The old adage is that it takes a village to raise a child. Think about that—it takes many people, working together, to do what’s right for just one child. It’s about teamwork. The same philosophy can be applied to running a successful community association—it also takes teamwork and each member of the team has his or her own responsibility.
Management contracts typically spell out the manager’s role—taking care of the day-to-day responsibilities of a building, handling financials, contracting for services, and more. But other team members, known collectively as the board, are volunteer residents who, in some cases, can also take on some roles in managing the property.
Despite the management contract and documents that outline the board’s responsibilities, one teammate may want to do another’s job, even if it’s not his or her responsibility, while another teammate may get stuck doing the job of someone who has dropped the ball. In other words, sometimes confusion arises over the extent and limitations of a manager’s duties versus those of a community association board.
Understand Your Role
First, in order for all teammates to know their place, it’s important to actually understand the differences in the roles of the property manager and that of the board member. “The largest, and often most overlooked, difference is that the management company works for the board,” says Ian M. Gopin, president of G&G Management & Development in Needham, Massachusetts. “No decision is made by the management company without prior consent from a majority of the board or the board president. Often, this is established up front and therefore the management company isnot required to go to the board with every little detail.”
As a result, Gopin also says there must be a level of trust between the two parties. “A board member is ridinga thin line when it comes to their responsibility because they have to live with their neighbors while the management company can play the role of ‘bad cop’ so that there can be peace in the home!”