Imagine someone walking into a strange new world. They know no one. They do not speak the language. They do not understand the culture. They know nothing of the history. They do not know the laws. They don’t know what is expected of them in that society. How would they survive?
It is not hard to imagine all of the fear and trepidation they would feel as they entered that environment. It is not hard to imagine the mistakes and the laws that they would break while they struggled to learn the new language and understand the culture. It is not hard to imagine how they would feel excluded from that society and how that society would look down upon them due to their ignorance.
It is difficult to imagine why anyone would willingly put themselves into that difficult environment unless they had no other choice. Yet every day, some people put themselves into exactly that environment when they buy a condominium. They enter into a world that they have no knowledge of. They do not understand their responsibilities within that world. They do not understand the laws or the bylaws. They seldom speak the Condominium Act lingo. They enter into a society that has expectations that are written in the bylaws and declaration and the rules, yet they seldom take the time to become familiar with those expectations.
They walk their beloved dog off the leash because they have always done it that way. They have a housewarming pool party and invite a hundred of their noisiest, closest friends to enjoy their new amenities with them. They immediately start improving the property by ripping out that cumbersome load-bearing wall. They paint the outside of their new home so it doesn’t look like all the others, by choosing colours from their ancestors’ national flag. They park in the visitor’s parking area because it is much closer to their unit. They become the “trouble” neighbour because they don’t understand how they fit into this new world. They meet their board of directors for the first time via a letter from the corporation’s lawyer.
Imagine the same scenario but change the level of understanding and education. By simply taking an introductory course in condominiums, it would be easy to imagine a more harmonious entry into this strange new world. It is easy to imagine a new neighbour that seamlessly fits into the community, and has a perceived respect for their neighbours that would not be possible without the understanding gained from education. Managers, directors and owners would all be happier and condominiums would have fewer problems.
The exact same thought process rings true for members of the board of directors. New directors who take the time to understand their role and take the time to educate themselves on the roles, rights and responsibilities of condominiums and their owners, will create a more harmonious environment. They will be less likely to become overbearing on the manager or on the owners because they will understand their role in that new world. They will be more likely to protect the interests of the corporation, because they will understand how to do that. They will be more likely to make good decisions because they have a basic understanding of everything relating to condominium governance. They may not have enough education to make every decision, but they will have enough education to know when to go for help from someone who does know, such as a lawyer, engineer, manager or other professional.
The good news is that condominium education is available. There are many non-profit organizations that have courses teaching proper condominium governance to help make that transition easier for everyone. There are publications which are readily available to help people understand their roles within the condominium community. Local real estate boards will usually offer seminars to educate purchasers on the condominium lifestyle. Try an internet search for resources available near you.
Imagine someone making perhaps the biggest investment decision in their lifetime and not looking for these resources, especially in this age of information.
Bill Thompson has worked it the Condominium Property Management industry since 1985 and is the President of Malvern Condominium Property Management. Bill expresses his passion for the industry by also volunteering with the Canadian Condominium Institute, where he currently serves as the CCI Toronto Chapter President and as a member on the Chapter’s Education Committee. In addition, Bill is a board member on the CCI National Executive Board. CCI offers a variety of learning opportunities for Directors and Owners. For more information visit: www.ccitoronto.org.
Original source http://www.condobusiness.ca/Imagine.aspx