Roles and Duties of Condo Boards vs. Property Management Companies
Today, some of the most common problems in a Condo community occur due to a lack of understanding regarding the roles and duties of the Condo Board versus the property management company.
At Tribe, we believe it is essential that everyone in a community has a thorough understanding of the Condo Board’s role and how a Property Manager can work with the Condo Board to fulfil the duties of the Condo Corporation. The term “Condo Corporation” is used to describe the owners of the units in a condominium.
After reading this helpful article, you will be able to confidently say “I understand what my Property Management company CAN and CAN’T do for my community.” Moreover, you will walk away understanding general relationship expectations between you and your Property Management company AND learn a few tips to maximize communication effectively with your Property Manager.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- What is a Condo Board, and Why Do They Exist?
- Roles Within a Condo Board
- Duties of a Property Manager
- What CAN a Property Manager Do?
- What CAN'T a Property Manager Do?
What is The Main Difference in Responsibilities Between Condo Boards and Property Management Companies?
- Communication Tips
What is a Condo Board and Why Do They Exist?
A Condo Board is a group of owner-elected volunteers who hold an interest in a condo corporation and are responsible for ensuring the corporation (and its financial assets) are secured and well-maintained on behalf of all owners, future owners and residents of the building. This group of individuals is voted by a majority of members of the condo corporation and then begins their journey within the Condo Board.
Each Condo Board member holds a common interest – to make sure all members of the community are being heard and that common issues are being addressed. While the size of a Condo Board can range depending on the size of a community, you will typically see a Condo Board consisting of 3-5 members.
Roles Within A Condo Board
1. President 👑
This appointed person oversees the business and affairs of the Condo Corporation. The President and the Condo Board as a whole are responsible for the general supervision of the business and affairs of the condo corporation.
Yes, it’s a big job, but someone must do it!
In some cases, Condo Boards also have an appointed Vice-President. This person is responsible for taking on the President's duties in their absence and helping to alleviate the responsibilities of the President (as the President usually has several projects on the go).
2. Treasurer 💰
As you can imagine, this person is responsible for overseeing the management of the finances within a community. Finances include accurate financials, balancing the budget, managing the reserve funds and taking care of invoices.
3. Secretary 💼
This detail-oriented person is the custodian of the building's records. The secretary is responsible for taking minutes at meetings (although they may not be the one who takes them), and for notices sent to residents for the annual general meeting.
Duties of a Property Manager
Meet your Property Manager (or Community Manager as we call them at Tribe)!
Property Managers work on behalf of a group of owners, to protect their collective investment (i.e., an entire Housing Corporation or Condo Corporation), which is made up of a bunch of individually owned units. Community Managers are hired to oversee the day-to-day operations of a community such as building maintenance, administration, finances, etc.
Learn more about Property Management with our Property Management – what is it anyways? +Infographic
You are not obligated to hire a Property Manager, in fact, if your community runs well while being self-managed, more power to you! However, the duties of Condo Board members can build up quickly, especially in large buildings, and soon become a full-time position which is why many Condo Boards choose to hire a Property Manager for their community.
What CAN a Property Manager Do?
Great, we now understand the high-level duties of the Property Manager but what exactly are they capable of doing?
A Property Manager is responsible for an array of duties and tasks, let's peek at what those day-to-day duties are...
- Preparing budgets
- Taking care of invoices
- Collecting monthly rent and any necessary fees
- Arranging proper and competitive insurance
- Managing the Reserve Fund
- Enforcing rules around common property
- Assist in mediating disputes between owners/residents
- Facilitate the amendment of bylaws for the good of the Community with Condo Board approval
- Guiding and advising Condo Board with Property Management expertise
- Overseeing onsite employees (i.e., cleaners, security personnel, concierge, etc.)
- Communicating with owners and residents around notice of meetings, minutes, and more
3. Property/ Building Maintenance
- Facilitating the maintenance of common areas inside and out, including amenity rooms, pools, theatres and more
- Ensuring elevators are maintained
- Maintaining accurate corporation records
- Provide legal documents required for unit sales
5. Building Management
- Ensuring the owner’s representatives (Condo Board of Directors) meet regularly to discuss building management at both Board Meetings and Annual General Meetings (AGM’s)
- Following through with decisions made by the Condo Board
- Managing the affairs of the Community which are set out in the management contract
- Ensure proper upkeep is met and send bylaw infractions to owners when necessary
What CAN'T a Property Manager Do?
Yes, there are quite a few things a Property Manager can do, however, there are certain tasks that cannot be done by a Property Manager.
1. Make Decisions.
The Property Management Company DOES NOT make decisions, all decisions are voted upon by the Condo Board which the Property Manager is tasked with fulfilling.
2. Offer Legal Advice.
Licensing prohibits any Property Management company from offering any sort of legal advice – while we are experts in our field, we are not lawyers and cannot offer any legal advice. Period. Please contact your corporation lawyer for legal advice.
For example, if a resident asks us to “Write a bylaw” we are legally not able to do so due to our licensing. However, we can use our expertise to advise our communities to the best of our abilities.
3. Raise Condo Maintenance Fees.
Please note that your Property Management Company DOES NOT raise condo maintenance fees on a yearly basis.
