Condominium board presidents are responsible for establishing and guiding effective managing organizations. Although there is no secret to success when it comes to serving as a condo board president, there are several guiding principles, tips and techniques that can help an acting president’s role function as smoothly and effectively as possible.
Have a vision
While no two board presidents possess the exact same set of skills, the most successful leaders generally exhibit a combination of key traits, including authority, sincerity and wisdom. Most importantly, effective presidents should have a vision or idea of the direction the board should take during their tenure. This will help set the tone for every action the board takes, and will also serve to protect and manage the board’s interests.
This sense of direction may be communicated through the board’s application process or the encouragement of community activities, for example.
Having established a sense of direction, a condo board president must also learn to lead with decisiveness. This may be demonstrated by making clear, confident decisions and accepting responsibility for any consequences those decisions might bring in the future. The ability to make confident decisions, however, does not mean that a board president must act independently — a successful leader should also be able to listen to other members’ input and show a genuine interest in their thoughts and opinions.
Communicate frequently with owners
Like it or not, an important part of being a condo board member includes communicating with owners about assessment fees. When assessments arise, you should make sure owners know about when and why these fees are due. Not all owners understand the importance of assessment fees, so explaining their usefulness — as well as the legal consequences of nonpayment — is critically important.
Encourage board members to watch finances
Although you may feel that every condo board member is trustworthy, setting up checks and balances for financial transactions helps reduce opportunities for fraud and negligence, or for any false accusations to arise. Keep bank signatures current and be sure to review all invoices before making payments. Separating accounting and financial duties between two or more members also helps to reduce fraud risk.
Pay attention to property management contracts
Many condo communities hire third-party property managers to handle day-to-day operations. While this service can be invaluable, some issues with communication or services may arise from time to time. If this is the case, be sure to review the management contract to ensure it accurately outlines the property manger’s duties. If the board wants to present complaints to the property manager, it’s important to make sure these tasks were outlined in the contract from the beginning.
Serving as a condo board president can be incredibly rewarding, but at times it may be challenging. Keep these tips in mind to help you oversee the vitality of your community.
Hope Street Real Estate Corp. is a Calgary based condo management firm providing high tech, customer based solutions to strata communities throughout the greater Calgary area.