I was at one of my monthly networking events last night and I was speaking to a friend of mine. Somehow the conversation took a turn that ended up with me laughing to the point that I almost peed in my pants. We agreed that I should write blogs for board member dummies.
Now I am not one to criticize people and I certainly don’t want people to take this concept the WRONG way. But fortunately, others have already paved the path and written all sorts of guides for dummies like “The Complete Idiot’s Guide for Dummies” You can actually buy it on Amazon.com
So I won’t be the first nor the last. And I just think the concept is so spot on as I hear of so many mismanaged community associations.
Now the reasons that these community associations are mismanaged vary widely. I’m not going to focus on the errors that some property managers and management companies are committing. I’m going to focus on board members just as the title suggests. So sit back. Relax. And hopefully have a few chuckles.
#10 – Have a “I could care less attitude” – Don’t worry if a homeowner has worsening bathroom and bedroom ceiling damage for the last 6 months and has triplet newborns. And even if the ceiling collapses, it doesn’t affect me anyway. I live in a completely different tier. So it’s not something to worry about. Besides, the association doesn’t have the money to fix anything. As far as the board is concerned, this is an issue between the two homeowners. Let’s let them figure this out.
#9 – Accept and condone poor quality – So what if the janitor never changes light bulbs and forgets to mop the floor in the bathroom each and every time. Besides, he is the person that knows the building the most and was the original janitor when the building was converted from apartments to condos. No one else could ever know the building as well as he could. So let’s put up with completely unacceptable quality. And I really do feel sorry for the guy. I know he recently when through a divorce so let’s give him another pass on the sub par quality. I know one day he will step things up.
#8 – Meet only once a year: Who has time for board meetings? We all have full time jobs, families and friends. So maybe once a year is enough. And even then, there is not really much to talk about. So what if the law says to meet quarterly. It’s not like anyone is watching or saying anything. I never see my neighbors and they don’t like me anyway. And I have lots of friends on Facebook so who needs more friends especially those who live so close to me.
#7 Ignore loud noise and barking dog complaints: So what if homeowners are complaining about loud noises from parties and barking dogs at 2am. As long as I don’t hear the noise, I am not going to worry about it. Besides, I am not getting paid for this thankless unpaid position. Eventually, the person making the noise will sell and move out and the noise will go away. Or maybe we can feed the dogs ground meat laced with broken glass? Naaah. Let’s just let the 2 homeowners keep calling the police on each other. I have a HUGE appetite for drama and this is JUST the way I like it!
#6 Raise assessments? Let’s lower them!: I’m sick and tired of paying such high assessments. Besides, everyone else on our block has lower assessments. And I’m planning on selling within the next 5 years, so why would I want to build up the reserves to benefit other people. I’m actually going to fight to lower our assessments and put off all capital plans for the next 5 years. If the boiler breaks in the middle of the winter, we can just have everyone run to Home Depot and plug in a few space heaters. And we have some people that haven’t paid for 5 years anyway. So since we are letting them slide, it’s about time I catch a break!
#5 My Uncle Owns A Construction Company that I partially own: Why go elsewhere when the board president’s uncle owns a few companies including a construction company. Then again, why even disclose it. Less is more? Right? Besides, board members are unappreciated and underpaid. So why not make a few bucks here and there. Non of the other board members or homeowners will notice it anyway. And by the time they notice all the money that I took, I’ll be LONG gone far away!
#4 Annual Meetings? They’re not necessary. There is not need to have elections annually. Besides, no one ever shows up to the board meetings anyways. Things are going smoothly and no one ever complains. The homeowners pay their assessments and that’s all that matters. The board should stay the same and it doesn’t matter that the governing documents call for annual elections. Then again, we don’t even have copies of the governing documents. We never got a copy at the closing. Maybe the previous owner still has them?
#3Single bid that $500,000 project. Serving on the board is a LOT of work. I am sick an tired of people complaining and never stepping up. So I’m going to make MY life easier and get one bid from this company that I know will do a GREAT job. I’m the only one doing work around here and I’m going to make my life easier. And maybe along the way, I will also pick up a few other perks from this vendor who is getting this big fat juicy contract. And that is something that I deserve!
#2 It’s the management company’s fault. Again. I’m sick and tired of dealing with the incompetency of the management company and the multitude of property managers that they keep assigning to us. It seems that every 6 months our manager quits, gets fired or drops dead! And then again, what’s the point of switching anyway. I hear all the management companies are all about the same. I will just keep complaining and hopefully things will get better one day and I won’t have to send so many emails to so many people about condo association stuff that never gets addressed.
#1 Do as I say. I’m the Board President. I am the board president for the last 30 years and I am very knowledgeable about pretty much EVERYTHING. In fact, It seems I am telling the property manager what to do. Then again, I know the answers and know how to do things quicker and more effectively than anyone else. So what if I never get a consensus. No one challenges me anyway. I just do whatever I say and it seems to work for me. I don’t see a problem with that even though I live with about 500 other people.
Seems like a fantasy? Seems unbelievable? Think again. These are real life situations taking place in community associations around the country. The real question is are you part of the problem or part of the solution? Let’s stop accepting mediocrity.Let’s start demanding excellence for ourselves, your neighbors and for everyone within your community!
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 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 can be reached at: 312.455.0107 x102 or at [email protected]