For the most part, human nature is fearful of change; people are more likely to stick with what they have and what they know, rather than explore new possibilities and take on unknown risks. That’s certainly the case with condo and co-ops in regards to their management companies. Most of the time, a building will enjoy a long partnership with their company and individual managing agent, never even thinking about making a move.
“Most boards will stick with an agent for as long as possible,” says Hillary Becker, president of Becker Real Estate Services Inc. in Lynbrook. “However, a management company is only as good as the person assigned to that property. If the person is good [but] leaves and goes to a different management company, the current company needs to replace that agent with someone the same or better—otherwise, the board might have to move with the departing agent.”
Familiarity and habit can also take a backseat if problem after problem arises and the building is no longer running smoothly. Then it might be time to consider making a change.
“A change could occur because of anything from a change in the expectations of a board or a change in board members,” says attorney David Byrne, a partner with the Community Associations Practice Group at the law firm of Herrick Feinstein LLC, which has offices in New York City and New Jersey. “Otherwise, a building may consider a change of agent and/or company because of owner complaints, lack of diligence, delayed or questionable accounting records or the expertise of the agent/company does not connect well with the issues faced by the building at that time.”
A building may request a change of the manager as a first step before changing firms. There are many potential reasons which could range from something as simple as a particular personality that doesn’t mesh well with the board, to slow response time on issues, or even a lack of knowledge.