This post is long overdue. This blog was started to help everyone involved in a Condo Association – Owners, Board, and Management – lead a better Condo life. But what does that really mean? After seeing the Condo Association ecosystem in action, I have a good grasp of the Better Condo Life Principles. They’re not for everyone, but if you like what you see – then this blog is for you.
The System is Not Rigged
A common complaint from people in many situations – even beyond Association life – is that the system is “rigged” and that there’s no point participating. For the Association world, this concept is used as an excuse as to why Associations are terrible, evil and despicable. Boards are evil, Associations are evil, all the laws protect these evil entities; Owners should just live in fear and not participate. Bad things happen. But you must keep perspective.
The first of the Better Condo Life principles is that the system is NOT rigged. Associations are a form of government, and that means there is the good, the bad and the ugly – but they are not inherently broken. They are as good and honorable as the people who participate in them. And guess what? Like it or not, you entered a covenant when you purchased a home in an Association. If you’re a good person with integrity, then it is incumbent upon you to participate. Take ownership in the community, because it absolutely has the legal power to impact how you live. Make sure the Association treats people the way you would want to be treated by being a part of the solution.
You CAN Make a Difference
The second of the Better Condo Life Principles is that YOU can make a difference. Your time, effort, and participation in your Condo DO matter and improve things. At a minimum, you should seek to be an informed and involved Owner. Owner participation drives accountability in the community.
If being an Owner isn’t enough for you, then you should seek to join a Committee or your Condo Board. There are numerous selfish and selfless reasons to do so. If you are not happy with the state of your Association, step up and change it. Even better – bring some friends and do it together. Everything is more fun – and effective – with a friend.
Do Your Homework and the Right Things Will Happen
For every horror story of an Association doing something incredibly dumb or cruel, there are thousands and thousands of routine interactions that go the way they should. Owners who need exceptions from their Board petition in a timely fashion and receive exceptions. Late fees are waived under the appropriate circumstances. The common theme is that Owners who follow the rules, make requests in a timely manner, and obey the Bylaws will find their lives minimally impacted. Are there exceptions? Of course. But, by definition, they are the exception, not the rule. Don’t give in to the hysteria that Boards are covens of evil witches and warlocks who delight in the misery of Owners.
Do Your Part and You Will Lead a Better Condo Life
The key to the Better Condo Life Principles is ownership. You own the property, and thus you own the Association and community that goes with it. Everyone is busy. Not everyone has time to invest in their community. Apathy is a choice. If you choose to invest in your community, and choose to make the time to fight apathy, you will lead a better Condo life. And this blog will continue to show you how to do exactly that.