his politics are very real and they should not be written off just because he is about to be.”
Any candidate for your board of directors who promises to find efficiencies, or to freeze or lower monthly maintenance fees, will be a popular candidate. They will collect many proxies; more than one would expect. Such demagogues are both foolish and dangerous yet they can and do win many condo elections. These people can and sometimes do cause damage to the condo corporation that takes many years and considerable sums of money to correct. To achieve the promised reduction in monthly maintenance fees maintenance may be neglected, the building may become filthy, undesirable pests may thrive, bills may not be paid on time and reserve funds may be depleted. Some owners will understand what may be happening and ask pointed questions about how fees can be reduced. Many will be more focused on saving a few dollars today regardless of the added costs or destruction of lifestyle that will shortly become evident. Well run condos take steps to ensure their corporation retains a competent board before such candidates appear.
They educate owners on how their money is spent. They explain why monthly maintenance fees need to keep up, and sometimes exceed, the rate of inflation.
They explain how funds reinvested in the building lead to a pride in ownership, an enjoyable lifestyle and rising property values.
They actively educate owners prior to elections so that they do not blindly hand over their proxy to the first person who knocks on the door.
This article is based on an editorial of the same title that appeared on the CondoMadness web site at www.condomadness.info. It has been modified with their permission.