The best buildings are buildings where the board and a professional property management firm work together. Both need to collaborate to implement policy, carry out administrative duties, and make decisions regarding the building’s operation. Management contracts can lay out the duties of the property manager and the board. Each party needs to understand their role and obligations for the building to run smoothly.
The building board should set the policy after speaking with the apartment management company. The board decides the capital expenditures, the potential tenants and other building decisions. The residential management firm must always remember the board is their employer. The property management group provides information for the board to make informed decisions about the property.
The board should develop the policy and procedures for the building while the property manager implements them. Board members should remember that the board makes the decisions but does not run the operations. The board is responsible for ensuring that the professional property management firm performs the day-to-day operations properly. The management company should carry out the board’s goals and objectives while advising the board on matters relating to staff, maintenance and other day-to-day operations. Property managers should not make decisions for the building unless it is an emergency. Most management contracts allow property managers to make expenditures when necessary. Some contacts will include a clause limiting the amount of money a property manager can spend without prior approval from the board. During emergencies, property managers have a duty to protect the property and its residents.
At times, board members may become too involved and will forget how to protect themselves and the building. Therefore, it is important to work with a preferred property management firm and to listen to their advice. Board members, who try to act as managing agents may find themselves in over their heads.
To avoid misunderstandings regarding the responsibilities of the board versus the property manager, make sure both parties are clear on the terms. Always keep in mind that at the end of the day, the board is always right because they are the customers.