In a building, there are property managers and the building board, and in order for the building to function best, they both need to collaborate to implement policy, carry out administrative duties and make efficient decisions about how to run the building. Management contracts will detail the duties of the manager but at times, there will be confusion about who is responsible, board or property manager, for different duties. Smooth relations occur when each party knows their role and obligations.
When a building has a hands-on board, it may seem that the role of the board and property manager overlaps. It might seem helpful but in the long run, it does not help the running of the building. The board makes the policy for running the building, after speaking to the property manager and the financial decisions of the building. The board must remember that the property manager works for them. The property manager provides information to the board so they can make informed decisions.
Board members develop the direction, policy and procedures for the building and the property manager implements them. The board’s responsibility is to make sure that the management company performs the day-to-day operations of the property. However, at times, a board member might become too closely involved with the oversight of contractors even though that is the property manager’s responsibility. There may be a clause in the management contract, which limits the spending power of the property manager. Most times, any significant cash outlay must be ok’d by the board first. When an emergency happens, the property manager has a duty to protect the property and its residents.
There might be times when the board pressures the property manager into doing work that is not part of the manager’s job. An example is pushing tasks on the manager that the board does not want to deal with. When a board member acts like a property manager, he or she may find themselves in over their heads.
The relationship between the board and property manager is a partnership but a partnership that is clearly defined. Managing agents should not make decisions about the building and should never sign contracts on behalf of the board. In order to avoid confusion about responsibilities, make sure the terms of the relationship are clear and well defined. Also, a managing agent should never get involved with the politics of the board. Remember, the board signs the property manager’s paychecks and therefore, the board is the customer, who is always right.
All Area Realty Services is New York City’s leading real estate management company specializing in full-service property management for cooperative and condominium boards in the Manhattan area.