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What Is A “self-managed” Condo?

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By Author: Rob Parker
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Condominium living presents some unique challenges to owners of individual units, partly due to the fact that condo living is community living at its most obvious. While individual owners have control of their own units and what they do as far as renovations to them, all of the unit owners together are responsible for deciding what goes on with the common property.

Typically, condominiums will employ a management company to take care of the day-to-day and month-to-month tasks that come with living in a condominium community.
Every once in a while though, the condo owners will be taken for a ride by the management company (and terminate the contract) or will decide they can save money on their own, and will declare that their condo development is now self managed.

So, what is it?

The term self managed is fairly straightforward; once a condo board association decides to fire a managing company, they take on all the tasks that the company once did. These tasks include:

Ensuring all strata fees are paid each month in full by all owners

Ensuring that all bylaws declared by the board association are followed and taking action when they are not

Keeping the peace between individual condo owners

Making sure that the upkeep around the building is done regularly through the hiring of qualified pool techs, janitors, repairmen, electricians, landscapers, and so on

The upshot is, it's a lot of work!

The appeal to self manage a condo building can be very strong; after all, if you can cut out the middle man you might even save some money in terms of strata fees. However in most cases, self-managed condos are not in the best interest for anyone involved.

To start with, there are a lot of legalities involved in most of the aspects of managing a condominium complex. Whereas a management company will understand these legalities and their rights both in terms of unit owners and staff, it takes a lot of work for individuals to become familiar with the fine print; and any mistakes may end up costing a lot of money!

In addition, self-managed buildings have removed the distance between a managing body and fellow unit owners. This means that conflict and acrimony may actually increase between unit owners as the day-to-day tasks of running the condo are carried forward.

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