How to Successfully Transition to a New Condominium Property

Taking on a new property can be a little scary, even for an experienced Condominium Property Manager.

Every condominium corporation is unique, and so there is a learning curve as it relates to the governing documents of the condominium, Board policies, construction-style, amenities, and Reserve Fund Study.  An experienced Condominium Property Manager should be well-equipped to learn about these items fairly quickly.

What tends to be the bigger challenge is unraveling the current priorities for the community and learning what has been delayed as a result of the transition to a new Manager or Management Team.

In taking a planned analytical approach, it becomes easier to develop a plan to overcome the period of transition.  I suggest the following steps for success.

Introduce Yourself

Board members, Residents, Building Staff and Contractors all now have a new point of contact for the operation of the Corporation.  Take a moment to prepare correspondence to circulate introducing yourself as the new Property Manager.

You may find that once you introduce yourself, people will help you to understand the current issues in the community because they will reach out regarding any ongoing matters.

Review the Paperwork

Review the Declaration, By-laws & Rules of the Corporation.  This will allow you to understand the Corporation’s obligations to its Unit Owners.

This should be followed by reviewing all minutes of the Corporation for the last 12-month period (including any management reports if available).  This will help you to learn what projects have recently been completed, which are ongoing, and which need to begin.  Compare the priorities in the minutes to the Operating Budget and the Reserve Fund Study for the Corporation to determine if these priorities are realistic.

Finally, complete a full review of what records exist for the Corporation.  It is important to ensure that all necessary records exist at the time of transition so that follow-up with the previous manager may still be possible.  You certainly don’t want to find six months later that the AGM minutes you need for mailing have been lost in transition.

Meet with Building Staff and Suppliers

Building Staff and Suppliers can be valuable resources during a transition.  They are a point of continuity and can help you to understand the history of the community.  Try to allow their knowledge to help guide you down the right path.

Contract terms should be reviewed with Suppliers to ensure that everyone is on the same page.  If possible, have the Supplier tour the areas they service with you.  This will help you get more familiar with the mechanical components of the property.

More important, however, is that building staff now have a new Supervisor and are likely feeling anxious about the change.  Take this opportunity to set the relationship up for success and have a discussion about mutual expectations/key performance indicators.

Review your Findings with the Board

The Board will be looking to you to help guide them through this transition process, but they also likely have their own ideas for the direction of their community.

At your first Board meeting, take a moment to have a discussion about what you’ve reviewed and where you think you should focus your energy.  Listen to their feedback as well.

Create a Prioritized Action List

Once you’ve completed all the above items, you’re ready to get to the normal day-to-day operation of the Corporation.  Before you do, I find it helpful to create a prioritized action list.  If you take the time to get yourself organized then you will be more likely to stay on track and not overlook items that may be less urgent.

Lyndsey McNally, RCM, is a Team Leader with Malvern Condominium Property Management