Examples of Specific Management Problems That Arise

Managers who lack experience and qualifications cause a great deal of problems for condos, their owners, as well as for the reputation of competent managers.

Problems for Condos

  • Poor record keeping. For instance, invoices cannot be found; new owners and tenants are not properly registered; minutes of board meetings go missing; financial statements are late; contracts are misplaced; no list of contractors exists; deadlines for contract renewals are not kept so that boards of directors barely have the time to study quotes; status certificates are not updated or are simply not given.
  • Condos fees may not be paid on time or collected. Rental fees for lockers, for instance, may not be collected for months, so that condos lose money.
  • Contractors may be called to solve problems that better trained managers would be able to solve with the help of superintendents. This is costly for condos because these contractors have to be paid. (Click here for Misuse of Funds and Fraud)
  • Various technical systems are not maintained because contracts are not renewed on time, contractors not paid, or yet managers may not even know that some systems exist.
  • As well, systems may fail sooner than normal because of lack of maintenance or improper understanding of how they work.
  • Or else, contractors may be constantly called in because neither the manager nor her/his staff can deal with even the tiniest of problems.
  • Other staff, such as janitors, may not be supervised and therefore may not do what they should. In other instances, they are allowed to do whatever they want... and very little of anything. 

  • The problems of conflicts of interest, fraud, and kickbacks are discussed in other chapters.

Problems for Owners

  • Rules may not be enforced. Managers and boards may themselves invent rules as they go or enforce only those that please them.
  • Fees may go up unnecessarily because of unwarranted expenditures.
  • Budgets and annual general meetings are not prepared in a timely fashion.
  • Owners may be refused access to condo documents and boards.
  • Residents do not receive information that could help them save energy, prevent them from causing damage to pipes or drains, prevent injuries. Energy saving initiatives undertaken under a previous management may no longer be carried out, which can have long-term consequences for budgets and owners’ fees.

  • It should be added that problems of lack of proper conduct towards owners and residents also abound: rudeness, refusal to follow up on owners' legitimate problems, and so on, abound.

Problems for Competent Managers

The status and reputation of competent and experienced managers is negatively affected by the lack of qualifications of too many other managers and by the unprofessional way in which some companies deal with condos.

  • These qualified managers would like to be respected as professionals but the structure and standards of the entire industry works against this. As a result, their status is not as high as it should be and they are not taken as seriously as they would otherwise be.
  • Some feel very conflicted when they hear that boards justifiably complain about unqualified co-workers. Some managers surreptitiously try to “make it up” to condos by helping with suggestions, even though they are not paid for this. Some change companies in the hope of being with more competent persons.

Gift Package

  • In turn, the high visibility of incompetent managers with unprofessional behaviours means that educated young persons seeking a worthwhile occupation with a good social status do not choose to go into management, even if this type of work appeals to them.
  • This certainly does not help increase the supply of competent managers. Indeed, a solid mass of competent managers would see to it that the companies that hire them become more ethical, qualified, and accountable.

Problems of Management Company Turnover 

Another serious problem occurs when condo corporations change to another management company. You would think that the old and the new managers would meet so that there is a turnover of knowledge, wouldn’t you? Actually, this may not happen. All that may be turned over are those documents that are generally kept at head offices.

However, this lack of transmission of knowledge may not present much of a problem when the new administrator or manager

  • is experienced or well trained: he or she will then know what to look for;
  • is willing to ask questions to the board in order to understand what has been achieved in the past and what was being planned;
  • is mature enough to realize what he or she still has to learn;
  • and is backed up by a management company with a policy of accountability to their condos’ boards of directors and corporation.

Unfortunately, as seen above, what condos too often get is an inexperienced person who needs a great deal of training and does not even know where to begin. Or yet, they get a manager who has been "kicked out" of another condo for incompetence or unethical practices.

In contrast, competent managers, upon hearing that they will be transferred to another condo, make it their duty to visit the building or townhouses on their own time and seek information from the manager in charge. (This should actually be a management company policy.) At times, it is the outgoing manager who refuses to help the incoming one because of anger at losing the condo contract.

These same mature managers meet the staff and board president before, ask questions, and begin planning.

Another problem arises when a management company takes over a condo that has already achieved a lot and behaves as if this condo was totally new and had never done a thing before.

When this happens, the new management company may bring in all manners of new forms, notices, and standards that end up confusing everyone because the condo was already very experienced. It is actually surprising how often this happens. The new manager may shrug her/his shoulders and say, "This was before my time," as if the past does not count and proceeds to reinvent the proverbial wheels. Very bad for business! Much time is wasted.

Managers and management companies are paid to adapt to a condo’s situation, to repair it if it is failing, but to continue in its standards when it is successful. They are not paid for the building to be turned upside down to adapt to them. Unfortunately, in times of scare supply and high demand, condos do not have much of a choice and have to put up with a great deal of incompetence.