Roberto Noce looks at what a board needs to do get its financial house in order for The Calgary Herald
Question: I am the president of my condo board. Our condominium complex has just under 100 units. We are struggling financially, and have some major repairs ahead of us. We have no money in our reserve fund. We are dissatisfied with our current property management company, and half the board wants to self-manage in an effort to save money. I disagree. Is self-management a wise decision given the number of units? Please help!
Answer: The Condominium Property Act does not require condominium corporations to hire a property/condominium management company. Condominium corporations can decide to self-manage. The board of the condominium corporation can directly manage the corporation.
The reason that self-managed condominium corporations are not that common is because most board members do not have the time to take care of the many administrative responsibilities of a condominium corporation, such as collecting condominium fees and dealing with complaints.
Before deciding, the board should determine what things the property/condominium management company does, and who on the board would take on those responsibilities in the event that you terminate your property/condominium management company.
As well, you stated that you are struggling financially as a condominium corporation. Why? Is this the fault of your property/condominium management company, or is it because the board (and previous boards) failed to make important financial decisions about the future of your condominium corporation? Are your condominium fees too low? Have you not budgeted properly to deal with the day to day responsibilities and future needs of the condominium corporation?
Your question cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. Rather, you should hire an accountant and a lawyer to assist you in understanding how you can get your financial house back in order. Finally, the board needs to fully grasp its responsibilities if you decide to self-manage.
Helpful Hint: Living in a condominium complex requires patience. Condominium managers play a vital role in condominium living. The right condominium manager will significantly lower board members’ workloads, and provide service to owners on timely basis. You should shop around and interview prospective condominium managers if you are not currently satisfied.
Roberto Noce, Q.C. is a partner with Miller Thomson LLP in both the Edmonton and Calgary offices. He welcomes your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Answers are not intended as legal opinions; readers are cautioned not to act on the information provided without seeking legal advice on their unique circumstances. Follow Noce on Twitter at @RobertNoce.