What are the best ways to guarantee headaches, stress, and a whole lot of plumbing and repair bills for you and all the homeowners of your association? This guide will give you step by step instructions to make that easily happen. And as an added benefit, the association is certain to spend more money than was budgeted. This will allow you to report at the year-end meeting how you were able to blow the budget “out of the water” so to speak.
If you follow these step by step scientifically proven strategies, you WILL succeed in your endeavors to create havoc within the association through a combination of angry homeowners, frustrated residents, alarmed visitors, pissed off insurance agents and brimming restoration companies. That is your mission as a board member, isn’t it? To maximize the number of problems, headaches and emergencies throughout the association. So put on your raincoat, galoshes and nose plugs and let’s get started.
1. DON’T proactively replace hot water tanks
Hot water tank systems typically last around 10 to 15 years. The best way to create a flood condition is to wait until the tank actually breaks from underneath and unleashes 250 gallons of hot water. Even better, place the hot water tank in the top floor of a 10 story mid rise and then wait for it to corrode and unleash scalding 125 degree hot water so that it can destroy all 10 units in that tier.
You will surely create a memorable experience.
2. Wait until tree roots CLOG your main plumbing drain lines
You know, the ones that are near trees. In fact, don’t wait until they are sort of clogged, wait until they are completely clogged and blocked with tree roots so that the homeowners and residents experience backup sewage into their homes. It will be quite a FUN stinky experience for the affected homeowners but then again maybe they have it coming to them!
You know, the ones that always complain at board meetings but never volunteer to serve on the board.
3. Don’t proactively maintain your roof and certainly DO NOT replace your roof until there are 7 layers
And even then, make sure to patch the problem areas. This way, you can rest assured knowing that the top floor units WILL experience ceiling leaks at the most inconvenient time like right in the middle of a Super Bowl Sunday party.
Then again, they didn’t invite you, so they had it coming to them! It’s really the best way to deal with issues like these. Ignore them until someone is screaming at you at the top of their lungs over the phone or even better IN YOUR FACE. Whatever the case may be, make sure to bring an umbrella with you when you go visit the inside of their property during a raining day.
4. Make sure to IMPROPERLY fix water infiltration issues
Or then again, just ignore water infiltration issues. Besides, it doesn’t affect your unit and the budget is really tight this year especially since snow removal cost the association more than what was budgeted AGAIN for the 2nd year in a row. Let water infiltration issue fester until the dreaded M word appears on the walls of the homeowners in the community.
The best way to ensure this happens is to make poor quality improper repairs that don’t actually fix the water infiltration issues but actually worsen the problems. Hire the cheapest contractor who doesn’t know what they are doing and you will most assuredly get the desired result. Sometimes you really do want to get what you pay for!
5. Don’t winterize your association and make sure vacant units are left UNHEATED
Tell the homeowners and residents to turn the heat OFF if they are going away to Cancun for the winter and make sure to turn the gas off so that they save some money on utilities over the winter. This is the best possible course of action to ensure at least a dozen or so pipe breaks!
Believe me, it’s a lot of fun getting calls in the middle of the night about a broken pipe that is flooding someone’s unit or better yet raining on top of someone’s $20,000 designer French sofa. In fact, the other added benefit is that you can create an indoor ice skating rink and you can start charging admission and increase the association income from the admission fees. You then just might be able to lower the assessment levels. LOL.
6. Don’t BOTHER installing deicing cables and make sure when a new roof is installed, it isn’t done right
Make sure to hire the cheapest roofer that has the least amount of experience without any type of insurance. Ensure the downspouts are undersized and that the scupper boxes are improperly flashed. And while you are at it, make sure that the vendor works out of the back of a pickup truck and don’t bother checking references before hiring them. And certainly DO NOT check their workmanship. This will guarantee ice damming and a whole host of other water infiltration problems. And believe me, this is a wonderful experience for the top floor units.
They will certainly enjoy having water pouring in their units during warmer winter days. It will surely keep the board members and property managers on their toes by ensuring as many homeowners as possible can experience Chicago ICE DAMMING!
