Who Really Runs the Building? Who's in Charge

Most people assume that the board of directors runs the building. Actually the responsibilities for maintaining the building are usually divided between the board of directors and the managing agent. Both parties perform their functions with the advice and help of many support professionals. Typically the board establishes the policy and expenditures; and the managing agent or property manager actually runs and manages the procedures in the building. It’s important that the manager understand the philosophy and culture of the building in order to be able to implement the style the board desires.

For example, the board will make decisions about the rules and expenditures of the building. The managing agent is concerned with not only carrying out these requirements, but performing the administrative work as well, such as collecting maintenance, carrying charges and sending out notices.

Selecting Vendors

The managing agent is responsible for selecting and prescreening vendors including architects, engineers, heating suppliers, insurance and repair personnel. Their credentials are then presented to the board who will select the vendor.

Most management firms work off site, but there are companies who work on-site. The advantage of an on-site representative is that the shareholder can easily go into their office to discuss any topics and concerns. Of course, the building needs to be able to provide the space for the on site representative and not all buildings have available space for them. In some cases a small management firm will operate out of a building they manage and pay the building rent because they are also managing other buildings as well as the on-site one.

Some buildings are self-managed. This requires a good deal of work, expertise and dedication from the shareholders. Frequently this works well in a small building where the shareholders feel a strong sense of ownership and run it as though it were a private home.

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