Responding to Important Condo Association Challenges


Being involved in a Condo Association is a constant stream of work.  It is a marathon, not a sprint, and if you are constantly running at high speed, you’ll burn out.  One of the keys to success is learning how to manage your workload and the pace of Condo life.  There is a fine line between managing pace and slacking.  Ultimately what drives your pace of response is the importance and urgency of an issue.  The “Eisenhower Quadrant” is a good way to think about things.  You need to be able to recognize what are the true “oh shit” moments and which ones can be handled at a more balanced pace.  In today’s post, we will cover important Condo Association challenges; Thursday’s post will cover non-important Condo Association challenges.

An important note for definitions of this article.  These classifications are with regards to the Association, not individual Owners.  There are many issues that an Owner might deem important or urgent that the Association would not.  For example, imagine an Owner scheduled a contractor without proper Association approval.  The contractor is now coming and the Owner wants approval before they show up.  This is urgent to the Owner, but not to the Association.  This article focuses on the Association’s perspective.

Urgent and Important Condo Association Challenges

The Eisenhower box is a powerful tool.

Urgent events are those that have a true deadline and would have detrimental impact on the Association if handled incorrectly.  The key word here is “true” deadline.  This isn’t when an Owner creates an artificial deadline for a response.  It is when there is a no-kidding, real deadline.  Similarly, the importance cannot be disputed.  There might be physical damage to the building or the Association may be facing a financial impact for a failure to act.  Anything that touches the big three of Condo Association priorities also likely fall into this category. Personnel issues might, as well.

Examples:  Ongoing legal action or legitimate threats (i.e., from a lawyer, not an Owner) of legal action; urgent repairs; responding to requests for accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act; personnel issues related to disciplinary actions; etc.

Condo Association Response:  All hands on deck from both Management and the Condo Board.  If you cannot settle it via email, set up a phone conversation or executive session meeting.

Non-Urgent, Important Condo Association Challenges

Not urgent? Prioritize accordingly.

Non-urgent, important issues tend to be the most labor-intensive you’ll deal with.  They really are the bread and butter of the work of a Condo Association Board.  The best examples are the planning phases of special assessments and major projects.  This is the type of work that requires research, policy decisions by the Board, and often a third party contractor to execute.  However, there may also be thorny issues with Owners that are not yet urgent, but could become urgent if they are left to fester and the Owner lawyers up.   Expect to do a lot of work when responding to these Condo Association challenges.

Examples:  Major projects; special assessments; Owner requests that have policy impacts; issues with neighboring Associations or Master Associations; meaningful policy changes; etc.

Condo Association Response:  Board leads with Management support.  Potentially bring in relevant committees if the issue requires additional research.

Be Ready to Invest Time for Important Condo Association Challenges

If something is important, you need to be ready to work.  You’re involved in your Condo Association because you want to make a difference.  Important issues are exactly the ones you want to focus on.  Focus on the big picture and make sure you’re addressing these important Condo Association challenges, and you’ll lead a better Condo life.

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