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Responding to Shareholder Complaints Act Quickly and Courteously

One of the biggest complaints heard by attorneys, managers, neighbors, —and yes, even publications like The Cooperator—from co-op and condo dwellers is that board members do not respond promptly to shareholder/owner complaints, or worse, they don’t even respond at all. Polite inquiries and even urgent problems are met with silence, and repeated requests for action seem to fall on deaf ears.

We’ve talked so much about communication on these pages, but it’s definitely worth repeating – good communication – between all parties, managers, agents, shareholders and board members—is the key to running a successful, solvent co-op or condo building. When the lines of communication break down at any point, problems and animosity are the almost unavoidable result.

But why do some boards have such a hard time responding to shareholders’ concerns while other boards reply to residents in a smooth, timely fashion and rectify any problems or answer any concerns? Could it be that some boards are so busy that they simply don’t have enough time to handle shareholder complaints, or they don’t have the answers, or perhaps they are even apathetic to a shareholder’s situation?

Helloooo?

“Depending upon the board, it could be any one of those reasons,” says David Baron, senior vice president and principal of Metro Management Development Inc. in Queens. Baron has also been president of the 310-unit Bay Terrace co-op board for the past 12 years and a board member for the past 15.

“Some boards work exclusively through their agents, so correspondence is handled meeting-to-meeting [monthly],” says Baron. “Our clientele for the most part are active and involved board members. Very often, replying to correspondence is delayed on a board’s part due to the time constraints placed upon board members by other building business, as well as their own personal and professional lives. Sometimes, shareholders ask questions, the subject matter of which is still under board consideration and thus no answer or solution to the problem is yet available.”

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3 Comments

  • It is my experience Boards that communicate with shareholders only through the managing agents set up a predatory legal relationship between the co-op attorney and the shareholders. In my case, I had a serious legal issue with a mishandling of my ownership documents by the managing company. I was given no access to the Board and tried to resolve the issue with the management company. Because the attorney for the management company was also the attorney for the co-op, I was billed for every moment of discussion and consequently had to go to trial to avoid paying legal fees on all sides. Managing companies are vendors and should not be put between shareholders and the Board of Directors, especially when these boards are often made up of unpaid volunteers who are susceptible to undue influence by the managing agent whose priority is to avoid legal and/or financial responsibility for their mistakes.
  • I live in my coop and I served the interest of the shareholders for a few years I watched How the current Board members of the years had abused their privilege of service ,we got increases ,we received assessments and the coop structural problems still remain ,No shareholders have ever received a letter back from our coop board because of dinosaur who is continuing to fail our competency requirement,we cerated dummies for our coop Board and they all voted the same way ,the Board had meeting prior to the monthly meeting in secret with some members to craft their own self policies,yet we have 9 members only vote that goes 5-2 ,5-3.even our board election is a farce in our coop The members of my coop Board refused to participate in the learning process and go to the seminar to clarify their brain,They forget that member of the corporation invested their hard earned income to get in .We need major help in my coop it is a disgrace to watch these folks who can't even read making decisions that are affecting everyone bottom line.
  • Where are shareholders rights? When you open a chess holding statement to find your SCP unints were sold without your Knowledge. Then be told you should have received a letter outlining the sale of unmarketable shares.One needed to fill the form to retain their shares, as I did not receive any letter, why should they have the right to take my shares and sell them! Too me it is like a theif has raided my protfolio during the night

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