Author Topic: Hiring a property manager for our condo building  (Read 1804 times)

MandalayVA

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Hiring a property manager for our condo building
« on: March 22, 2016, 01:04:10 PM »
I live in a small condo building (4 units).  Nominally there's a HOA, but because of our varied schedules it's next to impossible to arrange meetings, particularly since the president doesn't even live in his unit anymore.  There are issues with the treasurer, who happily spends for garden stuff yet doesn't advise how much she spent or what's in the pot.  The third owner, quite frankly, doesn't give a shit.  Then there's us, the vice president and the secretary respectively.  Mr. Mandalay and I are in agreement that we badly need an outside company to handle things.  Our dues are currently $200/month.  After two years of back and forth we FINALLY got the porch roof fixed after it was damaged by a tree in Hurricane Irene, but there's other issues like a crumbling foundation and possible roof issues.  We've also mentioned the possibility of raising dues, but were told by the treasurer, who likes to speak for the other two, that Mr. Doesn't Give A Shit "can't afford higher dues."  Yeah--the doctor.  Since my husband is VP and the president no longer lives in the building, can we legally do an override to get a pro in there, or are we SOL?

ZiziPB

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Re: Hiring a property manager for our condo building
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2016, 01:39:31 PM »
Hi Mandalay, does the condo have its formal docs in order?  There should be a Declaration and By-Laws, and possibly Rules and Regulations.  The documents (most likely the dec and the by-laws) will spell out how decisions are made, whether you need a vote and whether it's majority, super-majority or unanimous.  So first order of business for you would be to review the docs and figure out who has the authority to do what and what kind of vote or consent is needed for it.  If you don't do things in accordance with the documents, you risk some other unit owner (who may turn from "I don't care" to "I really care about this" in no time at all) giving you a hard time or even suing you.  Things not addressed in the condo documents will most likely fall under the default provisions of the condo statute in effect in your state.  Keep in mind that hiring a management company WILL immediately raise your expenses because you will have to pay them a management fee (so expect resistance from unit owners who "don't care").

I can't give you formal legal advice but am happy to answer general questions, if you want to follow up by PM or here.

katstache92

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Re: Hiring a property manager for our condo building
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2016, 02:10:10 PM »
I've also heard of a condo association being dissolved when no one wanted to be on the board.  Although, if it's an apartment style condo building with a shared roof then I do not know if that is possible.  The condo association in question was for units that were set up more like townhouses.

I wasn't involved with that though, just heard about it second hand.  I don't know how they went about it, but it might be worth looking into.  I imagine you would definitely need a lawyer.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Hiring a property manager for our condo building
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2016, 02:21:16 PM »
It's unlikely that in a 4 unit building, you will be able to efficiently employ professional management (not enough units).  Once you've reviewed the docs, you need to get the president to attend meetings (via phone if necessary) in order to have a "quorum", so you can vote on items (repairs, capital improvements, etc.).  Once you have elections (according to doc.), you can get rid of Mr. DontgiveaRatsass president.  It's not impossible to get things under control, just follow the docs and get folks to come to meetings (by phone is necessary) and vote on items. 

Each state's condo laws are different, so you should research your state's.

Mini-Mer

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Re: Hiring a property manager for our condo building
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2016, 08:42:21 PM »
I live in a condo complex about twice your size.  We do have professional management, and I believe they're charging us $40 per door, per month (with a scheduled increase next year).  But your problem is 100% the Board of Directors.  The property manager works for the Board, and can't raise dues or do major repairs without Board approval.

All our officers are stuck being officers too - unlike yours, we rotate the positions, so there's not a treasurer-for-life.  (If your treasurer got stuck with the job because no-one else was willing to do the work, that might be partly why she feels entitled to make the decisions.  Which is incorrect - but I'm not sure how you can get out of that dynamic without taking on the job.)

Legally you are entitled to see the books, and there should be elections, and probably Robert's Rules of Order too.  Practically... your co-owners aren't going to change, and on that front you are SOL.  Budget for the special assessment that is going to be needed when the roof collapses, and start looking at larger complexes.