Self-Managed Condo Corporations

January 2021

Condominium corporations range in size from a few to 500+ units.

When it comes to condominium corporations, size matters.  Some prefer larger communities full of amenities and nearer to activities.  Others prefer the quieter and more intimate environment found in smaller communities.  While many of the issues faced by these communities are universal, smaller communities have some unique challenges.

Smaller communities can’t always afford full-time management services.  The cost per owner is too high.  Conversely, a condominium manager cannot afford to do all the work necessary for a smaller community without being employed full-time.  A different approach becomes necessary.

Managers of smaller and larger communities have the same responsibilities.  Financial statements need to be produced and bills paid.  Contractors need to be managed.  Common areas need to be maintained, life safety and mechanical systems inspected, meetings arranged and attended, and communications.

Some communities choose to self-manage rather than avail themselves of professional management.  Daily maintenance, tax filings, meetings and conflict resolution may be handled by a owners.  Gardening, landscaping and other services may cost nearly as much for a smaller community as for a larger one.  Part-time staff – condominium management, accounting and legal – may be employed as needed.  Everyone will pitch in where they can to help.

Boutique property management companies may bring together a number of smaller communities to be managed by a single manager.  Costs can be further reduced by sharing a single superintendent, landscaping company, snow plowing service and/or security service.  Technology can be employed to communicate with residents.  Each community pays only for the services they require or desire.

Lack of professional guidance is cited as one of the greatest challenges for condo communities according to Liron Daniels, President of Nadlan-Harris Property Management.  “Volunteer homeowners are usually not equipped with the skills and experience needed to manage a condominium corporation.  When all is said and done, self-management of a condominium corporation may not offer advantages over employing a condominium manager.”

Where self-managed condominium 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  When these individuals are no longer active or involved, boards often lack the individuals and commitment necessary to continue the work.

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