A.G. from New Hampshire writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
As a condo board member, I need to schedule Association paid services without residents complaining about the date or time. Recently, the dryer vents for our 18 units were scheduled to be cleaned. I sent out a first notice about a week ago and a second reminder went out just before the cleaning. I quickly received 4 emails saying: they are not available on the date, the time is not convenient, they don’t want to give a key to a neighbor. I try very hard to be accommodating and I understand that sometimes conflicts arise but no matter what day I might select for the service (actually, the company selected the date this time), I know I will receive special requests and complaints. Is there a “magical” way to diplomatically tell our residents there will be no accommodation for individual schedules? For 3 residents, I politely told them today that if they miss the cleaning, they will be billed for the service as well as charged for a separate service call. Is there a better way to get everyone’s cooperation? Thanks very much!
Mister Condo replies:
A.G., the short answer is “no”. There is never going to be a “magic” time that works for all association members. The unwillingness to give a neighbor a key is unfortunate because that would likely solve the problem. You have a policy in place that allows for folks to not allow the cleaning (at their expense) that satisfies the requirement of having the vent cleaning done while providing the owner the ability to schedule the cleaning at their own time. In the future, you might want to try a different negotiating tactic with the vendor, allowing multiple dates and times. This will cost more but might keep residents happier. In other words, allow owners to contact the vendor directly to schedule their cleaning on one of two pre-negotiated dates, say a Tuesday and a Saturday. You won’t get as good a price but you might just happier homeowners and that can be priceless. Good luck!
2 thoughts on “Picking a Service Date and Time All Condo Unit Owners Can Agree Upon”
This is always a difficult thing. I manage a 120 unit condo association. We schedule dryer vent cleanings every other year. Same for chimney inspections and cleanings. In the past, we allowed owners/residents to chose which of 2 dates they wanted. 90% successful. If they were not able to be present, their only choice was to give a key to a neighbor or give a key to me (the semi-onsite-manager). That has worked pretty well, since I’ve focused on creating trust with the owners/residents. However, it’s been a pain in the tush to coordinate and the vendors have to cover all the buildings on each date. Going forward, it is not going to be ‘a democracy’. We will announce the dates for each group of buildings. Anyone who will not be home or trust us with a key will either need to agree to a bulk makeup date OR they will need to schedule it individually and pay the price. If they choose the latter it will cost a bunch more and they need to send proof of the work to the condo office by a specified date. No exceptions. No choice of vendor. And we emphasize it is to satisfy insurance requirements and for their own safety. It ‘usually’ works pretty well.
I started this “chain” and I very much appreciate the reply. I have decided that in the future and with the go-ahead from the other Board members, that there will be 1 date for mandated inspections/services to be provided. The residents who can’t ask a neighbor to keep a key and let the company in will be required to privately schedule at considerable added expense and that they would forfeit the subsidy for the service paid by our Association. Several spare keys DID change hands as a result. For 2 residents who wished not to comply, they paid, without subsidy, the full bill for the service and a copy of the receipt was requested and filed. A little more work for me, a notable expense for the residents to boot but I don’t really want to play around with the town and state trying to explain why services were not performed on 100% of the units.