It's a Fantastic But "Thankless" Job Being a Condo Board Director
By Willie Jose
For quite a long time, I’ve been with the 7-man board of directors helping manage one of the biggest condominiums in Scarborough with 180 homeowners. It’s both an exciting and daunting task.
Managing this multi-million condo complex is no ordinary undertaking because the board has to balance the competing interests of both the old and new homeowners—well, it’s understandable because our home is the most significant investment in life.
On the one hand, newcomers always want to either freeze or lower the condo’s monthly maintenance fees. On the other hand, old-time residents don’t mind the figure as long as it does not affect the value of their homes.
To make it easier for us to craft the condo’s yearly budget and make reasonable decisions regarding the reserve fund, repair works, and the hiring of contractors, we have to ask the expert opinions of the professionals: a licensed property manager, lawyer, auditor, and engineers.
Although we are not lawyers, it’s good to get a bird’s eye view of the Condominium Act of 1998 that governs the operation of the condo corporation. The Act clearly defines the separation of the responsibilities of the board of directors and the homeowners.
With this Act, we, the board of directors, have to undergo a certain kind of training online and get a certificate, thereby teaching us about our duties and responsibilities.
Although we have hired the services of the professional property manager to oversee the condo’s day-to-day operation, the board has the final say in making decisions.
Managing a condo is just like running and putting our homes in order, setting the priorities in place. Should we do the roof repairs first or fix the leaking faucets? Do we have enough funds to cover the costs of these repairs?
One doesn’t need the intelligence of a rocket scientist to serve on the board; all one needs is the spirit of volunteerism, a common sense and a big heart—and all these will help one well in coming up with good decisions that affect their home and community.
What’s so exciting about my experience is that I’ve witnessed the fusion of various races, ethnic groups’ cultural traits, and values in the board’s composition. The board itself reflects Canada’s much-vaunted multiculturalism—white, black, Middle Eastern, and Asian races joining forces to make a difference in their community.
These people want to be united regardless of their differences of background and culture. They are bent on achieving their common goal—to bring about significant changes in the complex and create a friendly community, thereby bringing pride in themselves.
If you look around in our complex now, many of our homeowners are availing themselves of the high prices of units here, and they have one thing in common: they all thanked the board for enhancing the value of their homes.
One afternoon, I had a chance to talk with Tony Afable, who was then putting some of their stuff downstairs to prepare for the takeover of the new owner who bought their unit.
“I got a good price for my unit because of the good performance of the board; the complex is loan free, fully paying the old loan that had been secured by the old board,” he said.
Another former homeowner, Precy Clerigo, thanked me for steering the board, saying, “I got more than what I was asking for, I got above the asking price for my unit. I had number of bidders trying to outbid each other. Why? Because our complex has a clean status certificate, no loans, and we have enough reserve funds.”
Some former homeowners, such as Deborah, Catherine, and Jessie, have expressed the same sentiments in thanking the board for enhancing the value of our homes.
We at present have a stable reserve fund, meaning we have enough funds to cover the costs of significant projects in the complex. We address all of the homeowners’ requests for repair work as soon as we can.
A big “Thank You “is in order for our ever-reliable and ubiquitous super couple, Adjo and Adel, who have done their tasks very well.
Of course, the board cannot satisfy everyone. There will always be people complaining and we are not politicians. Firstly and foremostly, we are homeowners doing our very best to protect the value of our homes.
This job is voluntary work, so our conscience is clear. We are not making a single cent from this thankless job. Everything in the board’s meeting is above board.
Here’s the board’s appeal to the homeowners: “Even if you are not on the board, you can actively get involved in the affairs of the complex. Please request the property management for the minutes of the board’s monthly meeting and other documents that could be made available to you. By getting these documents, you can make an informed decision.”
We want to assure our homeowners that we, on the board, will always do our best to enhance both the physical and financial image of the complex. We know that many of you appreciate what we have done to make our complex a better place to live.