We've all heard the litany: "Management wasn't told about this." "The board wasn't informed about that." The residents know nothing of this or that, and it's all blamed on a total breakdown in communication and may result in an onslaught of nasty problems.
Time and time again, managing agents and board members of successful buildings stress the importance of clear, productive communication between board members, managing agents, and shareholders/owners in the smooth, trouble-free operation of a co-op or condo community.
According to Jeffrey Heidings of Siren Management Corp. in Manhattan, most of the problems stem from boards making changes - however minor - in policy and not properly disseminating the news to shareholders. "For example," says Heidings, "[A board] might pass a policy stating that if an owner is three months late in paying their parking lot fee, their car will be towed."
You can imagine the dismay of being unaware of the new policy and entering the car park to find your car gone. So how does a board share a change in policy with everyone? There are several ways; some high-tech, some no-tech. "Many people do it with a newsletter," says Heidings. "Sometimes, it may be impractical to send an e-mail to every single person in a building."
But it may not be impractical to construct an online presence for your building community - a virtual newsletter that shareholders can easily access to get news of the board's activity - new people moving in, old neighbors moving out, service notices, or important information about taxes, zoning, or neighborhood preservation.