As in any healthy marriage, an association board and its manager must be compatible or else the relationship will oftentimes end in a messy divorce, experts at a Community Associations Institute (CAI) Big Apple panel told an audience of New York board members and managers.
The seminar, which took
place on July 21 in Manhattan, featured speakers Marc Schneider of
the New York City and Garden City, N.Y.-based law firm of Schneider Mitola, LLP; Stuart Halper of Impact Real Estate Management Inc., and John LaGumina of the Purchase, N.Y.-based law offices of The LaGumina Law
Schneider, Halper and LaGumina outlined what to look for in a new management firm, what should be in the contract, and how both sides can find common ground and get along with one another. They also stressed that management firms should take the interviewing process as seriously as co-op boards, that in effect the interview runs two ways: the agent is interviewing the board, just as the board is interviewing the agent.
Do Your Homework
The hiring of a new managing agent and the success of the relationship, “has to do with personalities,” said Schneider, “and ultimately with the person working with you.” Also, meeting the principals of the firm is not enough--a co-op board should request to meet with the managing agent that will be handling their building directly.
Schneider provided an example to drive home his point. “If you don’t trust them to pay a bill, they’re not the agent for you.” The contract between the managing agent and the co-op is, “like a pre-nup,” he said, and then outlined the steps a board should take to search for and vet a new managing agent.