Become an Effective Condo Board Member

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Being a board member means much more than just snoozing through meetings and rubber-stamping documents. A fully participating member has to have some understanding of everything that is presented in meetings, which may include national and municipal laws affecting associations, the community deed and bylaws, insurance claims, hiring and handling staff, maintenance, project management and financial planning.

Board members need to do their homework and come to meetings prepared to discuss these matters and vote on them intelligently. Hales, president of Hales Property Management in Chicago.


How to be a successful condo board director

Federal, state and local laws and regulations as well as association rules and bylaws were put in place to make community living safe, fair, orderly and pleasant. Every owner in an association should abide by them, and when someone fails to follow the rules, the board must correct the offender. When someone is putting trash in the wrong place or using a hallway to store a bicycle, a written reminder may be sufficient. Larger issues might necessitate an attorney.

The board members needn't be lawyers, but they must see to enforcing rules and laws, and must do so evenhandedly. Nothing will have a bigger impact on the effectiveness of meetings than organization. Before each meeting, solicit topics to be covered and distribute a thorough agenda listing everything that will be discussed—perhaps allowing a few minutes at the end for small matters that might have come up after the docket was finalized. Sticking with the agenda is crucial.

Rudolph says that board members and residents often have personal agendas, making it difficult to remain on topic and causing meetings to run for hours upon hours. Also, record all meeting decisions, made or deferred, and distribute minutes so everyone is on the same page and has a record of what's been considered when. Set up paper and email file systems. The time that organization takes will be repaid many-fold by avoiding lengthy searches for information or, worse, arguments as to what happened. When a large project is in the offing, a member might volunteer, or be named, as a point person.

That director would then be called upon to report at each subsequent meeting until the project is completed.

Become an Effective Condo Board Member

This is especially relevant for small buildings with no manager. Essentially, think of how you accomplish tasks at work, and handle the association's affairs in the same professional way. DO understand association finances. One of the most important responsibilities of a board is being a good steward of the community's money. Just as board members don't have to be lawyers, not every board member is or should be an accountant.

However, everyone can ask questions and learn to follow a financial report and understand what the experts are saying. For instance, when a board member is looking to sell their place, they will usually downplay any deferred maintenance items in an attempt to avoid alerting future buyers of a special assessment or upcoming association expense. The board, often with the help of an association manager and an accountant, must establish a realistic budget that includes mandatory reserve funds. If the budget is exorbitant or if reserve funds are not in place, the association's finances will be one major incident away from collapse.

Finally, consider what kind of a commitment you are able to make before getting involved. How often does your board meet and how long are the meetings? Most boards meet at least once a month, but some communities with a smaller staff may meet just a few times a year. Summer can also be a time when things slow down because of people taking vacations.

Will you be expected to serve on, or head, a committee? If so, how much additional time does that take and how many of those meetings are held? If you really can't make that kind of commitment, you may want to reconsider or take on a lesser role. Board members are elected by the homeowners during an annual meeting. However, the officer positions are decided by the board themselves.

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Each title brings with it different responsibilities. For example, the president is in charge of the board and owner meetings and appoints committees.

Board of Directors 101

Next to the board president, the role of treasurer is usually the most time-consuming position on a board. Because of this, board members with a financial background are often asked to serve as treasurer. In most associations, the managing agent or the property manager is the direct contact with the building professionals — accountant, contractors, etc. Oftentimes, homeowners will stop you — in the elevator, in your driveway, etc. Homeowners who know you personally may contact you by phone at any hour, day or night, to talk about community business. Do it respectfully and responsibly.

Barrett suggests, however, that any potential board members who joined just to focus on one platform or suggestion should reconsider how they approach their responsibilities. Do not show again [X]. A Thankless but Important Job Volunteering for an association board can be a time-consuming position that includes a host of responsibilities — such as enforcing governing documents, performing fiduciary duties, and dealing fairly with both fellow board members and residents alike, while being in charge of millions of dollars in assets.

Weigh Your Ability to Commit Finally, consider what kind of a commitment you are able to make before getting involved. Officer Selection Process Board members are elected by the homeowners during an annual meeting. Establish Guidelines with Homeowners Homeowners who know you personally may contact you by phone at any hour, day or night, to talk about community business.

Lisa Iannucci is a freelance writer for New England Condominium magazine. Building a Stronger Community Encouraging Neighbors. I have just been selected as Treasurer of our 78 unit Condo Association. Yours is the first article I've read in my efforts to educate myself.

A Thankless but Important Job

Note that I have no professional financial expertise. Melissa on Tuesday, March 10, 9: Should a board member remain on the board if he is suing a unit owner? Can a new board member VP see management reports from the previous board. Does the individual condo association board members and president have the legal right to remove a treasurer from duties without due cause and deny a chance for rebuttal? Paul on Tuesday, March 22, 2: Can a secretary and treasurer be a position shared by the same individual. Ann Higgins on Wednesday, April 13, Cam on Thursday, July 7, 2: Susan on Monday, July 25, 4: I would like to know if a trustee member has threatened others through emails can she be censored or removed?

I have been the target of an "email assault" for an extended period of time from a fellow trustee that making all manner of accusations and allegations towards me. This started with a board decision they felt slighted by and progressed to other issues. What recourse do I have? ELI on Sunday, March 11, 2: Can an Assistant Treasurer give opinions on financial matters to other Board Members without going through the Treasurer?

This is either through e-mails or at Board Meetings? Unless bylaws specifically say no, see no reason why secretary and treasurer cannot be the same person.

As a member of condo I would like to know if I can look at the financial records from the treasurer at anytime? Ginny on Tuesday, September 25, 4: You can ask for your financial records anytime.

How to be a successful condo board director | BoardSpace

It should be with forthought. Liz on Friday, October 26, 2: My board has voted to allow Fios. Verizon will be installing it in all units and will only install if they can enter and install their equipment in every unit. I'm opposed to this, can my condo association force me to take a day out of work to allow Fios to come in? This will cost me money to lose time at work.

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Gareth M on Thursday, November 1, 4: I was the only member of the board of a 12 unit association until I was overthrown by 7 units who don't pay, now they organized the condo association with a board of directors, and a board of trustees and voted in the officers from outside of the board, they are all screwed up. Carol on Monday, December 3, 9: Gareth forgets to mention that when he was repeatedly asked for financial records, he declined. Yes, the Association is now organized, cutting costs, rebuilding its bank account, providing financial reports, and the Unit Owners are involved - hooray for them!

We'll be contacting the DA. Pat S on Saturday, September 28, 2: I'm a board member of a 50 unit suburban condo association. Two residents have put up awnings on windows, without board approval. One resident admits he did it; one says it was there when she purchased the unit. We're not approving any awnings and just denied a request. Our Board President says the owner who admits he did it without approval must remove it at his expense, BUT the owner who bought here with the awning will have it removed at OUR association expense.

I feel the buyer bought everything and is responsible for it now, years later. I am the treasurer of a 24 unit condo. I have sold my condo. Is it legal for me to stay on as just the treasurer. Domenico on Tuesday, September 30, Is a board member considered to be a Trustee? For instance if you serve as President or Treasurer, are you automatically considered to be a Trustee?

Become an Effective Condo Board Member Become an Effective Condo Board Member
Become an Effective Condo Board Member Become an Effective Condo Board Member
Become an Effective Condo Board Member Become an Effective Condo Board Member
Become an Effective Condo Board Member Become an Effective Condo Board Member
Become an Effective Condo Board Member Become an Effective Condo Board Member

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