J.K. from Windham County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I am a new condo owner. I graduated from college two years ago and could finally afford to stop renting by buying an inexpensive condo. I went to my first homeowner’s meeting last week and I wasn’t real impressed with the folks running this place. The property manager ran the meeting and the folks at the front table just seemed content to go along with whatever he said. There were a few people in the back of the room who complained about the condition of the decks but nothing was voted on to fix the decks. It seemed like a waste of my time and I won’t likely go to another meeting. How do these people get to be on the Board?
Mister Condo replies:
J.K., sounds like you had a fairly lackluster experience for your first homeowner’s meeting. That is too bad. I hope you’ll give it another try. Here’s why:
The only requirement for serving on the Board of Directors at a condominium in our state is that you volunteer to serve and are either appointed to the Board by existing members or are voted into office by a majority of the other unit owners. It is a volunteer commitment. Board members are not paid to serve. They are residents of the association, just like you. It is not proper for a Property Manager to run a homeowner’s meeting, although it is not uncommon for them to report on the association’s finances and maintenance projects. Some Boards will ask their Property Manager to help guide their meetings because many property managers have been attending these meetings for years whereas Board members could be new or inexperienced. Either way, the Board is responsible to conduct the meeting and the President of the Board is the usual meeting leader.
There are many reasons why you should continue to go to your association meetings. Some topics discussed will determine your enjoyment of your property. Other topics may affect your common fees or involve special assessments. You certainly want to have your say in those matters. Also, you may find that you have something to offer the Board that will influence their decisions. They were voted to serve on the Board by the unit owners like you. They can’t serve your needs if you don’t let them know what you want. Finally, maybe you’ll want to volunteer to serve on the Board. That really is the best way to appreciate how challenging a volunteer job it is to serve your community as a leader. Good luck!