Fighting Apathy #7: The Importance of Owner Feedback in a Condo Association

When you’re an Owner in a Condo Association, sometimes it feels like you have little say in your community.  You have major surprises sprung on you – Special Assessments or Major Projects.  It often seems like these are big undertakings, things that the Board is tackling.  It may feel like your input and contributions aren’t welcome – even if your Condo Board is doing the right thing and holding Town Halls for Owner input.  That’s the wrong attitude.  Owners bring an important perspective to any problem, and Owner feedback in a Condo Association is very important and can shape a major project’s outcome.

Boards are Busy – But Not Perfect

Most Boards are trying to do the right thing.  They will research the facts, work with the appropriate experts, and craft and execute on a plan.  But the Board often exists in a vacuum.  There’s only so many Board members, and they’re working with a limited group of experts.  While they may be smart and well-intentioned, they don’t have all the answers and don’t think of all possible solutions.  This is why a smart Board builds a communications and outreach plan – they want Owners to become informed and involved.  If a Board is taking the time to build a plan, you need to take the time to get involved.  You might think of something the Board has not, or you might encourage the Board to push a little harder.

Solicit - and listen to - Owner Feedback in a Condo Association.
Solicit – and listen to – Owner Feedback in a Condo Association.

Help Your Board Fight Complacency

Speaking as a Board member, it can be very easy to get complacent and assume you’ve got a great plan.  When it comes to big projects, sometimes you’ve been working on them for so long that you’ve gotten a little tunnel vision.  Owner feedback becomes the jolt that breaks you out of the limited view you’re in and causes you to look for a better answer.  Conversely, if you spend a lot of time on a proposal and carry out effective outreach but no one responds, it can be quite depressing.  I remember when we were carrying out a major Special Assessment – an Owner had some candid feedback about how we were handling the financing and proposed a better way to do things.  Although the Owner’s delivery was a little rough (candidly, it was very obnoxious), the point was valid.  Although the Board was grumping about how nasty the Owner had been, we conceded we could do better.  And we did.  Although I would have preferred the Owner be a little more positive, the net result was nonetheless better for the Association.  Our already strong Special Assessment plan got even better.

Don't stick your head in the sand and be complacent. Listen to your Owners!
Don’t stick your head in the sand and be complacent. Listen to your Owners!

Involved Owners Help Their Community

The point is that if you’re an Owner – be involved.  Don’t be apathetic.  If big things are happening in your Association, don’t assume that someone has got it all under control.  Fight apathy.  Show up to meetings and speak your piece.  Try to do so politely and respectfully.  It may be that the Board has already thought of your idea.  But you also might end up improving the entire Association.  That’s a risk well worth taking.  So fight apathy, provide polite Owner feedback in a Condo Association, and lead a better Condo life.


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