Whether you start to consider the idea of downsizing and its many great benefits, due to lifestyle fit and/or finances, one thing to keep in mind during your home search is that a condo represents a unique form of ownership: one where a condo association (or board) will make decisions that are in the best interest of the community as a whole.
Here is an informative look at the roles and responsibilities of condo boards and their importance as you look for the best new Calgary condo development to call home.
What Is A Condo Board?
When you buy a condominium unit, you are not only the owner of your own individual unit - you also have a share of the common areas that will be determined by your unit factor. Those portions of the condo development will need to be maintained and sometimes repaired.
The governing body in charge of making those decisions is referred to as the condo board; and as one of the owners in the community, you have both a right and an opportunity to be involved. The volunteer-based board of directors is elected into position by the corporate condo owners and, generally speaking, help to run the community.
What Are The Roles of A Condo Board or Association?
The board is responsible for scheduling and managing the maintenance of the community. This includes the landscaping and looking after common areas, any recreation areas such as pools, fitness centres, clubhouses, or entertainment spaces.
A condo association will also be tasked with assessing and scheduling any minor or major repairs for the common areas and in some cases, individual units. In the case of any outdated or broken equipment, the board is responsible for deciding when and how to replace or repair the property space.
One of the biggest responsibilities of the board is a financial one. The board of directors must collect and maintain all condo association fees from the owners of individual units within the community.
This includes preparing and approving an annual budget for all maintenance and necessary repairs, managing all insurance for the property, and establishing and maintaining the community's reserve fund (which serves as a sort of emergency account for the community).
What Is A Condo Board Assessment?
Occasionally, the board of directors will schedule a study to be done on the community to determine the immediate and ongoing needs for maintenance and repair. In order to schedule any kind of repair or replacement, the board has to run an assessment and prove a need for withdrawing money from the reserve fund to finance the repairs. This type of assessment is usually done every five years, but also on an as-needed basis for any extenuating circumstances, like natural disasters.
What Are Board’s Responsibilities to The Owners?
The board has a lot to run and maintain for the community, but their first responsibility is to the unit owners; their neighbors. They have a responsibility to unit owners in the following ways:
Rules and Regulations
In order to ensure the safety of the community, the board's most important responsibility is to implement and enforce a set of rules for the residents of the community. They need to set a good example, review any complaints, and fairly impose any fines on those who break the agreed upon regulations.
Proper Care and Upkeep
The major expectation of a condo association is to manage and maintain the community. Many people make the decision to move to a condo community based on the fact that they can count on the upkeep of the community. The board is responsible for maintaining all landscaping, common areas, and essential structural systems.
Financial Honesty and Transparency
Since the board is in charge of the owners' condo fees and making financial decisions that are best for the community, they must maintain honesty and transparency when it comes to finances. They must inform members of all financial matters and give them opportunities to discuss and vote on major financial decisions that affect the community and residents.
How Can The Owners Hold The Board Responsible?
As you can see, the condo board has a lot of responsibilities. As a unit owner, you want to make sure they are making the best decisions for the community, and ultimately, for you.
The best way to make sure you're voice is heard is to get involved. You can put your name in to be part of the actual board itself, and if that doesn't work out, make the commitment to be involved by attending all general meetings (usually held on a monthly basis). Keeping yourself informed and involved in what the board is doing and their decisions is the best way to hold them accountable.
Each condo board operates under its own set of rules and regulations. If you are considering the condo lifestyle, be sure to investigate ahead of time to have a clear understanding of what to expect.
Keep in mind that as a prospective buyer, you have the right to review the board’s documents to see how the community finances are handled. For more information on buying and owning condos in Calgary, Service Alberta has created a wonderful resource for buying and owning a condo in this province.