Everyone loves a Top 10 list and the co-op and condo world is no different. Besides, if Letterman can do it, so can we. With that in mind, this month we’ve got the top ten things that drive board members crazy about their residents and the top ten things that make residents pull their hair and curl into the fetal position. More importantly, we’ve got suggestions on how to put all of those trifling items to rest and help board members and residents find a happy common ground.
So let’s get right to the list making, shall we?
Board Members’ Big 10
1) What Rulebook? Residents not knowing the rules and regulations of the community in which they live can cause major headaches for board members…and for other unit owners. Jack McGrath, now finishing his 10th year as board member for The Grande at Colt’s Neck in New Jersey, recalls a neighbor who admitted to him that he’d never once read the condo community’s rulebook. Instead, he would come to Jack with questions on what was and wasn’t allowed. Without becoming familiar with regulations, residents have a far greater chance of accidentally breaking a rule, incurring a fine and finding themselves in a mess of trouble down the line. Ironically, it’s often the folks who know the least about their community’s rules who complain the loudest when they find themselves called out for breaking one.
2) It’s All About Me! Sometimes problems within a community arise simply because residents don’t consider the needs and welfare of their neighbors. Whether it’s installing a satellite dish that blocks a shared view or putting in a motion detector that floods a neighbor’s bedroom with light at four in the morning—these are the kind of arguments that end up being hashed out at a board meeting, taking time and energy away from issues that affect the community as a whole. “It gets back to the board and becomes something they have to solve,” McGrath says.
3) Nickel-and-Diming -- “They’ll ask, ‘Why are you charging me?’” for maintenance increases, says Mona Shyman, vice president of the Federation of New York Housing Cooperatives & Condominiums (FNYHC). “And then the board member has to remind them, “I’m paying the same thing!”