Owning your own home is a huge commitment, but imagine being accountable for your neighbors’ homes as well. It’s a commitment hundreds of individuals throughout New York’s condo and co-op community make each year as members of their building’s board. It takes a great deal to be an efficient and productive board member, but more importantly, it takes a group of individuals who know the duties and responsibilities inside and out.
What It Takes
Serving as a board member can mean hours of work each month, including monthly or quarterly meetings, as well as some additional nights and weekends, particularly in buildings with dozens of units. Duties include everything from deciding how to replace a faulty elevator and refinancing a mortgage to watching every penny of the building’s operating budget. It’s a major commitment for those who are elected.
"You have to want to give your time. It involves a little sacrifice," says Michael Barendino, board member and past president and treasurer of a 95-unit co-op on East 85th Street. "I give at least three nights a month, several hours a week." But he feels the sacrifice is worth it and feels it is important to be involved. "My home is my life investment."
Protecting one’s investment means making sure the entire building is running efficiently and smoothly. "You’re functioning on behalf of and for the good of the whole, not just for your apartment. Your aim has to be what’s good for the corporation and all the shareholders," says John Hopley, president of a 14-unit, 100-year-old brownstone. Hopley has served on the building’s board since it went co-op in 1981. He estimates spending about four or five hours a month conducting his board duties, but attributes it to the fact that his building is relatively small and most of the owners are long-time residents.