Yesterday we reviewed the good aspects of the annual homeowner’s meeting that I recently attended for the complex in which Amy and I own a unit.Â Today we’ll get into the Bad and the Ugly.
1. This particular complex was built as apartments in the 1960s and converted to condos in 1979.Â If we assume that major maintenance was performed in anticipation of selling the units, then most of the improvements are approaching 30 years old – which is the useful life of lots of stuff.Â We spent a fair amount of time at the meeting talking about repairs to boilers and roofs.Â So despite the board’s planning, the Association is probably going to need to increase revenue in the next few years as more systems fail.Â This means either higher condo fees or dreaded special assessments.Â Boo!Â Hiss!
2. The meeting was run using Roberts Rules of Order, which most people don’t really understand (myself included). The formal procedure made it difficult for everyone to participate effectively since folks would not know when to speak or how to speak. I could imagine that after one person’s question received a curt, “You can’t say that now,”Â others were intimidated into silence.
3. One civic-minded resident is working very hard to address energy efficiency and preventative maintenance, but seems to have a contentious relationship with the Board. Which leads directly to…
The meeting turned ugly as our civic-minded activist grew frustrated with the Board’s responses to his concerns and their use ofÂ precedure to prevent him from speaking his peace. As the discussion became more acrimonious, we transitioned from calling people by first names to using surnames (Mr. Smith, Ms. Jones …) and citing condo association bylaws as threats. Ultimately personal issues were raised in an uncomfortable manner.
Now that I have a better sense of the cast of characters, I’ll be interested to see how the drama unfolds.Â Energy efficiency is an issue that everyone is concerned about in this day and age, and our activist had some good suggestions for how individual owners can make a difference.Â Whether he will have community-wide influence remains to be seen.
I certainly got my money’s worth in terms of entertainment, and also learned quite a bit about the complex.Â I was glad to hear that theÂ community is in such good shape (despite Part 2’s observations).Â If you own a condo I would definitely recommend attending your next homeowner’s meeting.Â I bet you’ll see much of what I saw; different faces, but similar characters.