7. Don’t rod out your main drain lines until they are OVERFLOWING with sewage
This will ensure the most smelly, slimy and stinky experience for as many ground floor units as possible. In fact, revise the rules and regulations to require all the homeowners to cook a pound of bacon every week and have them pour all the bacon fat down the drain. This will ensure success in your approach to cause plumbing backup havoc on a regular basis throughout the association especially for the lower level units.
Well then again, the board members all live in the middle floor units so what do they care! Besides, preventative maintenance actually costs more money up front.And it’s cheaper to wait until plumbing repairs are ABSOLUTELY necessary. This approach is the BEST way to save money, RIGHT?
8. Wait until each 100 year old riser BURSTS before replacing them
YES. Wait until they break one by one. So what if 5 units got totally flooded out by the last broken riser. That’s what insurance is for! Besides, the association doesn’t have any money so all we can do is wait for something to break even if it is something very big and MESSY. And while you are at it, don’t replace risers when people are remodeling their places, just wait until they burst. It’s much more interesting.
Financially speaking, we’ll just find the money as a last resort each and every time a riser breaks.We like to wait until something breaks. Our association board of directors don’t believe in planning ahead since they’re planning on moving out of the association in the next 20 years and they don’t want to leave behind any of their money in the reserves. You can’t blame them, can you?
9. ENCOURAGE all the homeowners to make sure they FALL ASLEEP while filling the bath tub
This is a great way to get to know your neighbor. It’s the best way to improve community spirit and causes all the homeowners to get to know each other.It’s also a scientifically proven strategy and great way to create headaches, stress and high repair bills.Besides, we have some left over funds due to a slow snow season this winter.
We need to find ways to spend that extra money and FAST!
10. DO NOT TUCKPOINT the building until 100% of the homes or condos in the association has some type of water infiltration issue
Besides, it’s way better to spend $350,000 for tuckpointing repairs instead of $50,000. I understand. When the management company suggested making exterior repairs, the association didn’t have $50,000. But now 3 years later, the repair bill is $350,000 and the association somehow has the money since the association board president is planning on selling her unit next year.
It’s like there is a money tree in the back of the association. You know, it’s called a special assessment tree. A tree where there is infinite supply of money for poorly planned overly expensive projects.
It really is the best way to run association.Overpay for EVERY expense. It’s a sure way to make lots of best friends with the contractors who are milking the overspending association for every last dime. And all the while, the homeowners are getting assessment increase notices from the management company. It’s no wonder that the management company gets fired every 3 years.
So, if you want to create stressful situations for you and all the homeowners of your association, make sure to follow these steps carefully. They are proven strategies to work each and every time. It’s especially effective at ensuring that lots of angry people show up at your next board meeting.
Alternatively, perhaps you wanted to watch Gene Kelly in “Singin’ In The Rain” under a few raindrops? Whatever the case may be, that is what you always wanted, wasn’t it? MORE STRESS, MORE HEADACHES and MORE PROBLEMS.
About the Author
Salvatore J. Sciacca aka “Condoboss” is one of the nation’s leading experts in the community property management industry and is also recognized for his stress relieving blogs and insight on personal and organizational transformation. He is also the President and Founder of Chicago Property Services, Chicago’s #1 community property management company specializing in management and operations of condos/townhomes/HOA’s of 100 units and under. Salvatore is also the founder of managmycommunity.com (MMC), which is a state-of-the-art online support portal for community associations.
With over 20 years of industry experience, Salvatore is recognized for his extensive knowledge of capital planning, preventative maintenance, cost-saving measures and community building techniques. He holds industry stature as a Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA), the designation of Association Management Specialist (AMS) and is fully licensed as a manager (License #: 261.001386) through the State of IL.
Salvatore has also traveled extensively around the world and has meditated with Buddhist monks in Nepal and met the world’s happiest man, Matthieu Ricard. He’s passions include cooking, traveling, meditating and hiking. He is also the founder and executive director of the Chicagoland Italian American Professionals organization.
Salvatore can be reached at: 312.455.0107 x102 or at [email protected]