Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Indecision '07

Trying to get my fellow condo board members to run this association like an actual business is like pulling teeth.

I am so sick and tired of reactionary governing but then I’m putting the cart before the horse.

For those of you who’ve been reading this blog, my woes with my past and present board members should come as no surprise.

In my opinion there’s been questionable dealings and of course the mainstay of any condo association---infighting.

I don’t mind people that don’t take my point of view but you have to be a bit more of a critical thinker when dealing with the homes of those around you.

More importantly you also need to effectively communicate with not only the general membership but with your fellow board members.

Apparently this seems to be a problem with our association.

But to the matter at hand.

Ladies and Gentlemen we have a handyman who gives practically every last woman in this association a severe case of the creeps.

And when I say severe---I mean severe. The great thing about growing older and more secure in your womanhood is that you give that “inner voice” way more play in the decisions you make.

Men tend to want to quantify their feelings---if it doesn’t make sense then they tend to ignore it.

Women just know---you know?

He does a great job cleaning but it came to quite a few owners’ attention that he was hanging around at inappropriate hours (read: Late at night) and was also storing personal items in our basement.

Naturally this wasn’t going to fly.

This topic came up informally between a few of us but nothing formal was decided.

He continued to skulk around; bringing “things” in and out late at night and during the day when he thought no one was around.

But the straw that broke the camel’s back happened about a week and a half ago.

I was returning home late one night when I happened upon our handyman.
It appeared to me that he was bringing two dismantled bike frames up to our building.

When I confronted him about the storage of his personal items at our home, he said that the bike frames that he had just arrived with were actually being taken from the building.

Yeah, right.

I let him know that we were starting the process of cleaning out the basement and that if his items happened to be down there when we started that he shouldn’t be upset if his things got thrown out.

He just looked at me said that he was aware of the risk, I said “ok” and went inside.

Now I believe that was on a Wednesday. When I still saw his items junking up our basement late last week the cleaning bug hit.

Round #1 went out to the trash last Thursday.

Round #2 went out yesterday.

While I don’t necessary fault our handyman for his assumptions---after all people will continue to take advantage of you until you stop them---I fault the fact that we as an association never established proper boundaries and procedures.

Attempting to correct these oversights with a group of people who react to emergencies instead of anticipating and planning for the unexpected.

Like I said, it’s like pulling teeth.

1 comment:

The North Coast said...

The most difficult thing to deal with in condo ownership is the association, and most people don't pay any attention to it when they look to buy.

Yet there is nothing that will make a condo owner more miserable.

I've scratched a number of otherwise desirable buildings off my shopping list because I discovered a number of problems with the association itself.

For starters, sometimes you barely even have an association to begin with. This is a real problem with new construction and new rehabs. You have no idea how things are going to set up.

Will rentals be allowed? How many? How much is being put aside in the reserve fund.

In older buildings where you have the units sharing common elements such as the heating plant, the main plumbing, a pool, or other such things, you sometimes have to work around a really bad situation, such as an elderly highrise with about 100 twit owners who do not realize that their gas bill is in the stratosphere because they are running an 85-year-old converted coal boiler.

Or, they go to buy new windows and the board president makes a "sweetheart" deal with his buddy the sleazoid window contractor and pockets a big kickback while you get stuck with shoddy, overpriced windows.

Or, one domineering board member, or 2 or 3, are able to push through rule changes, such as deciding to make everyone get rid of their animals.

Lack of transparancy in board governance along with apathy on the part of other residence is a very frequent problem in condos and is doubly so in co-ops and in really large associations. In buildings with over 100 units, it's common for most residents to decline to participate altogether and to have completely no idea what is happening in their building. This leads to nasty, expensive surprises that end very badly for uninformed residents.

It is really rather scary to consider what surprises might await you when you think about a condo purchase.