When purchasing a condo one is automatically responsible to adhere to the Condominium Association’s Declaration, Covenants, Conditions & Regulations, Bylaws and established Community Rules. Being the “king or queen of your castle” requires following established restrictions when living in a condominium environment.
I recommend that if you are considering the purchase of a condominium or are new to a condominium building that you review the information available specific to your condominium association. The better informed you are about community expectations and restrictions, the more content you will be while living there.
Some common condominium restrictions include:
- Seasonal décor/wreaths may or may not be permitted to be placed on your entrance door.
- Modifications to the interior of your condo may require Board approval.
- Certain breeds of dogs may be restricted from being on the property.
- If you have a balcony, the association may only permit specific types of furniture to be placed on the balcony, restricting all others.
- Vehicles may be required to have current tags to be parked in the parking garage.
- The Declaration may not allow for the lease of condominium units.
Once you are settled into your new home and have achieved an understanding of the above-mentioned documents, stay informed about community events and issues. If possible, volunteer to serve your community either on a committee or as a Board member.
Property Managers and Board members hear it all the time – “No one told me about that!” Never mind that the “that” notice was email blasted, posted in the community newsletter, mailed to each homeowner via US Mail, and a flyer has been posted in the mail area for 6 weeks. One might respond with – “No one told me you cannot read.” It is the homeowner’s responsibility to review notices and information provided by management and or the Board of Directors.
Newsletters and community websites are excellent tools for an Association to keep their membership informed. When utilizing a newsletter it is a best practice to commit to a monthly or quarterly publication. Include information for the resident that is informative and relative to current issues within the community. Newsletter articles should be simple, precise and to the point. Too much information or long explanations will not hold the interest of the typical reader. A community website is a must have in today’s world. The website is an excellent tool to host important documents, meeting minutes, and community rules for easy access by those who live in the community.
Some find that a quarterly forum hosted by the Board of Directors is one successful communication tool. A forum provides an opportunity for the Board to communicate achievements to the community and to facilitate questions from residents. This type of event provides an avenue for homeowners to feel connected to and informed about their home.
Another suggestion is to include time on the Board meeting agenda to allow residents to address the group. I suggest this item be placed at the beginning of the agenda so that the resident does not have to sit through the entire meeting waiting to be heard.
Condominium dwellers that take time to research the community requirements and standards of a building and then remain engaged with their community are typically happy residents.