Being on a board of a condo or co-op is no picnic. There are tons of decisions to be made, disputes to settle, finances to keep track of and a chance of being sued for a slip-up. So why do so many people decide to serve on a board—some for years at a time? Even though it's easy to lose sight of them under the pressure and responsibility, there are benefits to being on a board.
Blame the Board
Let's face it, being on the board can be a tough, thankless job. If anything isn't going the way someone thinks it should, it's easy to just blame the people who are perceived to be in charge, even if that isn't really the case.
"You get a lot of negative feedback from the shareholders," says Mona Shyman, vice president of the Federation of New York Housing Cooperatives & Condominiums (FNYHC). "The majority of people who live in a co-op feel that they are renters, that the board is their landlord."
In fact, many shareholders forget that the people who are on the board are subject to all of the same decisions that are made on behalf of the building, continues Shyman. "They feel like the board is raising my maintenance but the people on the board are going to be paying the same thing that you are. So when they are raising it, they are raising it for themselves also."
"It's an unappreciated job," says Manuel Cartagena, board director/president at Gouverneur Gardens Housing Corporation in Manhattan. "No matter how much you try you always have people who will complain about something. There's shouting. People don't always agree."