While many condominium associations and co-op corporations hire professional property managers or management firms to handle the routine (and not-so-routine) tasks involved in running a multifamily building or HOA, a significant number take the opposite route, eschewing formal management and running their properties themselves. While most of these self-managed communities tend to be on the smaller side, self-management can be successful at any size, from a handful of units to hundreds.
Self-management involves numerous skills, however; everything from accounting to minor home repairs may need to be handled directly by the board, rather than being delegated by a manager or firm. Obviously, anyone with a plumbing problem can call a plumber; you don’t have to be a professional manager to intervene when a leak rears its head. But that said, the most successful self-managed properties are those that do have a range of practical skills distributed among owners, and a positive, community-oriented view from members. It’s a ‘pitch-in’ sort of atmosphere, and it’s not for everyone.
The arrival of COVID-19 has had major implications for all properties and their management of course, but the pandemic-related restrictions on close personal contact has had a particularly personal effect on smaller, self-managed communities. New England Condominium spoke with several self-managed community leaders to understand how the global health crisis has changed the way they live, and how they manage themselves.
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High View condos, located on Cape Cod in Sandwich, Massachusetts, is a 96-unit condominium community. The units are located in four three-level garden apartment style buildings that were constructed in phases between 1974 and 1982. The property is not age-restricted, and features a clubhouse.
Ursula Price is High View’s treasurer, and has served as such since 1993. She says that when the property converted to condominium ownership, it had a contracted management company. The association changed companies several times, but the residents (several of whom were professionals in architecture, engineering, or real estate themselves) were unhappy with the management companies—mostly because of deferred maintenance. Residents with relevant, applicable experience took over the board and ended the management relationship.