Property Management 101: Top Tips for Board Members

Posted on Tuesday June 21, 2016

As a condominium board member, you know you have a huge part to play in ensuring a great lifestyle for your residents. It’s your job to provide leadership, ensure financial stability, and create a sense of togetherness.
No small task, right? So don’t worry if you sometimes feel overwhelmed. And for those moments, consult these helpful tips for new board members and experienced ones alike.
1.    The community comes first.
As a board member, the decisions you make must be made for the good of the entire community. You must set aside your personal interests (and you certainly can’t enter into board leadership with any kind of agenda). You were elected because you care about the condominium corporation and all of its members. Putting the community first will enhance your credibility and enable you to do your job better.

2.    Your property manager is your partner.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a property manager, then you’re in luck. But to get the most out of that relationship, it’s important to remember their proper role. Whereas board members set policies and make decisions regarding those policies, your property manager is there to enforce your policies and oversee certain operational duties, too. Even if you’ve been a property manager in the past, it’s important to let your manager do his or her job – the best you can do is offer support.

3.    Keep it neighbourly.
Let’s be realistic: board meetings can sometimes become contentious. And though there’s nothing wrong with a robust debate – in fact, it’s healthy – it’s crucial to remember your fellow board members are your neighbors and should be accorded respect. Keeping it friendly and trying to see things from another’s perspective go a long way toward creating a healthy atmosphere for board activities.

 4.    Keep learning.
The more you know, the more effective you’ll be. It’s really that simple. So take advantage of seminars, books, industry articles and networking activities that are designed to make you a better board member. You can also talk to members of other condominium corporation boards, and your property manager is a great source of knowledge, too. Look to unexpected places as well – city officials, police and other public servants will have insight into your community that may influence how you choose to help govern it.
5.    Be responsible.
Every board member has an important role to play. Maybe you’re in charge of the finances and budget. Perhaps it’s your job to prepare and disseminate the agenda. Maybe a committee answers to you. No matter what your role, treat it seriously. And if you’re leading a matter for discussion, always provide information to the board ahead of time so your fellow board members can weigh the facts before discussion begins.
6.    Don’t procrastinate.
Addressing a community member’s concern right away is one of the hallmarks of a great board member. He who hesitates is lost – and also loses the trust and respect of a resident. So even if you don’t have an answer right away, always try to research the issue and get back to the resident as soon as possible.

7.    Consider a property manager. 
Whether you’re new to board membership or a seasoned veteran, one thing’s for sure: you know it’s a big job. Quality condominium property management can make a big difference for you. It puts a seasoned professional in your corner, working shoulder to shoulder with you for the good of your community. It’s wise to research the top Toronto property management companies before making your decision. And if you’ve already engaged with a firm, ask yourself if they’re doing everything you expect of them – or if it’s time to look elsewhere.
 8.    Transparency rules.
The board should keep the community in the loop (except when it comes to privileged or private information, of course). Openly communicating board activities, and inviting residents to meetings when appropriate, forges a bond between the board and the community. It also fosters trust, which is essential to a properly functioning board.

9.    Get people together.
You should know the people you serve. But in a large community, sometimes it’s a challenge. Consider holding a food drive, fundraiser or other event by way of solution. This will not only enable you to meet your fellow residents and neighbors, but it will also help build your condo corporation’s reputation as a thriving organization – something that factors in heavily in the decision-making of potential new residents.

10.  Follow the rules.
Just because you help make some of the rules doesn’t mean you can break them. In fact, as a board member, you’re held to an even higher standard when it comes to compliance. That goes for everything from adhering to parking restrictions to cleaning up after your pet and beyond. As a board member, the expectations are greater for you. This role is an opportunity for you to build community spirit through example.

There is no greater privilege than serving your community. Remember these tips, and you’ll do so in exemplary fashion. For more advice or to inquire about Toronto residential property management services, contact FirstService Residential today.

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