Management and Board Relations My Job or Yours?

Building boards and their managing agents function best when they work together as a team. Ideally, the two parties collaborate to implement policy, carry out administrative duties, and make decisions about the efficient operation of the building or association. Management contracts usually spell out the duties of the manager, but confusion sometimes arises among board members regarding the extent of their manager’s duties versus the limits of the board’s duties.

Sometimes, such confusion is the result of misconceptions about the manager’s role, or of preconceived notions on the part of one or more board members about what the manager’s role should be. At best, a board at odds with its manager is ineffective; at worst, it risks doing serious harm to its community. So it is essential that the board and manager work in harmony—but smooth relations can only happen when each party understands their role and obligations.

Whose Job Is It?

In the case of boards staffed with more hands-on board members, the role of that board and the role of the property manager might seem to overlap occasionally. While that redundancy might initially seem helpful, that’s actually the opposite of the way the relationship should work, experts say.

The board should set policy for the community after receiving consultation from the property manager and or other professional consultants. The board makes decisions regarding capital expenditures, which prospective tenants to allow into the building, and other decisions.

The property manager or managing agent must always remember who the employer is, says Paul Gottsegen, executive vice president and director of Manhattan-based Halstead Management Company, LLC. “The board is the client, and the managing agent is the agent,” he says. “There’s a contractual relationship that defines that relationship.”

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3 Comments

  • Should the files and papers (including bills, budgets, minutes, litigation records, etc.) of a cooperative be kept at the management's office, or on-site at the building? Which is a better location, and why?
  • A representative from our management company has suddenly gotten a seat on our co-op board bring the total directors to 8. Our management company was not our sponsor and our sponsor still controls a small number of rentals. This addition was never discussed or announced. We got a memo from the Directors and suddenly a new name was added. Is this proper? Can a board have an even number of Directors?
  • The manager of my cooperative building has blocked the deposit of my maintenance payments to the corporation. Does this constitute an illegal interference with contractual obligations?