The Ontario Condo Board Guide to Success
Being a member of a Condo Corporation can be a fulfilling experience, as you have the opportunity to contribute to the management and decision-making of your community.
If you are currently serving on your Condo Board or considering volunteering, it is important to understand your role and the ways in which you can make positive changes during your term. By knowing how to effectively implement these changes, you can make a meaningful impact on your community.
This survival guide is designed to help you and your Condo Board make better decisions and feel more confident in your roles. It includes tips and insights from our experienced Community Managers in Ontario, all compiled in one place to support your path to success.
Table of Contents
What is a Condo Board?
In a nutshell, a Condo Board is a group of volunteers within a Community who is responsible for ensuring the Condo Corporation is well-managed and reporting to the property management company regarding day-to-day operations.
These operations include financial management, bylaw enforcement, and abiding by the guidelines set by the Condominium Act, 1998.
If you think about an art museum, this role would be like playing the position of a Gallery Director...that is if there were multiple Gallery Directors at one museum. The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)? The Museum of Contemporary Art? These are some of our favourites! Gallery Directors facilitate team huddles, organize upcoming plans (new exhibits) and ultimately make the gallery a space welcome for all – or in our case, a happier and healthier home (see what we did there).
What is a Condo Board in charge of?
If we were to summarize in one word – it would be LOTS!
A Condo Board is responsible for numerous tasks in a Condo Corporation, such as ensuring all maintenance and upkeep are carried out. The Board is in charge of hiring Consultants to review the Reserve Fund every 3 years, reviewing bylaws, staying up to date with legislation, and lastly, enacting and enforcing the safety and well-being of others within the Community.
The Condo Board must ensure that the Property Manager (if they choose to work with one) is up to date on the day-to-day operations of the Condo Corporation. In a nutshell, it's all about working together!
At Tribe, our Property Managers are known as Community Managers. This is because we take a people-forward approach to property management.
PS. The Condominium Board of Ontario requires Board members to take an online course (approx. 3 hours) to educate themselves on the general knowledge of operating a Condo Board. This course must be taken within the first 6 months of being elected.
Even with multiple years of experience and a hardworking team, it is expected a Condo Board will face challenges. Luckily, we've compiled a list of challenges and common issues Condo Boards in Ontario face and how to solve them.
Condo Board Roles, Responsibilities and Tips for Success
There are four essential positions within a Condo Board: President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary.
These positions are commonly delegated at the first Boarding Meeting after your Community's Annual General Meeting (AGM). Each volunteer has a clear understanding of their responsibilities and what functions they oversee to allow for smooth sailing throughout their term!
We've prepared an outline of what each role entails, the core responsibilities, and ways to be successful in the position:
The President of the Condo Board acts as the representative of the Condo Corporation during emergency situations.
They are responsible for coordinating and assigning tasks, ensuring the team has the necessary resources to perform effectively. In instances of a tied vote, the President must be prepared to make the final decision.
As the leader of the Board of Directors and the community, the President must also possess strong listening skills to effectively address the concerns of Board Members and Owners.
How to excel in the role of the President
1) Be ready to act as the tie-breaking vote when necessary.
When there comes a time when there is a split vote, the President must be prepared to make the final tiebreaker vote.
2) Lead effective Board Meetings.
This includes being organized and prepared, as well as working closely with the Community Manager to lead the meetings.
Similar to politics, the Vice President serves as a check and balance to the President and must be prepared to assume their responsibilities if the President is unable to perform them.
They may also be in charge of overseeing key community committees such as the Landscaping Committee or the Security Committee, depending on the specific needs of the community.
How to excel in the role of Vice-President
1) Stay informed about the state of the Board and Community.
As the second-in-command, the Vice President must be ready to take on the role of Chair in the event that the President is unable to fulfill their duties or an extra perspective is needed.
The Treasurer is responsible for ensuring the financial well-being of the community by working with other members and the Property Manager to analyze financial reports and develop a budget.
How to excel in the role of Treasurer
1) Work with the Accounting Department of your Property Management to familiarize yourself with financial statements.
2) Examine financial reports on a monthly basis and ask your Community Manager for clarification to increase your understanding.
3) Collaborate with your Property Management Company and be prepared to respond to any financial queries that may arise at Board Meetings or the Annual General Meeting.
4) Maintaining organization and staying informed about the financial status of your community is essential for keeping your community informed.
The Secretary is responsible for keeping records of meeting minutes which includes documenting the discussions that took place before and during a meeting.
The Secretary ensures that minutes are properly recorded and approved by collaborating with the Board. They are responsible for documenting all information and in the absence of the Property Manager, they take the meeting minutes.
How to excel in the role of Secretary
1) Collaborate with your Property Management company to ensure that documents are easily accessible to owners and residents.
Some Owners may ask where they can find the meeting minutes! Answering these questions is a key part of being the Secretary.
2) Maintain clear communication.
It's essential to keep information flowing to keep the Condo Board and Owners informed, as communities are made up of many people.
Creating sub-groups or Committees can further enhance the effectiveness of your Condo Corporation. Examples of such groups include Landscaping Committee, Social Committee, Parking Committee, Exterior Modifications Committee, etc.
It is crucial for members, owners, and residents to be informed about the roles and responsibilities of the Condo Board in order to foster education and inclusion within the community.
Condo Board FAQs
How much power does a Condo Board have?
Condo Boards hold power within a Community and enforce the Condominium Act, declarations, bylaws, and rules. The Board also amends existing bylaws if there is a 50% plus one vote among Owners.
They have the power to approve projects, accept or deny budgets drafted by a Property Management Company, and approve the Reserve Fund every 3 years. The Condo Board is voted in to represent the interest of all Owners within the Community and must act fairly when making decisions on behalf of Community members.
