Good communication between co-op and condo board members and the residents of the building is essential. Not only is it the key to good management and transparency, but it can prevent unwanted tension and even litigation. Board members should set time aside to communicate with other board members and the respective shareholders and owners in the building. Maintaining these relationships creates a good sense of community and culture. Setting time aside to understand individual concerns and implement an easy system that allows non-board members the opportunity to share their ideas or concerns is vital, however, shareholders and owners must also respect the board members’ boundaries and be careful not to overstep.
The Cooperator notes that the “relationship between the owner/shareholder and the board member is symbiotic; one doesn’t exist without the other. And as such, the former party can often feel entitled to board members’ time and attention.” To avoid conflicts and clashing schedules, board members should set clear boundaries and establish a chain of communication so that they are not over-burdened by shareholders and owners. As many board members have full-time jobs, it is helpful to hire a management company to run the day-to-day operations and act as the first contact source for building residents. Management companies will be able to respond to a majority of the requests and concerns, from maintenance to accounting, and can act as a filter before the issue is brought to the board members. This is particularly helpful for board members during the holidays and when they are travelling, as most management companies will have 24/7 services every day of the year.
Secondly, it is helpful if board members and the management company specify how shareholders and unit owners make requests or complaints. Typically a board will require these communications to be in writing, usually by email. Having a paper trail is an effective way for board members and management companies to keep a detailed record of all reported issues. Board members and the management company should try to ensure that any complaints are taken care of in a timely fashion (usually 24 hours). If there is a building wide issue, board members or the management company should send out notifications to each unit, in addition to an email, to ensure that everyone in the building is up to date.
Although shareholders and unit owners may get impatient at times, it is important to uphold the chain of communication. Board members and the management company should treat everyone equally and listen to the residents’ input. This will create a positive atmosphere and when issues do arise, residents will know which protocols to follow.
 Odenthal, M. (Aug. 2018) “The Chain of Communication.” The Cooperator. Available at: https://cooperator.com/article/the-chain-of-communication/full#cut. Accessed on August 17, 2018.