It may not be the most exciting task, but maintaining good records is critical to keeping your condominium corporation running smoothly. A reliable system for keeping your paperwork organized can be a big help in enabling you to preserve and locate important communications, increase efficiency, and provide transparency.
If organization isn’t your strong suit, don’t fret. Just follow these six simple guidelines to easily manage your paperwork.
  1. Assign someone to be the official record keeper. 
Having one person accountable for keeping records is an absolute must. Without this, it’s likely that no one will take responsibility. Your community manager can be your go-to person when it comes to record keeping. If you don’t have a community manager, your condo board secretary will probably need to handle this important role.
  1. Know what’s most important.
It may seem that every document is equally essential, but some documents are more crucial than others. Keep the most important ones easily accessible, especially those that your condo board needs to reference regularly. This would include documents like your condominium plan, site plans, bylaws, copy of the Condominium Property Act, and reserve fund study.
Create files that are clearly identifiable and readily available for other important documents: insurance policies, financial records (such as, budget, financial statements, billing statements), vendor contracts, meeting minutes, warranties, maintenance records, and homeowner communications. The board may need to reference these for guidance when they have questions or need to settle disagreements.
  1. Get familiar with applicable laws.
Laws regarding record keeping for condo corporations can sometimes be vague, and you’ll probably find this to be true in Alberta as well. Nevertheless, ask your auditor or condominium lawyer about legal requirements. An experienced property management company will also have a good understanding of the laws regarding this aspect of record keeping.
  1. Make documents available to resident.
Transparency is important in a condo corporation. Residents have a right to see many of your documents, such as:
  • Bylaws
  • Meeting minutes
  • Approved contracts
  • Governing documents
  • Monthly and annual financial statements
Keep these documents easily accessible, either at a central office or by establishing an internal communications system. Your property management company can help you implement such a system.
  1. Maintain confidentiality.
Although residents should have access to a wide range of information, some documents may be protected under applicable law. For example, documents that reference ongoing contract negotiations, privacy issues, litigation strategies, employment matters, or specific delinquency concerns might be protected to preserve confidentiality. Your community manager can provide guidance about how your board should handle different types of documents. 
Your condo board may still be able to keep residents informed while maintaining confidentiality. Some ways of doing this are by providing summaries of significant events in your community newsletter or by inviting residents to informal, informational gatherings where they can ask general questions. It’s a good idea to have your community manager present at these events, as well as your corporation’s lawyer. 
  1. Go electronic. 
File cabinets filled with paper can take up a lot of space and become unruly. Instead, store documents electronically to make them easier to maintain and access. You can even scan existing paper documents. Does that sound like a big job? A property management company can set up a system for scanning and filing important documents that makes your records searchable and easy to locate. In addition, your management company can help you put appropriate firewalls and security measures in place so that records are secure.
With an efficient system in place, finding important papers will no longer cause headaches. You’ll see improvements in how your condo board runs the business of your corporation and avoid having issues due to misplaced documents.

Find out more about organizing your paperwork. Contact FirstService Residential, Alberta’s leading property management company.
Tuesday August 09, 2016