Whether change is good or bad often depends on who you talk to; even a welcome change produces a certain level of stress and adjustment. Personal changes are challenging enough, but for co-op and condo residents, a board decision to change property managers or firms will quite literally hit home. Even if a board has done adequate research, and the change is for the better, adjustments will still be required. By the same token, if a board has done less than satisfactory due diligence, there will almost certainly be unnecessary and unwanted chaos, as well as possible financial ramifications.
Evolutionist Charles Darwin believed survival belonged not to the strongest, but rather to the most adaptable of the species. Faced with less than complete satisfaction, a condominium or cooperative board may decide not to adapt, but to replace a property manager, or even switch firms completely. According to experts, this practice happens more often than one might suspect. Personalities and communication styles will always come into play when a decision to replace a manager or a firm is on the table.
Mary Ann Rothman, executive director of the Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums (CNYC), a not-for-profit membership organization for housing cooperatives and condominiums, has seen her share of management changes during her 33-year history with the organization. She notes changes usually coincide with a new board election, but sometimes a favorite manager may retire, and the new manager may not mesh as well.
“It happens,” she says. “Boards are volunteers, and things are going to change. It's better to try and stay with the firm if possible; changing companies is hard work.” Her years of experience have taught her that change purely for its own sake is seldom a good idea, but Rothman feels if a better fit is achieved with a different manager or firm, then change can make perfect sense.
Sometimes a change is tough for the firm as well as the building. “A young company may be devastated the first time they lose a client to the competition but then a new client will come on board and even the score.”