No one likes to feel left out or ignored. Sometimes that is how co-op and condo residents may feel if they believe their board or managers are not responding to their requests for information or sharing enough up front. What they may not realize, however, is that there can be important reasons for discretion on the part of board members and managers. Keeping the lines of communication open and clear can help eliminate those misunderstandings and help establish a healthy level of trust between everyone involved.
When Questions Come
Significant lengths of time between a resident making an inquiry and a board or manager responding to that initial inquiry can cause friction before the main matter of the inquiry is ever even addressed. The resident may feel that his request has not been received, or worse yet, has been ignored as insignificant. Before long, that individual can start sharing his frustrations with neighbors and friends, leading to an unintentional and perhaps undeserved reputation for board and manager of unresponsiveness.
Sometimes the delay is simply a reflection of the type of question involved. “It could be that the question is technical in nature or requires board discussion,” says Martin Kera, president of Bren Management Corp., and an attorney with the law firm of Kera & Graubard, both in Manhattan. “Then they have to get the board together for that discussion.”
Still, no matter how much time may be needed to properly answer the question in full, it is important to issue some sort of response as soon as possible. “We like to get back to everyone immediately,” Kera says. “We don’t want them to think that they’re being ignored.”
Bram Fierstein, president and co-founder of Gramatan Management, Inc. in New Rochelle, agrees. “Questions should be responded to as quickly as possible. It is best to acknowledge a question via email or telephone to inform the resident that the matter is being considered and you will get back to them with an answer.”