D.V. from outside of Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Do most condo associations have a mission or vision statement – providing the owners with “quality/aesthetic standards or benchmarks?”
Most formal associations (and companies) have such vision/mission statements but I’ve not seen such statements in condo associations. It would seem that a clear condo association vision/mission statement would help everyone understand the “benchmark” or “standards of quality” being strived for in the community.
Mister Condo replies:
D.V., in my experience, the answer is “no”. However, I want to qualify that answer by saying I am fully aware of many associations which do have mission statements which have fairly broad statements about quality of life and such. They often read more like marketing slogans than actual benchmarks or standards of quality. I can think of a few reasons that is the way it is. For starters, volunteers govern associations. And those volunteers come and go over the years. There is no way to assure that there will always be great or even capable leadership from within the association. If the mission statement were part of the governing documents and provided a benchmark against which future unit owners could interpret to mean their individual units would always be pristine or as good as new, the association could be opening itself up to lots of liability in the form of lawsuits from unit owners who felt the shrubs surrounding their unit were overgrown, or the stained shingles need replacement every five years, and so on. Some of these suits may have merit; others may be frivolous; all will have to be defended which could cost a great deal of money.
What is more common, D.V., is for associations to adopt a code of conduct such as CAI’s “Rights and Responsibilities for Better Communities”, which can be downloaded for free at http://www.caionline.org/info/readingroom/Publication%20Excerpt%20Library/rights.pdf. While this doesn’t replace a mission statement, it sets the stage for open communications and an understanding of how the Board and unit owners work together to maintain a vibrant community. In case you can’t tell, I am a big fan!
Thanks for the question. All the best!