Self-Managed Condo Buildings – Pros and Cons

May 2019

Self-managed condo buildings can appear to be a bargain.  Rather than paying tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars hiring employees to maintain common areas the community works together to handle these tasks on their own.

Self-management for condo communities is a budget saving option that offers advantages and disadvantages.

Condo fees are less because there is no professional management.  This can be an individual savings of thousands of dollars a year.  All it takes is a conversation among neighbours to undertake a project or get something done.  Sharing tasks helps build cohesion and a sense of community.  Working together to maintain a home ensures people get to know each other.

If this was all there was to it, perhaps more condo communities would choose self-management.

There is much more work to managing a building.  So much work that it can be a second job … or two … or three.  Trash, snow clearing, gardening and maintenance issues can take a lot of time.  Municipal laws require that fire safety systems not only exist but be maintained and tested.  Elevators require ongoing servicing until they need to be replaced.  Roofs leak, pipes burst and windows break.  When something breaks, someone needs to be informed so they can figure out whom to call and have it fixed.  Security matters are too numerous to mention.  And preparing annual financial reports per the law and for resale purposes requires proper record keeping and reporting.  Finally, failure to comply with municipal, provincial and federal laws can lead to costly fines, penalties and legal liabilities.

At times it may appear that condo management is unreasonably focused on rules.  Yet these rules are necessary to ensure everyone is treated equally, fairly and in accordance with various laws.  Condo rules, by-laws and declarations exist to ensure everyone is provided with necessary information for condo living.  Without establishing a standard to which all condo residents and owners are expected to comply, there would be no reasonable way to enforce these standards for the benefit of the community.  Disputes would be more frequent and conflict resolution more difficult.

Few want to live in a self-managed community.  They prefer to pay a fee for professional management to ensure things are done correctly.

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