When you buy into a condominium community, you buy into a lifestyle. A great deal of the appeal this lifestyle holds is the freedom it entails. Condo owners have built-in security. Owners can pack up and leave for a vacation with no worries about leaving their home untended.
They don't have to stress about shoveling snow or cutting grass. Their buildings often have very nice amenities—swimming pools, gyms, party rooms, rooftop decks for entertaining. The list of condo lifestyle benefits is lengthy and familiar.
But a condominium community does not run itself. Someone has to ensure that the daily affairs of the building and the concerns of the individual owners are dealt with in a timely and satisfactory way. For this reason, each condo community, which is a registered corporation under law, elects a board of directors to oversee the organization's finances, including how much each owner must pay in maintenance fees, and to enact and enforce rules and regulations (bylaws) to govern the life of the community.
To assist them in this, the board of directors will hire a property manager or a property management company. The primary duties of the property management company in a condominium include collecting common expense fees (maintenance fees), keeping records, maintaining the common elements of the community, maintaining security in the building(s), maintaining environmental standards, procuring appropriate insurance, preparing tax returns, and liaising with the board of directors. The property manager will also be required to liaise with the owners on a more or less daily basis, as a superintendent in an apartment building would.
The role of property management is pretty cut and dried, outlined as above. But in reality, of course, since property managers are people, and condo owners are people, the potential for problems to arise between them is virtually unlimited. Managers are often accused of being incompetent, lazy, unavailable, unresponsive, rude, and ill-tempered—the list goes on. And owners too can sometimes be unreasonable, demanding, complicated, and inflexible—this list goes on too. There are bound to be conflicts, misunderstandings, grievances, miscommunications, and all the other failings that make living with other people challenging.
Here are some tips to help you build a happier condo community:
- Flaunt the Building’s Facilities: Ensure that your residents are getting the most out of their premises by sending them notifications about new installations, or reminders about facilities in their condo community. Make community facilities easy to access and residents are more likely to use them. Let residents book online using a service so that they can then schedule things without having to find a manager.
- Increase Frequency of Communication: The first part of creating a positive and functional relationship between condo residents and their condo is to improve communication. The importance of emails and to-date notifications simply can't be overstated. Residents feel happier when they are aware of what is happening in their community. When residents can contact management without difficulty, they are less likely to become frustrated when an issue does arise. Don't sit behind your desk – send push notifications to your residents notifying them to changes in the building or even just telling them about the new facility hours.
- Be Readily Accessible: First off, we don't recommend sleeping in the office and leaving your phone ringer on loud all night to respond to resident complaints. Allow residents access to information about their community at any time by keeping an up-to-date frequently asked questions page. Use files and folders to enable residents to get the answers they need as well as any useful documents immediately.
The takeaway here is that the success of a condominium community depends on to a large degree on the quality of its board and its management team. As an owner, you would be well advised to oversee the quality of management that exists.
Looking to hire a licensed property management company?
Braden Equities Inc. has been successfully managing condominium buildings in Edmonton since the 1970s. A lot has changed since then, but our commitment to the residents living in each building we operate has not. Contact us today.