Board Resource Guide: Co-op and Condo Board Etiquette Proper Protocols for Servinc on the Board

Serving the board of your co-op or condo can offer many benefits, but also bring many challenges. As board members also live among residents they serve, community issues are always present. It can turn into a 24/7 job that interferes with personal time, and when neighbors don't respect boundaries, being on the board can become more of a hassle than it's worth.

Running in Neutral

As a member of the board, your first responsibility is to your co-op or condo as well as your fellow owners and neighbors. It's not a small task and as it is largely a fiduciary responsibility, it's essential to stay neutral and impartial on community matters. This, however, is often easier said than done.

A truly effective board member should have either a solid business/management background or be a skilled communicator. In addition, says Diane Dangler, president of DHD Management, and the manager of community associations for Alderbrook Condo Association in Little Silver, "A board [member] should be someone who can represent everyone unilaterally, and who doesn't have a specific personal agenda. They [have to] lead people and be nonjudgmental, and have the ability to work knowing that there may be some neighbors who don't agree with or appreciate them."

"You are there to serve the entire community and individual biases shouldn't get in the way of your overall decision," says Curt Macysyn, executive vice president of the New Jersey chapter of the Community Associations Institute (CAI). "Once you walk in the door as board member, take off your hat as an individual unit owner. Clearly it's a different mindset, and you must make decisions that are in the best interest of the entire community."

"There's always going to be a personal consideration that's made in every situation, if you're an accountant you're going to look at something differently than someone who is a hairstylist. Everyone brings a different perspective, but a decision itself has to be made for the betterment of an entire community," he says.

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4 Comments

  • Can you tell me of anyplace that states where condo association meetings can be held? I have an upcoming hearing and my board routinely meets in the open at either a Barnes & Noble bookstore coffee shop or Panara Bread restraent. I do not wish to hold my hearing in such a public setting.
  • There are assigned positions to each board member. After discussion among board members it was conceded by all to take out some trees that proved to be a hazard in walking paths from the slippery fruit droppings. Question. Was it not proper then for the lawn person along with the president to proceed without any other discussion? Is there not a protocol in this situation? In this situation, is it not right/proper for the lawn person and the president to act according to the owners request? We are talking safety. Many elderly live here. ALSO, isn't it respectful to work through the person in charge of buildings, lawn, etc.? Lawn companies in particularly do not want to take "orders" outside of their contact person . We have 2 "power people" on the board. With all due respect, I could be mistaken, but they do not understand protocol. Please use my emil too if you can. I need assistance quickly.
  • We have had problems keeping our Board together and now have only 3 members. At a meeting last evening one member would not attend because he did not receive his meeting package more that two days in advance of the meeting. So we were left with 2 members at the meeting. We are aware that there are a couple of residents who have indicated that they are considering running for the boRd at our next AGM. Can we invite these people to join the board without a special residents' meeting. The one member who would not attend is continuing to be argumentative and very inflexible at our meetings and we achieve very little at the meeting. Thank you for your advice
  • What is allowed by a condo board under an emergency protocol.