Much has been written recently about the management industry indictments, the role of the
managing agent and how to monitor management. Little has been said, however, about what it takes to make a board/manager relationship work. The managing agent and board of directors are a team working together to operate the building in the most efficient, yet highest quality manner possible. Like any team, they must rely on one another and know what the other needs and expects in order to work effectively.
There are many ways to improve or enhance the board/manager relationship. Start by putting in writing what you expect of your managing agent and what is expected of the board, in order to avoid any future misunderstandings. By instituting a specific policy for how information will be gathered and passed on to the agent, as well as regular performance reviews and meetings, boards can be sure they're working with, not against, the agent they've chosen.
Put Expectations in Writing
The best time to establish a good working relationship with your management firm is at the very beginning. But it is never too late to delineate, in writing, how the two groups intend to work together. While the management company has a responsibility to help set realistic goals and timetables, the board, in turn, must have realistic expectations. The board should know the basics about the site agent's obligations: How many properties is he or she managing? How often will there be a site visit, including a complete walk-through of the property? How many meetings a month will management attend? Who at the company will be fielding shareholder complaints and what is the policy and procedure for acting upon them?