How Condominium Corporation Leaders Create Happy Communities

Posted on Monday January 16, 2017

What makes a condominium community happy? A lot goes into it, but it’s no secret that much of it depends on community leadership. That includes members of the condominium board and, if professional management is involved, your property manager. This also applies to the management company and the team supporting the property manager.

When these individuals know their rights and responsibilities, they can be successful in their roles. When that happens, everyone in the community wins!

So let’s take a look at what some of these rights and responsibilities are. You could think of it as a checklist – or the steps to a happy community.
The rights of community leaders include:
1.       Counting on owners and residents. Everyone who lives in the community should do their financial part by paying dues and assessments to the condominium corporation in a timely manner.
2.       Relying on homeowners to know – and follow – the rules. Community leaders should be able to wholeheartedly place their trust in residents to be knowledgeable about all the condominium corporation rules and regulations. Beyond knowledge, they should be able to expect compliance, too.
3.       Respect. We’re talking about both receiving it and giving it. Mutual respect among residents, property managers and condominium leadership should be a given.   
4.       Meetings that matter. When residents and board members get together, the focus should be on constructive outcomes.
5.       Collaboration. It takes an entire team to build a community, so board members and the professional property management company should be able to rely on residents to do their part, too.
6.       Privacy. Board members are just like everyone else – they deserve downtime, off the clock. That means residents can’t expect them to be “on” while they’re at their homes or when attending community activities.
7.       Improvement.  Access to training and workshops goes a long way toward making board members better at what they do. Your professional management company should provide educational opportunities, and board members should take advantage of them.
Community leaders have a responsibility to:
1.       Work for the good of the community. Board members and property managers have many responsibilities, including the kind of fiscal stewardship that enables a condominium community to maintain its lifestyle standards. Further, it’s up to them to set the long-term vision for the community and to enact the strategies and tactics it takes to realize it. This includes protecting and enhancing the community brand. The property management company should go beyond its contract with the community to provide the best possible customer service. Residents should feel proud of the service they receive and confident that they can trust their management team to look out for their interests.
2.       Know their stuff. Board members and property managers should be knowledgeable when it comes to the ins and outs of the condominium corporation’s governing documents, local laws, bylaws and regulations. It’s incumbent upon them to keep apprised of all revisions and changes to these. For example, they should have an understanding of the changes made to Bill 106 and the implications of these changes when the regulations are finalized.
3.       Roll out the welcome mat. It’s up to leadership to welcome new residents – and that means owners and non-owners alike. This not only helps establish a neighbourly rapport, but also provides a way for newcomers to become familiar with community standards and expectations. A great way to do this is by having a dedicated welcome coordinator whose job is to make new residents feel at home.    
4.       Be responsive. When residents ask for records and documents, it’s up to leadership to provide them. Specialized property management software or a community website can make it easier for residents to access documents at their convenience.
5.       Collect dues and assessments. Community leaders wear many hats, with “collector” being one of them, but that doesn’t make them bad guys. A good property manager or board member will help homeowners undergoing hardship to find a payment plan that enables them to meet their financial commitments. Foreclosure is the last avenue to pursue and only after all other potential solutions have been explored.
6.       Keep communication open. Community leaders should keep communication at the forefront of their agenda. Emails, fliers and newsletters are a great way to keep residents informed – and connected. However, communication is a two-way street, so it’s wise to establish an advisory committee that determines best practices for soliciting community member input.  
7.       Create community. A sense of togetherness happens through engagement. Leadership should create a robust calendar of social and entertainment events that bring residents together. Providing opportunities for residents to participate in committees also helps them feel a sense of community. After all, creating a sense of community is the key to a successful condominium corporation.
Board members and property managers have a big role to play when it comes to creating a vibrant, happy community. It happens through having your expectations met – and through exceeding your responsibilities. Together, that will result in a community that exceeds your residents’ expectations. For more information on your condominium leadership’s rights and responsibilities and how to make your condominium community happy, contact FirstService Residential, Ontario’s leading property management company.


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