Dysfunctional Boards Learning From the Worst

Whether it's a co-op, a condominium, or other multi-family dwelling, a well-run board usually makes all the difference between a pleasant stress-free home and a building in disarray. Boards serve to preserve the common elements, maintain architectural integrity, and otherwise promote the community. Additionally, an effective board should provide continuity and order while protecting property values and often making available recreational facilities for the residents. 

When you consider the fact that a building is really a not-for-profit corporation, normally staffed by unpaid volunteers, you may ask yourself, “What am I getting out of this?”  Still many residents accept a tour of duty on the board in an effort to serve and protect their fellow neighbors, and to enhance the property they all call home. Their reasons for accepting are a varied as the individuals who sign on, and effectively working together may also be a challenge for this diverse group of volunteers. 

Who’s Who on The Board

The four main board positions, the president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer, generally attract residents with different skill sets, backgrounds, and expectations. Ideally, the common goal is to manage the issues and maintain harmony, but each board member may favor a different approach.  If communications break down, a board may become ineffective and dysfunctional.

Serving on a dysfunctional board is difficult and frustrating for board members, and the discord often carries over to the community as a whole.  When decisions aren’t made prudently, expenses may increase while value is eroded; there are no winners when a board cannot or will not do the job of fairly governing the community. 

A Manager’s Role

An experienced property manager may be able to successfully provide the guidance and leadership necessary to  keep  an association board on track since there are early warning signs for when a board is ineffective or at risk of becoming dysfunctional.


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  • My co-op has not had an election of new board members in over 20 years- the president sends a notice of the annual meeting- come for coffee and donuts- never mentions there is an election due- now she is holding the annual meeting in December when most people will not be able to attend - therefore a quorum cannot be met. She is running a reign of terror- how can we get her off the board and elect new members
  • Phyliss let me know when you find out cause our building wont ever have a meeting or election and were over 500k in property tax dept and over 200k in water the Treasurer is the full board along with her sons that have made our building their own personal business and theres absolutley nothing i can do as a shareholder the other 2 shareholders are afraid to do something we have bank statements that shows over 40k cash was withdrawn via random atm's throughout the Bronx including an atm from the Yonkers Raceway Casino we brought this to the Treasurer attention and she ignored it and continues to do what she likes with our money and i have reached out to everyone including UHAB who once was involved and then they left and didnt even write us a letter to state that she no longer is involved in our building its a gold mine for these people we will have a lien and they will have a new home because no one will do anything even the Mayor of NY