Sharing Staff Money-Saver, or Liability? By Elizabeth Lent

As just about every mother tells her child, it’s important to share with others. The same can be true when it comes to condos and homeowners associations — especially for smaller buildings that may be doing everything they can to control costs. There are a number of different ways that buildings and communities can join forces to share resources — including their employees and staff members — but the goal is always the same: reduce that budgetary bottom line while still maximizing services for residents.

Why Share?

First and foremost, sharing staff members between buildings is a matter of cost. Paying half the salary of a superintendent or maintenance staff member certainly weighs less heavily on a budget than covering the full cost, especially in a small building that may not have need for a full-time employee. Some buildings also ‘bundle’ themselves together as a way to gain bargaining leverage when it comes to bidding out services from contractors and professionals. 

“Absolutely, the lowered costs are a benefit,” says Randy Rosen, president of Rosen Management in Chicago. “A couple of our associations have elevators. By having the elevator company handling three buildings literally next door to each other, we’re able to negotiate a discount in fees.” 

They are able to do the same thing with other mechanical services as well, because the buildings and their mechanical infrastructures “are generally the same,” Rosen says. “We can leverage services with HVAC companies and can negotiate those discounts, including with preventive maintenance.” 

In New York, sharing staff can help meet a housing requirement that mandates that buildings with a certain number of units must have on-site 24-hour janitorial service or arrange to have a staff person available within a certain number of feet of the building. That means one ‘freelance’ superintendent who has proximity to two, three or four buildings may be able to fill that role by virtue of their professional skill as well as their location and ability to get to the site quickly. 

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