M.W. from Windham County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I am a new condo owner. There is a company called “Property Upsurge” that wants to totally replace all current board members. Is this a good idea? We need to vote in the next few weeks. The current board members are mostly owner/occupants.
Mister Condo replies:
M.W., generally speaking, it is not a good idea to replace all of your condo Board members, especially at one time. The exception would be if a terrible abuse of power had occurred and all of the Board members were involved. For instance, if community funds were stolen or something drastic or criminal like that. While I have no personal experience with “Property Upsurge”, I have to assume it is some type of property management firm. As such, it has no ability whatsoever to replace all current board members. That being said, if the current Board members have behaved in such a manner that the unit owners of the condominium are calling for their removal there is proper procedure for doing so outlined in your condo documents which I suggest you consult before making a decision to either recall or vote out your existing Board.
Since you are a new condo owner, a quick explanation may be in order. As a unit owner, you are one of the owners of the association. You and all other unit owners have a say in who runs the association and the annual budget, which is the financial blueprint for how the community will be managed from year to year. In the normal course of action, volunteers from the community are elected to serve as Directors and they conduct the business of the association. If a Property Management firm is employed by the association, the firm conducts its business at the discretion and oversight of the Board. It is fairly common for the Property Management firm to be the collector of the common fees and the keeper of the checkbook. Day to day business operations are routinely handled by the Property Management Company.
With that in mind, it should be perfectly clear that the Property Management firm works for the association. They are not the governing body of the condominium and have nothing to do with the election or removal of volunteer Board members. In fact, they are prohibited from getting in the way of such governance. If there has been a petition amongst disgruntled residents to replace their sitting Board there is due process which must be followed. Without knowing the specifics of why “Property Upsurge” has called for an election to replace Board members, it is not possible for me to offer any particular advice. Your best bet may be to speak with a neighbor who is aware of the politics of your association and find out for yourself if such drastic measure is needed.