D.K. from New Haven County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We are a small 11-unit condo and are self-managed. Our current unit owner who manages the property is exhausted and we need to compensate him. Our understanding is we cannot compensate when self-managed. Is that correct?
Mister Condo replies:
D.K., I am sorry to hear that your self-managed condo requires so much management that the volunteer unit owner is exhausted. Self-managed means different things to different folks so let me ask you what is the reason for their exhaustion? Typically, smaller self-managed associations like yours keep their own books (although some hire that work out). Physical labor like landscaping, building maintenance, and such should be hired out with the Board overseeing their work. Appointing a particular Board member to oversee the work of these contractors is typical but shouldn’t be so strenuous a task as to exhaust anyone. If you are having a volunteer member of the community perform labor on behalf of the community, and want to compensate them for that work, I don’t see a problem with the concept but I would recommend against it because it gives the appearance of impropriety. It would be better business practice and far less liability to the association to hire out for the labor. Always hire licensed and insured contractors to do your work. If a volunteer is performing labor for the association and gets injured (falls off a ladder, etc.) the association could be sued. Your by-laws may specifically prohibit any unit owner from being paid for performing services for the association. In that case, you are prohibited from paying a unit owner and must hire outside help. Don’t allow any unit owner to perform work that could put the association in jeopardy if an injury occurs. All the best!