There are many reasons why someone takes part in the board of their condo association. However, no matter what their reason for taking the position, it’s important to be aware of the responsibilities and obligations they are undertaking. By not knowing the inner workings of a condo association board, you can potentially open yourself up to lawsuits. Here are five tips that every association board member should know to protect themselves and dutifully represent their complex:
1. Know what a “unit” is as defined by your association declarations and documents. This critical and proper understanding will greatly affect the reaction to maintenance, insurance claims, the use of space, customization and the board member’s enforcement opportunities.
2. Know what your responsibilities are and where your authority, as a board member, begins and ends. You are there to enforce your covenants and by-laws. These should be referred to when addressing any question or concern.
3. Know how to balance the ever-present struggle of properly maintaining property while striving to increase reserves. Be wise and empathetic in your process and tone while enforcing the covenants and by-laws. The way in which you communicate can bolster the culture of your association or it can create contentiousness.
4. Know the difference between maintenance requirements and insured claims. It is very common for the association to be responsible for maintaining and insuring common elements but for the unit owners to be responsible for maintaining and insuring their unit. Any time the roles and obligations cross back and forth, there is confusion. Get a clear understanding of your situation right away. Your property manager and association attorney, along with your insurance agent, are the proper resource for answering these issues.
5. Know the difference between who is responsible and who has authority when the question, “What is fair?” arises. In many circumstances, the roles are very clearly defined with authority being given directly via the condominium instruments, and what seems to be fair and equitable is not always the correct method for distributing the financial burden associated with a loss or dispute.
These topics and more will be discussed at the First Condo Lecture hosted by Bernard Williams & Company, McCorkle & Johnson and Lanier Property Management on Dec. 4 at 10 a.m. at the Coastal Georgia Center. Condo board members are invited, and the event includes lunch. To reserve your spot, RSVP to email@example.com by Nov. 29.
Dan Pavlin and Ryan Sewell are account executives at Bernard Williams & Company.