HABITAT

BOARD OPERATIONS

Co-op and Condo Boards Are Not for Playing Monopoly

Eleni Magoulas in Board Operations on September 10, 2018

New York City

Anti-Monopoly
Sept. 10, 2018

Rich Uncle Pennybags of Monopoly fame is not the kind of guy you want on your co-op or condo board. It’s very important that every board member participates in monthly meetings, all discussions and email threads, as well as any phone calls. If board members don’t do this, eventually it can lead to one board member running the building. And without a checks-and-balances system in place, that one member could create a monopoly-like atmosphere and do whatever he or she wants, like running the building with personal benefit in mind – perhaps even getting kickbacks, or bringing in personally selected vendors to gain favor, and in general not operating in a manner with the best interest of all the residents in mind. 

As a board member, it’s your duty not only to yourself but to the rest of the owners to represent them and their needs, and to make decisions based on the greater good, not just what you may have a preference for. Being unbiased is not easy, but it is mandatory for board members to ensure that they are always objective. Board members are held accountable, and they must understand that their actions matter in the long run, not just for the time spent as a board member, be it one year or ten. It all matters. 

You could be personally sued – and not just as a board member. If you decide to run for the board, then be sure that you can make the commitment to actively participate in everything. Your role always demands that you question everything and not accept things at face value. 

As a managing agent, we have no issues with answering your questions, helping and guiding as best as we can. At the end of the day, we work for the co-op and the board, but it is for the building’s benefit. If something doesn’t go right, we’re going to let you know; otherwise we wouldn’t be acting as a fiduciary, which we take very seriously. Our role is to advise and guide, but of course all decisions are up to the board, and we will support and assist the board to the best of our abilities. 

Eleni Magoulas is president of All Area Realty Services.

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