It doesn’t matter if you are managing a towering high-rise or a sprawling suburban association, co-op and condo boards usually have their fair share of problems to be solved and emergencies to be defused. Talk to enough people who have dealt with these situations and they can tell you that it’s no picnic—at times quarrels between neighbors can get ugly, and elected administrators sometimes act selfishly instead of for the greater good.
So how should a board conduct itself? Perhaps a better question to ask is how a board should not conduct itself. With these tips, conflicts and long, drawn-out battles can be avoided to create a more enjoyable, functional living atmosphere for all.
The mistakes often start with the easiest things to handle. According to the pros, keeping things organized is key.
“Boards need to create structure and an environment that allows for a proper governing body,” says Paul Santoriello, PCAM, CMCA, AMS, the president and director of property management at Taylor Management Company in Whippany. Santoriello believes the keys to a well-functioning board are an open dialogue, the ability to agree to disagree, respect between board members and healthy relationships with management staff.
“You have to put policy and structure into place to communicate properly,” he says, urging boards to find a happy medium during conflicts so that things can flow smoothly. “When the board doesn’t agree, it’s impossible to sell the unit owners on anything.”