Taking on the role of a condominium director can at times be rewarding but other times board members can be faced with disgruntled owners with harsh criticisms who voice their concerns at owners’ meetings. Although sometimes the criticisms may be warranted, for instance, in situations where boards have acted inappropriately or where the one classic “dictator president” runs the show. Other times, those owner complaints may be unjustifiable.
What sometimes owners forget, is that directors are usually homeowners like themselves that will typically volunteer to spend countless hours working with professionals (such as engineers, lawyers, consultants etc.) to make informed decisions on behalf of the owners to ensure that their condominium corporation is properly governed, maintained, repaired (as required), and is managed in accordance with the Condominium Act, 1998 (the “Act”) and the corporation’s governing documents. There is no one-size-fits all fix – sometimes decisions that the board makes may not appease all the owners but is what is best for their community.
Occasionally (and in recent years, this seems to be a common qualification), directors are also required to be owners or have some vested interest in the corporation (for instance, being a spouse of a registered owner or a resident in the corporation). Frequently, at owners’ meetings we see an “us versus you” situation where owners forget that the directors are also owners who want to ensure that one of their biggest investments (if not only) and their homes are properly maintained and that fiscally responsible practices are adopted.
Another often overlooked fact is that many directors have their own 9-5 jobs and families outside of their duties as directors. Owners who demand that individual directors be available 24/7 whether via email or by phone, is unreasonable. Many, if not most, condominium corporations have management companies who are specifically retained to handle day-to-day communications, complaints, and queries from owners. In those cases, management takes on the role of day-to-day liaison for the condominium community and owners should not be demanding to communicate directly with the board as a whole or individual board members. Outside of duly constituted board meetings, directors do not have any authority to make decisions on their own or on behalf of the board or deal directly with owners in their capacity as a board member unless specifically authorized by the board.
Although there is always room for improvement, it is important, as a condo owner, to understand the amount of time, work, and dedication required to be a director in a condo corporation. This unfortunately is frequently overlooked.
As legal counsel to many condominium corporations throughout Ontario, we appreciate those directors who place their communities first and always act in the interests of their owners as a whole.
So, on behalf of Lash Condo Law LLP, we want to extend our sincerest gratitude to the directors who spend those countless hours dedicating their time, expertise, and experience to making their communities a better place!