How well is your condo board functioning? Do your meetings feel fluid and productive, or are you stuck in a rut? Do members of your condo corporation trust your board, or are people starting to raise questions about how operations are run? Regardless of how well you think your board is currently functioning, it is always a good idea to conduct a thorough, honest evaluation of your board.
By conducting an evaluation, you and the other board members can determine your board’s strengths and weaknesses and see what areas need more attention. Below are some important areas on which to focus your evaluation to ensure your condominium board is functioning effectively. Go through each area, either individually or as a group, and score your board’s performance from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent).
After completing your evaluation, your board can work to address your problem areas and figure out ways to improve upon your strengths. Hiring the right property management company can help you conduct an unbiased, professional evaluation. A good management company can then guide you toward becoming a stronger, more effective condo board. If you currently work with a good property management company, you should engage your community manager in this process.
Key Areas to Evaluate
  • Finances: Your budget and spending practices are important considerations. After all, you are dealing with everyone’s money and making monetary decisions that affect the entire community.
Is the budget regularly balanced? Are you earmarking money for beneficial expenses such as lawn care, property maintenance, trash pickup, etc.? Are financial reports reviewed regularly at board meetings? Is the board being transparent with how you are spending the community’s money? Are fraud-protection measures in place?

There is no easier way to gain trust – or erode it – than by how you handle financial responsibilities, so make sure your board scores high in this area. If not, you should consider a great property management company to help increase your financial stability. Your community’s financial health depends on it!
  • Communication: This is a key area. Keeping residents and fellow board members informed on new items and up to speed on things such as bylaws, rules and regulations, and events is critical to success.
Does the board exercise all means of communicating such as newsletters, bulletin boards and social media? If there are problems in the community, is the board aware of them, and do the members actively address concerns? Does the board welcome community input and suggestions and address them regularly at meetings? Proper communications means there are no secrets, and the board is an open book to its residents and community.
  • Leadership: A condo board without strong leaders can feel like a ship without a captain. Are the procedures for electing new members, appointing committee duties and finding training sessions the best they can be? Are the board’s roles and responsibilities transparent and trusted by members of the community? Do the residents in your community respect the board? Evaluate your board as honestly as possible. Doing so is the only way to ensure this area is a strength for your community.
  • Governance: There are rules and regulations for operating as a condo board. Quite simply, are you following those rules? Are you adhering to the local, provincial and federal regulations? Is your board operating according to the drafted documents that brought the condo corporation into existence? You expect corporation members to live by the rules and regulations in place in your community. If board members aren’t following them, how can you expect residents to do so? Lead by example.
  • Meetings: When gathering as a board, it is important that your meetings are efficient, easily accessible and run smoothly. It’s also crucial that all board members know when and where these meetings are taking place. A board meeting is a place where the public gets to see how well you work together for the community’s good. You’re running a business, so professionalism is paramount:
    • Is the meeting agenda prepared and given to everyone in attendance?
    • Are meeting times and locations posted in advance and made known to all interested parties?
    • Are all meetings conducted with a quorum?
    • Do board members treat each other’s comments and ideas with respect?
    • Do all community members understand the meetings they are invited to attend (Annual General Meeting and Extraordinary General meetings), as well as how to ask for a presence at other meetings if needed?
  • Reserves: Every board has day-to-day expenses. But what about those major projects that each board must tackle from time to time, such as roof repairs, major landscaping, new construction and other costly projects? Your reserve fund is there for this reason. It is a savings account of sorts for when these items come up.
If an emergency repair is needed, is the board prepared financially to take care of these matters in short order, or are you in a position in which you need to levy assessments to pay for a project? Do you need help to determine how to best fund and utilize your reserve account?

This is a huge responsibility for board members, and if you aren’t prepared for future expenses, it could have a negative impact on the community. It is another area of expertise with which a good property management company can assist your board to ensure your reserves are in good standing order.
So, how did you do? Considering your overall score, does your board have areas in which it can improve?
If you are interested in seeking help to improve or enhance your board’s strengths, contact FirstService Residential, Alberta’s leader in property and condominium management.
Tuesday February 07, 2017