Switching Management Firms REBNY's New Transition Guidelines Will Ease the Pain

Even the best working relationships between co-op and condo boards and their management com-

panies can eventually come to an end, forcing a switch from one company to another. The transition can be lengthy and complex in the best of circumstances, while worst case scenarios can involve lost documents, unpaid bills and even the disappearance of funds. But with help from the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), the period preceding, during and following a management change can be less confusing to all involved. REBNY's Residential Management Council has developed Transition Procedures that are being adopted by many of the city's management firms to address the problems that often arise when a client leaves one firm and hires another.

Changing Attitudes

Anita Sapirman, president of Saparn Realty, a residential property management firm in Manhattan and co-chair of REBNY's Residential Management Council, notes that her experience has been that the average length of time a management company maintains a working relationship with a board is eight years. We like to say in the real estate industry, Sapirman explains, that you win some and you lose some.

Sometimes the split between a management firm and its client building is not on such friendly terms, as was the case with an Upper East Side building (not a Saparn client) whose newly-elected board chose to end a long-time relationship with its management company. The management company had not been acting in our best interest, explains the board president. Indeed, the firm's mismanagement had resulted in several costly and unnecessary expenditures; and, when it was finally given its walking papers, the firm shipped its replacement a single shoe box that presumably contained nine years' worth of files and paperwork.

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