Your individual condo maintenance fee is calculated by the product of the total contribution of your community (which is made up of two portions: 1) Operating Fund & 2) Reserve Fund), multiplied by the unit entitlement of your condo lot, then divided by the total unit entitlement of all the condo lots in your community. This amount indicates the payment you are required to contribute each month for the next twelve months.
4. Solicit Proxies.
As you can imagine, it is crucial to have a majority of Condo Board members present to meet a quorum when voting on decisions at any Condo Board meeting. However, when a member is aware that they will not be present at a meeting, they may reach out to an individual to act as a substitute for them and vote on their behalf. This person is known as a Proxy.
It must be noted that Property Management companies CAN NOT solicit proxies and must adhere to several guidelines to ensure they are not soliciting these said proxies.
- The Property Management Company may not educate proxies on how to fill out the because this could be viewed as interference.
The Property Management Company may not suggest the Board Number on the Proxy document.
It’s a fine line in educating the Condo Board on how to properly send in the Proxy documents while not crossing any guidelines. If you are curious about how to send in a Proxy, please reach out to your Community Manager but be aware that while they may not be able to answer all your questions, they can direct you to the necessary resources to find your answers.
What is The Main Difference in Responsibilities Between Condo Boards and Property Management Companies?
To put it simply, the Property Manager acts as a trusted executor to the Condo Board and the Condo Corporation. It is the Property Manager's job to help carry out tasks and advise on some of the common issues Condo Boards face. Still, ultimately, all decisions must be made by the Condo Board.
It is crucial that everyone in the community knows and understands the roles and responsibilities mentioned above. Lack of knowledge in this area creates problems in the long run.
Managers provide industry best practices, speak about prior experiences and share the ins and outs of running a thriving community to help Condo Board members and owners make the best decisions for the community.
It’s a two-way street when it comes to having a healthy and professional relationship between Condo Board and Property Manager, which is why we wanted to share notes about expectations for a sustainable relationship.
What You Should Expect From Your Property Manager
As you know, there are several action items that come out of each Condo Board meeting (repairs, quotes, etc.). These are actions your Property Manager needs time to execute. Please give your Property Manager ample time to begin fulfilling these action items for your community.
If you are curious about the status of an action item, please do keep in mind, at this time there is a deficit of licensed Property Managers in Canada which means their portfolio can be quite exhaustive. Some helpful tips include:
Crafting your message in a professional and respectful manner. After all, we are all on the same team.
Allow 2 business days for a response from your Property Manager - Be patient, we will get back to you!
At Tribe, we have noticed an industry-wide “burnout” within Property Management, due to a combination of a shortage of licensed professionals, a global hiring shortage, an increase in demands through the pandemic, and the nature of this essential service industry.
To combat the fatigue within Property Management, we have taken a proactive step to implement “Flex Fridays,” a trial program that allows Property Managers a day free from interruptions to finish up work that has built up throughout the week. Managers are expected to respond to urgent correspondence; however, this is time dedicated to uninterrupted work. Our goal is to support work-life balance and mental health, reducing staff turnover and maintaining our ability to provide excellent service delivery.
What Your Property Manager Expects From The Condo Board
It is plain and simple; your Property Manager is working on behalf of the Condo Board and is looking out for your community’s best interest. Your Property Manager expects professional, respectful and clear communication about requests and inquiries. We are all on the same team, working towards the same goals.
Communication Tips 💡
1. Communication Overflow.
Our Property Managers receive an average of 75 emails a day. To avoid cluttering the Property Manager’s inbox please keep your Property Manager out of the loop when conversing via email with the rest of your council. Once you have gathered all the input and finalized any decisions and actions required, this is the best time to loop your Property Manager into the conversation.
2. Be Kind.
One would think this tip goes without saying, but we do find it is an important reminder. Your Property Manager manages, on average, 8-10 communities at a time. At the end of the day, we are all human and trying our best to support your community.
At Tribe, our people are essential to us. Disrespectful communication/bullying directed toward Tribe Management staff will not be tolerated. We continuously work to create a safe environment for all employees and clients. We ask that you treat every interaction in a respectful manner.
3. Designated Point of Contact.
Outside of Condo Board meetings, please designate one person as the main point of contact between your Condo Board and the Property Manager. This helps keep the information flow organized and efficient.
If choosing one person is too much responsibility, try breaking it up! Have one point of contact reach out to the Property Manager with regards to one duty, such as financial inquiries while another person is designated to reach out with regards to a different duty, such as administrative inquiries. Divide and conquer!
As you can imagine, your Property Manager can become flooded with emails if there are several people within a Condo Board reaching out regarding similar issues or concerns. To reduce clutter and increase response time, choose designated people from your Condo Board to communicate requests and inquiries with your Property Manager.
That’s all for now folks! We hope you can now walk away feeling confident in understanding the main duties of a Property Management Company versus a Condo Board.
As we now know, the Condo Board is made up of volunteers who are responsible for the general supervision of the condo corporation, while the Property Manager is hired to oversee day-to-day operations. In essence, successful Condo Boards and Property Managers work together to create a well-run community for all residents. We thank you for reading our Communication Tips and supporting our team with our new “Flex Friday” initiative to keep our clients and staff content.
At Tribe, we care for our communities like they are our own homes. Property management is our expertise, and we are here to support all your needs. If you are interested in learning how a Community Manager can help your community, we'd love to answer any of your questions. Contact us!