Helping the New Kids on the Block Working With New Board Members

Though often responsible for millions of dollars in property and charged with the oversight of complex building functions, few co-op/condo board members are real estate professionals. Board members are resident volunteers who come from many walks of life and various professional backgrounds—most of which don’t include a lot of experience running a multifamily building or development.

The learning curve for a new board member can be steep, especially if that board member is not dedicated to acquainting themselves with an association’s affairs. Until their on-the-job experience catches up with their duties, new board members often will rely heavily on more experienced fellow board members for direction. Their main guide is usually the property manager.

It’s generally in property managers’ best interest to help new board members become effective decision-makers for their associations. Depending upon the property manager or the management company, that might mean having them familiarize themselves with certain documents related to the community, or recommending that they join organizations meant to facilitate property management.

Getting new board members up to speed is a two-way street, of course. The new member must take their responsibility as part of the board seriously, and he or she must do the work needed to make wise decisions. Without effort and commitment, all of the pointers, tips and suggestions provided by a property manager won’t automatically transform a new board member into a good board member.

Questions & Answers

Property managers can help new board members to understand the scope of their role on the board by acquainting them with the duties and responsibilities spelled out in the community’s bylaws. The property manager also provides each new board member with a list of shareholder/owners and their contact information, copies of the HOA’s bylaws, and a copy of the proprietary lease or the condominium declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&R).

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