Question: I'm new to our condo board and need advice. I don't have a specific question but I'd appreciate receiving some general information to make my role effective while minimizing the hassle that some board members experience from the unit owners.
Answer: Serving on a board is very similar to a management position, although unpaid! Effective board members are as diverse as the population but they do seem to have some traits in common.
They understand the statutes, documents, rules and stay current with changes. This means that they read about these issues in real estate law columns, books, and/or they attend educational programs that are usually held without charge. They care about following the law.
They don't quibble or lie. They don't act in their own best interests but are genuinely concerned about protecting and maintaining the assets of their community.
They praise in public and criticize in private. Board members communicate with a variety of people, residents, managers, vendors and others. People who are heavy handed in public are neither respected nor admired.
Good board members are not afraid to act. They understand the importance of treating owners consistently and this sometimes means taking action that is difficult. For example, beginning the foreclosure process on a long-time resident who is truly a hardship case isn't easy. The great board member knows that all residents must be treated in the same way.
The great board member understands the procedures and processes that relate to good association management so well, that he or she knows where there are places for discretion. He or she uses discretion wisely and fairly.
Great board members seek the help of professionals. They know that money spent for inspections, accounting fees and legal advice is money well spent.
In summary, good board members treat others as they would like to be treated and they know the regulations so well that taking the right course of action is clear to them and to the owners whose assets they are guarding.
Attorney Sylvia Heldreth is a certified specialist in real estate law. Her office is located at 1215 Miramar St., in Cape Coral.
This article is not intended as specific legal advice to anyone and is based upon facts that change from time to time. Individuals should seek legal counsel before acting upon any matter involving the law.