Fighting Apathy #8: Building a Network of Involved Condo Association Owners

In any democratic community, you’re only as strong as your voting block.  People are often apathetic towards Condo Associations and HOAs, not realizing the importance of participation and representation. The bottom line is Associations are a form of democratic government – with the authority to tax you and govern your lifestyle.  An Involved Owner will want to find a network of like minded individuals to make sure their voice is heard by the Board.  If you want to effectively look out for your interests as an Owner, you need a network of involved Condo Association Owners.

Your network doesn't need to be this deep and complex.  But it wouldn't hurt.
Your network doesn’t need to be this deep and complex. But it wouldn’t hurt.

You Can’t (Effectively) Live in a Vacuum

For whatever reason, people often aren’t neighborly in Condo buildings.  They stick to their units, rarely interacting with each other.  Maybe it’s because so many services – like snow shoveling or leaf raking – are typically provided the Association.  Solitude is fine, but if you need to make your voice heard, you’re going to have a tough time going it alone.  Life is all about trade-offs.  Living in solitude is perfectly acceptable, but it means giving up influence.  And when big events happen in a Condo Association – like major projects or Special Assessments – you may want to have backup.

Find Your Community of Like-Minded Individuals

If you want to build a network of involved Condo Association Owners, you may be intimidated at where to start.  If you’re a type-A personality, you can likely disregard this section.  For everyone else, you can get started by getting to know people who share similar interests.  For example, if you have a gym in the building and you go regularly, befriend other gym rats.  If the Association has a book club, jogging club, or other social activities, those are great places to start.  If you’re on a Condo Association Committee, you’ve got a head start.  Worst case – start saying hello to people you see regularly!  Make an effort to be friendly with everyone.  Let the relationship grow from there.

Make Sure You Know Each Other and Can Act

If you can't reach each other, your network is useless.
If you can’t reach each other, your network is useless.

Once you have found your network of involved Condo Association Owners, try to stay loosely organized.  If appropriate, exchange emails or phone numbers – or connect on LinkedIn.  Give them your “spam email” if you don’t want them having the real thing.  But most importantly make sure you have a way to reach or see each other if the need arises.  For example, if a Special Assessment gets plopped in your lap, you immediately have a community within the Association to start talking about it with.  Even more important, if you need to engage with your Board, your group is much harder to ignore.  One or two people complaining can be easily ignored.  A dozen becomes a different story.  Now you’ve got an instant team for building a resistance movement.  

Although being social can push many people’s comfort boundaries, you want to have a network to call upon if there is a disaster.  With so many Condo Association horror stories, don’t let it happen to you.  Be proactive rather than reactive, and build your network of involved Condo Association Owners to lead a better Condo life.  


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