Living in a condominium corporation means positively contributing to the Community. When you vote for a resolution and represent Owners and Residents, it is essential to do what is best for your community. Specific rules about how a condominium corporation in Ontario must operate can be found in the Condominium Act, 1998.
How is a Condo Board formed?
It is essential to have the right individuals on your Condo Board to maintain a well-functioning and successful community. Therefore, an annual election is held at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) to bring in new members.
When voting as an Owner, it is important to consider the following factors in a candidate:
- Leadership, altruism, and collaboration abilities
- Care, diligence and effective communication skills
- Experience or willingness to learn new skills in the role they are running for
- Efficient time management and dedication to serving the community.
According to the Condominium Act, 1998, every Condo Board must have at least three directors.
The term for a director can last between 1-3 years, depending on the Community bylaws, and typically seats are open to being voted upon at every AGM.
To run for a position, either the Property Management Company or the Board will send out a pre-notice package 35 days in advance of the AGM. If a person is interested in running for the Board, they must submit their name and disclosure statement to the Condo Corporation by a specified date written in the package. Next, when the AGM notice goes out to Owners (15 days before the meeting), all volunteers who nominated themselves will be listed in the package to be viewed by the Community.
As a general rule of thumb, voting procedures typically depend on your Community's bylaws and rules.
Who is eligible to sit on a Condo Board?
In Ontario, you must be an owner to run for a position. However, a bylaw can be passed that will be more specific in terms of who can be elected to the Board, provided that this bylaw is within the purview of the Condominium Act, 1998.
As an Owner, you must NOT:
- Have a Co-Owner who is also sitting on the Condo Board. This ensures equal representation by not allowing more than one individual per condo lot to sit on the Board.
- Have a criminal record. All members must pass a criminal record check.
While these are a couple of reasons someone may not be eligible to sit on the Board, this list is not exhaustive. If you have questions about whether you are eligible to serve on a Board position or how to sign up, please contact your Community Manager.
Can Condo Board Members be paid?
Board positions are unpaid volunteer roles; however, Condo Corporations may pay for incurred expenses such as gas and other miscellaneous if this is a voted-upon rule within a Community.
Note: Promoting transparency and open communication in the community is important, therefore, it is necessary to disclose in writing any form of compensation (monetary or otherwise) in the budget if remuneration occurs.
How long is a term on a Condo Board?
The length of a Board Member's term can vary from 1-3 years, depending on the Community bylaws. Usually, the terms of Board Members are staggered to ensure continuity of knowledge.
A common question is whether a Board Member can be terminated before their term ends, and the answer is yes. Reasons for termination may include using disrespectful language, not attending meetings, or failing to fulfill the responsibilities of the role. For example, if a Condo Board Treasurer does not create the required financial statements or handle information as needed, they may be removed from their position.
Survival Tips for Board Members
If you've been elected to a position on your Condo Board, don't stress! We've put together some helpful tips to make your transition smooth and make you feel like a pro.
- Act proactively.
Each season brings its own challenges for your Condo Corporation to prepare for. For example, in the summer, you should remind Owners and Tenants about BBQ rules; in the fall, you should remind them about gutter cleaning.
- Have the necessary documents on hand.
Trust us; we know there's much to learn about Property Management. If you don't have a Community Manager, make sure you have important documents like the Community bylaws, declaration, and rules for your Condo Corporation ready and review the agenda for Condo Board meetings in advance so you can make informed decisions.
- Establish boundaries.
As a Board Member, it's likely that a neighbour will approach you to ask about matters outside of an official Board Meeting. When this happens, inform them politely that you don't have the authority to speak for the Condo Board as a whole and that they should send a written submission to the Board via the Community Manager for review at upcoming meetings.
- Keep an open mind.
Every Property Management Company operates a bit differently. Keep an open mind as you learn about their service delivery approach and specific processes. Remember that they need to get your Condo Board and the entire community on board.
- Be ready to take action.
As a Condo Board Member, it's time to roll up your sleeves and ensure meaningful work gets done in your community. Stay proactive, involved, and willing to help.
- Know when your meetings are scheduled.
Because the times and dates of all Board Meetings are established well in advance, make sure to keep your calendar free and inform your Board President or Community Manager if you cannot make it. If the quorum is not met, the meeting may be rescheduled for another time.
- HAVE FUN!
Being on a Condo Board can be a serious and challenging responsibility, but don't forget that maintaining your community is also about connecting with other people and enjoying your time together as you work towards common goals.
By following these quick and easy tips, you'll excel in your role on the Board. Remember to stay calm, level-headed and use your best judgement.
What is the relationship between a Condo Board and a Certified Community Manager?
At the end of the day, signing up to serve on a Condo Board comes with great responsibility. Your Board should feel supported in its operations to ensure your community is as healthy as possible. You are not alone, though. Your Condo Corporation may choose to hire a Property Management Company to take on items such as financials, administration, maintenance for your building, and community building. Having an industry expert on your side can make life easier!
It is important to note that while Community Managers are a great source of information, experience and knowledge the ultimate responsibility of decision-making is done by the Board.
Curious to learn more about the Roles and Duties of Condo Boards vs. Property Management Companies?
Community Managers cannot make legal recommendations for your community, but they can provide real-life experiences, share their expertise for increased efficiency of operations, and support your community in fostering a happy community. Think of them as trusted advisors! That's why it’s important to learn how Condo Boards should collaborate with their Property Management company.
Now that you understand the responsibilities of a Condo Board and tips on how to be successful in your community, we invite you to talk with a Community Manager expert about how we can help you.
Boards that thrive not only get the job done but do it in a way where Owners feel like their interests are heard. It is about putting your community on the right track, as your community is your home. Think that a Community Manager can help your community? Contact us today!