No one wants to be on a condo board. From running board meetings, keeping track of board members’ responsibilities, to keeping track of violations, being on a condo association board can mean a lot of work added onto someone’s already busy day. But, someone has to do it. And for those people that step up and do the important work that can keep a building running, technology can be a way to help do a better job in less time.
There are three main areas of COA management that technology serves to improve: compliance, streamlining activities, and accounting. All are vital to the overall health of a COA and are key areas that board members deal with daily. Understanding how technology can help boards become more efficient across all these areas should give boards an indication of where they might need that technology most.
Violations + Compliance Uniformity
One of the biggest pain points that condo boards deal with are compliance and violation issues. A resident paints his front door pink, one puts her unit up for rent on Airbnb, one keeps a pet in the unit. These are all examples of what could be potential COA violations, and the list is endless of what may or may not be allowed within a condominium community. Reporting, tracking and then penalizing those in violation of condo rules is a very tricky task, and if not done with uniformity and accuracy, can lead to problems down the road with unfair enforcement. Equal treatment of all residents is paramount, so if violations and the resulting penalties are not clearly logged by board members or if there doesn’t exist, historically, any record of what previous violations entailed, it’s impossible to be fair and concise with future violations and their resulting penalties and fines. No precedent has been set if it’s not been recorded. Boards must be consistent with how they deal with tenants; otherwise, the COA, itself, could risk violating fair and equal treatment of all residents.
Software tracks the entire compliance process end-to-end, helping streamline everything from letting other tenants report violations via a shared portal, to automatically communicating those violations via text/email to the offender. It’s almost like a maintenance work order in technology, these violations get entered into a shared system, like a ticket, and they get updated in the system whenever that violation is moved to a different stage, be it communicating the violation to the resident or the payment of a fine. This organized workflow, apart from avoiding breaks with penalty precedents, helps condo boards ensure they are not skipping steps in the process, like informing a resident of a fine before alerting them to the actual violation.
Streamlining Board Meetings + Duties
It’s important not to underestimate the power of technology in keeping a board organized. Modern software helps keep every board meeting and board member on track, with an online portal that outlines everything that’s on the docket that needs to be approved, like architectural review changes and special cost assessments. This accounts for all moving parts and, like violations, tracks progress of those items and ownership (tracking board members and their responsibilities).
Online portals also streamline communication between homeowners and board members, with features like document sharing (1099s, historical financial statements), two-way text communications, bulk email – saving both time and effort on communication for board members and giving them the ability to update homeowners quickly on pressing items. This ease of communication leads to fewer misunderstandings and the ability to make decisions faster.
Accounting + Mismanagement
One of the more important responsibilities for COAs is the ability to manage the collections process. For non-homeowners, online payment options can accept their rent and then automatically pay homeowners, cutting down on time spent on rental activities. Online systems also offer renters payments reminders, past due notices, and cuts down the cost that dealing with paper checks incur. Finally, modern software can create bulk tenant charges for items like special assessments within the community, instead of requiring someone to manually enter those charges per resident.
Modern software is reshaping what it means to be on a COA boards. By driving greater efficiency in nearly every operational aspect, it allows the important positions on the board to be less onerous and therefore opens them up to more residents. COAs that adopt and implement these technology features find it also reduces friction with residents and tenants by immensely improving communications. Buildings are only as good as the communities in them and the best way for communities to thrive is if everyone feels like they are a member. This often starts by giving them representation and transparency in an association built to protect their interests. By giving the board members of these associations a better way to do their job it might make everyone want to be part of their condo’s association. Okay, maybe not but at least it will help those in charge get their jobs done and move on with their busy days.