Resident Complaints

December 2020

Directors serving on a condo board do their best as volunteers trying to assist the community in what can be a thankless role.  At times they make decisions that disappoint some.  Mistakes occur from time to time.

Residents, when upset about a decision or mistake, may complain in ways that are neither polite nor productive.  Cornering a director as they leave their home or in the exercise room is unlikely to produce a satisfactory outcome.

All communities have a way to inform or communicate with directors or management.  Typically these communications are requested to be in writing, via e-mail or using an internal communication system.  Some residents choose to make their personal frustrations public for all to see on social media in the hope of receiving support or validation.  Good boards are unlikely to respond to any concern communicated in this manner.

Condo boards and management deal with concurrent problems, concerns and complaints.  They take the time needed to provide everyone with a response.  In buildings with hundreds of people it can take days or weeks before someone is able to delve into a concern and respond.  If complaints or concerns are prioritized, as they should be, urgent matters will receive a quick response with other matters delayed until time is available to deal with them.

There is usually a procedure for following up on complaints that management and residents are expected to follow.  This typically requires all communications to be in writing.  For residents it is best if they are informed before writing to the board or management.  Substantiate any concern or complaint with pictures, dates, times and other information.  Check the rules or website for information before asking someone to provide what is readily available.

Residents writing the board about matters they should be informed on, perhaps because they fail to be aware of condo rules, may find they wait the longest for a response.  Those making unfounded accusations, lacking proof or based on innuendo, may simply be ignored.  Residents who attend meetings and inspect records prior to communicating concerns, and referencing this information, tend to be more credible and are taken more seriously.

When communications are in writing there exists a clear paper trail relating to a problem or concern.  Be specific and concise but include relevant details.  Always offer a solution or what you want to see as resolution.

Condo boards meet infrequently and may have a full meeting agenda.  It can take months for non-urgent matters to be brought to their attention.

There are times when management is unresponsive or misguided.  Written correspondence showing a pattern of unresponsiveness, inaction or mismanagement can become important when directors seek re-election or if legal action occurs.