Simple Solution to Most Condo Issues

In life most solutions to problems are relatively simple.

In condo management the same is true. Virtually all concerns can be easily resolved if people can avoid creating complexity. People tend to create complexity because they are lazy or to avoid change. Both create irrational conflict, confusion and unnecessary cost to condo owners.

Resistance to change is strong even when the change benefits everyone.

Good condo boards understand that resistance to change is often irrational. They learn to avoid personal biases and make decisions based on practical considerations to benefit the condo corporation.

Take two examples.

Electricity costs are skyrocketing. Older condo buildings continue to prefer bulk metering – the status quo – over in-suite sub-metering. There is a wealth of information supporting the financial benefits of in-suite sub-metering. Savings can amount to thousands of dollars a year for individual suites and hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for condo corporations. Yet resistance is strong. Opposition comes from those with anecdotal stories about the ineffectiveness of in-suite sub-metering, innovative calculations to suggest experts are wrong when they present data from buildings that have implemented sub-metering, and those who fear they are energy hogs who will end up paying their fair share should sub-metering be implemented.

Garbage smells. It should be deposited down a trash chute or in the trash room. Signs are posted telling people where to leave their garbage. Yet people leave trash sitting on the floor, in the trash chute, in parking areas or elsewhere. They discard items in the trash chute that are too large and block the chute, thus requiring unblocking so that the chute is once again usable. For the sake a few seconds or the need to avoid a trip on the elevator, the majority of condo residents suffer from the smell and sight of garbage plus what can be permanent damage to walls and floors.

In place of strict enforcement, some condo corporations resort to costly and time consuming efforts that include locking trash chutes at 10 pm to avoid disrupting residents, paying cleaning staff to deal with trash in parking areas and investing in security cameras. The cost can be tens of thousands of dollars a year and loss of resale value without solving the problem.

All of this is to deal with people who are too lazy to properly discard their trash.

Each condo corporation must choose between the common good and catering to individual biases. Quality buildings where individuals prefer to reside choose the common good.