THE BIG PICTURE
Serving on the board is a job. It’s not a happy or fun thing to do in your spare time or after work. It’s something that requires a lot of attention, time, and tough decision-making. This includes numerous emails, conference calls, and board meetings to discuss ongoing issues in the building. These decisions are usually not ones you can make immediately. Most of the important and difficult choices could affect the entire building. And the property should always be your primary concern. Being on the board should not be seen as an opportunity to voice your opinion on things you’re not happy with.
There was a condo board we worked with that cared more about being friends with everyone than in maintaining the building and meeting its financial needs. They did not want to increase common charges or impose assessments out of the fear that unit-owners would be upset. They were afraid to be aggressive on collections of common charges or make special assessments. They wanted to be popular.
A new member got elected to the board, and, after much debate, the board began to be more open to ideas and finally changed its ways and began to think about the well-being of the building rather than being popular with the other unit-owners. They imposed a special assessment to fund a number of projects and cracked down on owners in arrears and got them to pay.
It’s not an easy job serving on the board. But those who have the time and attention to invest in their building will find it is an investment worth making. Remember: you have a fiduciary responsibility to do what’s right. And, ultimately, you’re also doing what’s right for you because it’s not just an investment, it’s your home.