Property Management 101: Top Tips for Board Members
Being a board member is an extremely important role because you are ensuring your residents are living comfortably and safely at all times. Your residents depend on your guidance and decision-making to ensure you are securing them in regards to financial stability, building a community lifestyle, and keeping the property clean and safe.
It may feel overwhelming at times, but sometimes you have to stop and think about how you want to accomplish your goals. Look towards these top tips that both new board members and experienced ones can benefit from. 
 1. The community comes first.
 You probably wanted to become a board member to better your community. Your decisions directly affect all residents and should be made in good faith. This means putting aside any of your interests when making decisions. Putting the interests of your community first will build good relationships and credibility among your fellow residents. 
 2. Your property manager is your partner.
 Having a property manager in your corner is a huge benefit because they will help enforce any of the rules and policies that were voted on by the board. Making the most of this relationship will help both of you in succeeding, as there should always be mutual support. This holds even if you held the position of property manager before. If you are now a board member instead, you should let the property manager handle their duties themselves, and help them in any way you can. 
 3. Keep it neighbourly.
 A realistic view is that not all board member meetings will be smooth sailing. They may become a bit contentious, and while there’s nothing wrong with that – indeed it’s important to keep in mind that your colleagues are also your neighbours. They should be treated respectfully, and sometimes debates should be turned into a healthy dialogue. This will allow multiple viewpoints to be shared and it goes a long way towards building a positive environment for board activities.
  4. Keep learning.
 The more knowledgeable you are about the rules and regulations to help govern your community, the better. There are many outlets where you can learn new ideas, such as seminars, books, industry articles, and networking activities which are designed to help you become a better board member. Networking is especially important when you are talking with other condominium corporation board members and property managers
 5. Be responsible.
 Some different designations and roles can be given to board members, all of which are important to the governing of a community. This can be administrative work, financing and budgeting, event planning, and much more. You may even have the job of preparing and disseminating the agenda or be one of the leader board members where a committee answers to you. Despite what role you get, you should always take it seriously and with pride. This helps motivate other board members, especially if you are in a higher position. For example, if you are leading a discussion, be sure to provide information to the board ahead of time so the other board members can be better prepared before any meeting begins. 
 6. Don’t procrastinate.
 One of your top priorities as a board member should be listening to all resident concerns. Don’t have residents chase after you as this will only upset them and create a lack of trust in your relationship with them. If you don’t have an immediate answer, this is still not an excuse to ignore a resident’s request or concern. Address them with respect, acknowledge what are they asking or telling you, and let them know you will look into the issue. You don’t need to provide an exact timeline, but the quicker you follow up with the resident, the more goodwill you create. 
7. Consider a property manager. 
Whether you are new the world of being a board member, or have years of experience under your belt, being a board member will always be 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 always keep the community in the loop, unless of course it is about a sensitive or private matter. This means keeping residents updated on board activities, and inviting residents to meetings when appropriate. This transparency creates and fosters a bond between the board and the community. There should certainly be no secrets kept among board members or residents, as this could cause a huge cause of concern. Further, there should be no conflicts of interest at any time. Trust 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. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t many ways this can be accomplished. Consider holding a food drive, fundraiser, or another event by way of solution. This will not only enable you to meet your fellow residents and neighbours, but it will also help build your condo corporation’s reputation as a thriving organization – something that factors heavily in the decision-making of potential new residents.
 10. Follow the rules.
Just because you help make the rules does not mean you can break them. Indeed, as a board member, when it comes to compliance, you are held to an even higher standard because you are leading the building. From adhering to parking restrictions to cleaning up after your pet and beyond, that means everything. 
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 our residential property management services, contact FirstService Residential today.
Wednesday July 01, 2020