If you're considering becoming a board member, here are a few suggestions for a smooth tenure.
- Do it for the right reasons
Being board member does not mean preferential treatment in getting what you want for your apartment. If this is your reason for being on the board, then perhaps you should not run. Board members work for the greater good of the building and are legally and ethically responsible to do this. The board member’s responsibility is to the building and this should always override the member’s own needs.
- Avoid conflicts of interest
This can be difficult to define but the most common example is a board member tries to have the board award a lucrative contract to a family member or the board member. Another example is a real estate broker serving on the board and a client’s application comes before the board for review. In this case, the real estate broker should recuse themselves.
- 3. Never accept gifts or special treatment
Self-dealing is the act of accepting special treatment and/or gifts. This is a big no no and it could send a message that the board is corrupt.
- Don’t act like a tyrant
A board member should never use the position to retaliate against neighbors. Board members should act with courtesy and respect even when disagreeing with each other.
- Make the rules, but don't try to enforce them
The board makes the rules but it is the property manager or the managing agent who enforces the rules. By having the manager deal with infractions, it reduces the chance of animosity between the board and the residents.
- Steer clear of staff issues
The board is not responsible for staffing issues. This is the job of the building management agent. If the board thinks that a staffing change needs to be made, they should reach out to the property manager to deal with the issue.
- Be Fair
Boards need to treat everyone fairly and should never discriminate based upon gender, race, age or creed.
- Be Honest
Do not promise residents things that cannot be accomplished. If the Board is honest in what it can and cannot do the residents will be more willing to helpful.
- Keep the competition in mind
Each building is different and each board can set its policies and practices. However, board members should be current with what other buildings are requiring because your building should not be outside the norm otherwise it could lower property values.
- Keep Board term limits
There have been cases where some Board presidents have been in office for a long time and they become autocratic. This is most likely going to end in disaster. There can be favorable term limits which allow people to serve for a long time but in different capacities.