No one likes to feel left out or ignored. That is how condo residents may feel if they believe their board or managers are not responding to their requests or sharing enough information. What they may not realize, however, is that there can be important reasons for silence on the part of board members and managers. Keeping an open line of communication can help eliminate misunderstandings and help establish a healthy level of trust.
When Questions Come
Significant lengths of time between a resident making an inquiry and a board or manager responding to that initial inquiry can cause friction before the main matter of the inquiry is ever even addressed. That resident may feel that their request has not been received or worse yet, ignored. Before long, they may start sharing their frustrations with neighbors and friends, leading to an unintentional, and perhaps, undeserved reputation for the board and manager.
Sometimes the delay is due to the type of question involved. “If the policy has already been decided by the board then there should be no question that it should be answered as soon as possible,” says Lewis Waxman, owner of Astro Property Management in Ft. Lauderdale, “If the issue is a policy decision then it’s not up to the management.”
Bram Fierstein, president and co-founder of a New York-based management firm, agrees. “Questions should be responded to as quickly as possible. It is best to acknowledge a question via email or telephone to inform the resident that the matter is being considered and you will get back to them with an answer.”
This immediate response can prevent some potential frustrations before they start. “Answers to questions sometimes require board input or legal input,” says Fierstein. “This can cause a delay. In today’s world, residents often expect ‘immediate gratification.’ This is not always possible but acknowledging their inquiry and informing them that they will get a response is extremely important.”