M.B. from Fairfield County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Mister Condo replies:
M.B., that is a great question and one I hear more and more from condo associations, especially ones where financial issues make it unappealing to serve on the Board as homeowners can quickly turn ugly when being asked to part with monies for repairs. However, the business of the association must be conducted and that requires volunteers to come forth and serve.
The first order of business is to know how many Board members are required by the condo’s governing documents. Once that number is known, it is incumbent upon the current Board members to make sure that minimum number is met. If they perform their duties, there is no problem. But your question is about what happens when they don’t find enough volunteers.
Technically, without a Board, the association cannot function. It cannot collect dues. It cannot pay contractors. It cannot govern the association. The next step is for a creditor to commence a lawsuit. At that time, the courts could appoint a receiver, at the association’s expense, to handle the business that would likely be handled by the Board. That could be truly disastrous for the association’s members. Common fees and special assessments would likely be on hand and would continue until such time as the community provided enough volunteers to create a Board. Delinquency rates would likely skyrocket leading to increased foreclosures and market devaluation of all units. Truly, it would be a terrible situation for any condo to sustain.
I don’t know if you are asking this question theoretically or if your community is facing a lack of leadership volunteers. If it is the latter, you need to spread the word that a lack of volunteerism will cost the community dearly, up to and including its very existence. If civic leadership for its own sake doesn’t motivate people to volunteer, perhaps the thought of losing their home to financial hardship will. I’ve enclosed a motivational item you should print in your community newsletter. Good luck!
Why volunteer to be on the Board?
- To protect your property values and maintain the quality of life you expect in your community.
- To correct a problem within your community. Perhaps parking is an issue, or maintenance has been neglected.
- To give back to your community and neighbors.
- To be sociable, meet your neighbors, and make friends.
- To advance your career and build your personal resume by including your leadership capacity and community volunteer service.
- To have fun accomplishing things around your community together with your neighbors. Being on the Board doesn’t always have to be negative.
- To get educated on the many facets of running a community association such as; the many laws and regulations, maintenance and repair, and understanding financials.
- To express yourself and be creative while offering your opinion on solutions to your communities day to day problems.
- To earn recognition from your peers for your contributions to the community.
- To advance the ‘givers gain’ mentality of improving society as a whole while assisting your neighbors throughout the community.