Running the day-to-day business of a co-op, condo or HOA of any size—be it a self-contained high-rise in Manhattan or a sprawling, multi-building community in Queens—requires not just a functional board but a team of competent outside professionals. These professionals keep things running smoothly and efficiently for residents and boards—from the legal counsel who advises board members on their responsibilities under the law, to the accountant who balances the books and keeps tabs on the building’s assets, to the property manager who juggles board, resident, and municipal concerns.
Since the professionals working for your building are so essential, it’s critical that you as a board collectively choose the best people to work for you, whether as an attorney, accountant, or manager. Figuring out how to choose those people is the difficult part however, as there are hundreds of professionals in each market, all clamoring for your community's dollar.
While just about everyone in your association or building will have an opinion on who should be hired to do a particular job for the community, ultimately that's a decision made by the elected board. Board members get to figure out which management company to select, along with which accountants, attorneys and other professionals to hire, says Andrew Fortin, senior vice president of external affairs at Associa, the largest association management company in the country with offices nationwide, including two in New York.
Bigger buildings with lots of complex amenities have to choose people to run the amenity team, along with the cleaning team and everyone else who helps support the community and its facilities. The bigger and more expansive a building, the more people needed to run it—and the more complicated the situation can become.
“The board should give special thought to how each professional level service provider is hired, and should engage in due diligence to confirm professional licenses, uncover any ethics complaints or other potential red flags,” Fortin says. “Some management companies offer pre-screened vendors that the association may choose to use if they wish. This can be a benefit to the board, as many of these vendors are pre-screened to ensure they are fully licensed and insured.”