New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine July/August 2020 free digital issue

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ARCHIVE ARTICLE

The Importance of Being in Touch

Let’s talk about communication, starting with emergencies. How do you handle them?We have a dedicated 1-800 number that anybody can reach at any time. A live property manager will contact the caller in a timely manner, find out what’s going on, assess the situation, contact the appropriate person or vendor who needs to come there and address the situation. Typically, it’s the super. If it’s not the super, the property manager will contact the vendor who does the needed emergency work.Do you use any specific tools for general communication to residents?Resident Connect is one tool that we use at All Area that allows us to contact owners, shareholders, and residents to let them know when an emergency arises, such as a leak in the G line of a building. We can text, email, or phone – or all three – to all the residents and let them know that this is going on and how long it’ll take. We can update them with this as well. When you have to communicate with your boards – or even educate them – are there tools that you use to help with the task? Let’s take the issue of tax abatements. First, I like to meet with board members myself, see where they are in their understanding on how a tax abatement works. Once the abatement is received from the city, I review it with them, give them their options in regards to whether they should just give the abatement to the shareholders or impose a matching assessment. If there is an assessment to be included, I like to prepare a spreadsheet for them that shows them their options in regards to assessment amounts so they can see exactly what would be brought in. The spreadsheet helps the board visualize the issue?Exactly.Let’s talk about a different situation. Maybe the board is considering a maintenance increase.Again, we put together a spreadsheet that helps them visualize the exact numbers. If, for example, the board is debating a 2 percent increase versus a 6 percent increase, the spreadsheet lets them see exactly how much each increase would bring in. As a share-holder, you would see exactly what the difference would be in your unit. We’ve been talking about communica-tion, but it seems as if you, as a property manager, also have to educate boards sometimes. We wear many hats. Some boards are very well educated, but as a property management company and as a prop-erty manager, I think it is our fiduciary duty to give boards the best options available to them. Ultimately, it’s their decision on which way they go.

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