North American cities are building high rises as fast as people are buying them. For example, Toronto’s new condo sales increased by 27% in 2019 as people continue moving to Toronto, and condos bridge the gap in the housing market.
But housing availability isn’t the only reason city dwellers are drawn to condos. Condo living can be great for building a sense of community in urban locations. And this sense of community is often what influences people to join the board of their condo building. It’s a wonderful opportunity to give back and have some say in the management of the facilities and building policies.
However, before you take the plunge and join your condo board, there are some important considerations to think about:
The time commitment required for condo board members varies pretty significantly between communities.
On average, members usually commit around 15-20 hours every month to fulfill their condo board duties. This can involve meeting attendance for both the board and any auxiliary committees where your presence is needed.
So, before you decide to join, look into the current state of your condo board and make sure you have the spare time to dedicate to these responsibilities.
The operations of your condo building are governed by bylaws. These are specific rules set out by the board and agreed to by residents.
As a board member, you are obliged to ensure the condo management and residence are adhering to the bylaws and enforce the agreed upon penalties if they are not. Before you join the board, get a copy of the bylaws and make sure to read and understand them thoroughly – and decide if they are rules that you can get behind and enforce if needed.
Many people are compelled to join condo boards and housing associations to solve a problem specific to their situation in the community.
However, when you join the board, you are there to represent all residents, not just the issues that are of concern to your personal situation. You must be capable of striking a balance between seriously considering residents’ ideas and concerns while protecting the corporation.
Successful board members understand the importance of frequent multi-channel communication with their residents. For example, providing regular email updates about general concerns and events. Or sending personalized emails to let residents know about scheduled unit inspections. If a change is happening, will your residents feel like it came out of the blue, or will they know about the decision-making process well in advance?
The more your residents are kept informed, the more likely they are to support the board’s decisions.
Living in a condo association means communal living one way or another, so conflicts will inevitably occur. Most condos will have pre-determined arbitration or conflict resolution protocols to resolve more serious issues, so you have to be ready to use them confidently.
Conflict can also happen between board members on certain issues. Before you join the board, make sure you are ready to foster open and honest communication, even when faced with hostility from other members.
There are different roles within a condo board, including:
Calls meetings, leads proceedings, creates agendas, approves expenses, and manages executive aspects of building management.
Involves making sure the building finances are in order, managing the books, and making recommendations in relation to the building’s financial state.
Usually involves taking and distributing meeting minutes, correspondence, and other paperwork.
General members of the board with duties that likely depend on their individual skill sets.
It’s vital to understand the exact responsibilities you will be taking on by joining the board and that you are ready for the role you will be assigned.
Deciding to join your condo board can be a fantastic experience. You’ll connect with other residents and feel a huge sense of accomplishment by contributing directly to your community. However, it’s important to take these considerations into account first to make sure you’re really up for the task.