Everyone has experienced disorganization at one time or another. Say you have to go somewhere, and you forgot your driver’s license, only to find it in the pocket of another jacket. Or you can’t locate your cell phone because you turned it off—only to finally find it under a pile of mail in the kitchen.
If this situation is so disruptive to one’s personal life, that goes ten-fold for a co-op or condo building or a management office. Imagine if someone moves out after 20 years, and no one knows how much that person owes in fees. Or someone loses a key, and no one in the maintenance office knows where to find a duplicate. Or management loses the waiting list for spaces in the garage, with no backup copy to be found.
Indeed, if your building has poor-record-keeping, you might be paying for items you really shouldn’t have to pay for—or paying for supplies or services more than once. “Maybe you have to redo a job that has a warranty,” says Josh Koppel, president of HSC Management in Yonkers. “A lot of buildings whose records are in shambles end up paying someone else, because they’re not aware that the warranty on the original installation is still in effect.”
No one wants to be in situations like these. That’s why consistent record-keeping and preserving documents—both physical documents and online copies—are so important.
Brendan Keany, general manager of Mutual Redevelopment Houses (also known as Penn South), a self-managed, limited equity co-op in Manhattan, says historical data often helps the staff pinpoint the cause of a maintenance problem—for example, a leak. “You go into the data of the individual apartments in that line, and you might see that an individual cooperator didn’t replace a faucet or piping,” he says.