Managing Responsibilities: The Roles of Boards and Condo Management

The condo management business is a funny one. In nearly every other industry you can think of, there exists a clear set of expectations and agreements regarding the role and relationship between client and service provider – but somewhere along the way, those lines got a bit blurry for folks in our industry of work.

Take appliance delivery and installation, as an example. When you buy a new stove, someone comes to your house, hauls it inside, installs it, and leaves. That’s the socially-agreed-upon expectation. If stove installation worked the same way the condo management industry seems to, though, things would run a bit differently: you’d have some clients who would direct you to drop the stove off ten blocks from their home and never speak to them again, while others would expect that you stick around after the install to cook them dinner – and then clear the dishes away afterward, to boot!

To this end, we thought we’d take some time in today’s blog to cover off exactly what the condominium management company’s role is in relation to a condo community’s board of directors, and to quickly discuss how this relates to the upcoming changes to the Condominium Property Act here in Alberta.

The Need for Collaboration

The first notion that’s important to dispel is the idea that once you hire a condo property management company, the board as a whole can just sit back and enjoy the ride. This simply isn’t the case. In order to find success, there needs to be a strong, collaborative relationship between the condo board and the condo management company – one that’s built upon the foundation of open and ongoing communication.

Not only is this sort of a back-and-forth relationship important for the health and wellbeing of the condo community at large, but it’s also about to become enshrined in provincial legislation once the new Condominium Property Act amendments come into effect on July 1. The CPA stipulates that condo boards will be required to provide key documents such as AGM minutes to the condo management company in order to comply with provincial regulation.

In addition to these upcoming document-related changes, there are also guidelines around board/tenant relation considerations that need to be taken into account, as well. For example, condo management companies shouldn’t be expected to handle tenant violations or similar sorts of situations by simply acting at the direction of the board. In these sorts of situations, the management company may act as a liaison or a mediator, but must ultimately allow for the board to act as an authority.

The Line Between Boards and Management Companies

So, if a condo management company isn’t in a position to act in the board’s stead, what exactly is its role? And while we’re on the subject, where do condo boards themselves fit into the equation?

In essence, the role of condo boards involves the following considerations:

  • Setting condo corporation policy on all matters relating to the enforcement of by-laws and regulations,
  • The control, management, and administration of property within the condo community,
  • The direction of the activities of any hired condo management company, and
  • Upholding and maintaining all directives and statutory duties as laid out within the Condominium Property Act.

From there, the obligations required of a condo management company start to become a little clearer and more defined, entailing:

  • The administration of your condo corporation, in keeping with the legislation laid out within the Condominium Property Act,
  • The direction of activities in relation to the maintenance of common areas,
  • The preparation of statutory documents,
  • The development of a liaising relationship between the Board of Directors and individual owners, and
  • The fulfillment of all the above-listed duties in keeping with restrictions laid out by budgets, board policies, and condo corporation by-laws.

As outlined here, then, it should be quite clear that a condo management company is not the hands-off solution that some condo boards out there might like to think that they are. In fact, this seems like a good time to point out that trying to shoehorn a condo management company into handling responsibilities that should rightly be handled by the condo board itself not only runs contrary to how these sorts of responsibilities should be delegated, but also ignores one of the most useful functions of a condo management company: its network of connections.

Your condo management company should act as your building’s rolodex when it comes to expert help, labour, and advice. At Catalyst, our clients lean on us to help their buildings find the right experts for whatever their condo community’s needs might be – and you should expect the very same from whatever management company your board is working with. From lawyers to landscapers and contractors to concrete suppliers, your condo management should know a veritable specialist from every condo-related trade, profession, and walk-of-life. Take advantage of that knowledge and expertise whenever possible and watch your condo community thrive as a result.

We hope that this article has cleared the air around the board and management responsibilities. Of course, we’d also like to nudge anyone interested in the ongoing, behind-the-scenes of their condo community to get active and join their board – there’s no better way to learn than by doing! Beyond that, feel free to reach out to us at Catalyst Condo Management Ltd with any questions about what your condo board and condo management company is doing, isn’t doing, or should be doing. We’ll be happy help steer you straight in any way we can!