The 3 Most Important Duties of a Condo Board

Thursday, January 5, 2017

While most people who live in a condominium building know there is a board tasked with protecting the interests of individual unit owners and the broader community, those who have never served on a board before may not understand what, specifically, board members do and whether it’s a post they would be interested in pursuing at some point in the future.

The effectiveness of a board often corresponds directly to the engagement of its members. A strong board will have a clear understanding of its role and responsibilities – a property manager can assist with this – and act in the best interest of all owners, including those who may not agree with their decisions.

As owners who volunteer their time, board members are literally and figuratively invested in the success of their community. Typically, boards are made up of an odd number of directors including the president, vice president, secretary and treasurer, all of whom are elected. While the president has the most responsibilities – they call the meetings, prepare agendas and lead discussions – all board members help execute specific action items, some of which are handled during private executive sessions.

Thinking about running for a board seat? Below is an overview of the three most important roles you will play in your new position:

1. Rule Enforcer

Bylaws exist for a reason, and it’s up to condo boards to enforce them. This requires board members to review complaints, decide if any state laws or association covenants have been violated and, if so, impose reasonable fines to discourage repeat offenses such as parking in designated guest spots or failing to pick up after your pet. The board is also responsible for making changes to the bylaws, should it become necessary. Sound simple? On paper, it usually is, as most rules and regulations are spelled out in black and white. But when the offender is also a next-door neighbor, it can be uncomfortable acting as judge and jury. Board members must be prepared to set personal feelings aside and follow through on enforcement, not only for quality of life – for example, addressing noise complaints – but also safety if a resident’s actions are jeopardizing the well-being of others.

2. Building Maintenance Monitor

Although condo owners are responsible for repairs within their units, all common area maintenance is overseen by the board, often in partnership with a property manager. This covers the building’s exterior, as well as hallways, stairwells and amenity spaces. If repairs are necessary, the board must work with the property manager to solicit bids, identify any budgetary constraints and, if necessary, prioritize jobs to ensure the most critical issues – for example, those pertaining to building security – are addressed first.

3. Bookkeeper

Smart financial practices are essential to the health of any condo community and ultimately the responsibility of the board. Working alongside a property manager, board members must create an annual operating budget and oversee finances as the year progresses. In addition to setting aside funds for essential services and routine operating expenses, the board needs to maintain a reserve for emergencies and larger capital improvement projects, in some cases levying a special assessment to cover the cost. Condo boards must also work with the property manager to ensure the timely collection of association dues, including delinquent payments, as well as the preparation of monthly financial statements.

Serving as a board member is a serious commitment, one that can require as many as eight to ten hours of time each month. But for those willing to accept the challenge, a board appointment is often a rewarding experience that allows owners to establish long-lasting relationships with their neighbors while simultaneously bettering the community they call home.