Taking Ownership

April 2024

Condominium communities struggle with a shortage of individuals prepared to take ownership.  Many residents expect management to do this or take care of that.  Few are prepared to take ownership of a problem and work to resolve it.  Many are full of ideas but expect someone else to execute or implement.  They think the board is responsible for everything despite it being a volunteer position.

The idea of serving on the condo board or committees can be daunting.  There can be endless meetings, arguments and blame when friends or neighbours are unhappy with decisions.  More often, the problem is apathy.  Most don’t care enough to get involved.  Wait long enough and someone else will volunteer.  Those willing to serve can do so for years, perhaps decades, which can bring its own set of problems.

Reasons for Apathy

Owners choose not to participate on the condo board for reasons that include lack of experience or knowledge.  Perhaps renter mentality is the problem.  New owners coming from a rental environment or living at home have difficulty without access to a landlord for addressing repairs and other concerns.  Becoming involved in managing a home for many people requires greater awareness than some possess.

Some presume the only individuals qualified to sit on the board come from the specialties of law, accounting, engineering or architecture.  While everyone is well-intentioned, many are also quite busy.  They have a perception that serving on the condo board is thankless, time consuming and not worth their time.

It can be easier and more comforting to not become involved in a decision-making capacity.

In reality, many of the best condo directors don’t come from any of these fields.  They recognize that their home is their greatest asset, and the required work to maintain it.  They understand that buying into a community includes a degree of involvement in its management and governance.

Directors can Increase Board Participation

A transparent and open board has less resistance.  Apathy is often a fear of the unknown which disappears with transparency.  Increasing transparency requires good and continuous communication.

Spread the work out among board members and committees so it doesn’t all fall on just a couple of board members.  Let people know what opportunities exist to get involved and improve their home.

Get people involved by creating committees and having them serve.  This provides an introduction to how groups meet, work together and limited decision-making authority.  Make meetings enjoyable by providing beverages or snacks.  Use committees as a way to train future board members.  Empowered committee members will be more interested in joining the board when a position opens.