Some condos, especially small ones, decide to self-manage. How does this work?

An owner or one of the board members, generally the president, takes on this role for a stipend. This is permitted by the Condo Act but a by-law has to be passed regarding remunerations. In addition, this by-law has to be renewed as the years go by.

One president said that it was less stressful for him and less time consuming to be the manager:

“I am doing in the same number of hours what I used to do as the president plus what the former manager used to do. I waste less nervous energy than when I used to be repeatedly asking that things be done when I knew they weren’t getting done. My time is more efficiently spent doing what needs to be done rather than worrying that it’s not getting done.”  He has about 185 suites and does all the work in 20 hours. Before, the manager used to put in 25 hours while the president put in 15! And the current president spends only one hour each week monitoring the situation.

But it is certainly a risk for an owner to undertake such a job because he or she is constantly on call and at least one other board member has to act as a substitute for vacation and in times of health problems.

Needless to say that self-management is not for everyone. The owner/manager has to set boundaries so that residents do not show up at his suite and do not constantly approach him with complaints while in the pool or in the gym. One also has to be careful to avoid conflicts of interest and treating some residents better than others.

It is advisable, but not mandatory, that a director who becomes the manager resign from the board position to avoid conflicts of interest created by joining the two roles of employer and employee. A president-manager is not generally well supervised by the board. This could be a problem in terms of misuse of funds and lack of accountability.