One of the most common problems in co-op and condo management is the failure of building boards and staff to maintain accurate and accessible records of the past performance and activities within the building. Recording the minutes of board meetings and maintaining financial records, a list of on-going contracts, a history of individual apartment repairs and a log of parts and equipment replacement can go a long way in facilitating any future changes in building personnel or management.
Too often, new board members and new managing agents come on board only to find no documentation and are forced to start all over again from square one. In many cases, this can mean a slow-down in operations and can even cost thousands of dollars in unnecessary repairs, project delays or redundant work.
Few co-ops and condos have an efficient system in place to record and file these types of information. As a result, incoming board members and managers rarely get the background they need. In some cases, they simply fail to examine existing documents, while in others the documentation does not exist at all or is so disorganized that it is too time-consuming to employ.
Transitions from one board or manager to another can be simplified enormously by passing on a documented building history at the time of the changeover. This institutional memory can play a very important role in how your building operates into the future. The main areas that require documentation are board and management actions, finances, contracts and warranties, individual apartment histories and parts and equipment.
A locked file cabinet in the building, accessible only by the super, the board president and the manager, is a good place to store these documents. (Copies should also be filed in the manager's office). At each board meeting, timely records should be pulled out and looked over to be sure that the manager is on top of things.