A.P. from outside of Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
How are age-restricted condos (55+ years old) faring nationally when it comes to good governance (e.g., adequate reserves, fiscal soundness, effective ongoing maintenance, etc.)? Our average age in a retiree community marketed to “independent only” seniors (we are not a continuing care community) is 79 years old. We have many nonagenarians and even centenarians “aging in place”. Frankly, there are too few of us without cognitive or physical decline who are available to field a competent Board. The facility and grounds are looking increasingly shabby and there’s a pronounced refusal to entertain new ideas–like consideration of compliance with ADA requirements for barrier-free access to common elements or Wi-Fi in the Clubhouse. God help us that we might rescind an ill-conceived global ban on an owners’ right to rent a property based on an ill-informed fear of Section 8 low-income seniors “despoiling” our property. The residents here are failing at self-governance. But a quality management hire has been hard to come by.
Mister Condo replies:
A.P., I have no hard data to substantiate a generalization about the quality of governance in age-restricted condos. Further, since your unit owners are well beyond the magic number of “55”, even that data would not really answer your question as it is posed. As you know, the standards for a continuing care community are completely different than a “55+” community so the real question here is whether the association is able to self-govern with the current group of volunteer unit owners. My guess is that with an average age of 79, there are plenty of community members that have the faculties fully intact and have no problem handling the day-to-day governance issues that are faced by Board of Directors at community associations all across the country. However, if that is not the case, and the grounds are falling into decay and the common elements are not being cared for properly, it may be time to elect some new Board members who will get the job done. A well-intentioned property manager could help make the situation better but the property manager still reports to the Board and gets his or her marching orders from the Board. You need the best brightest of your unit owners to volunteer their time to serve. After all, they will benefit as well from a well-run association. Good luck!