Co-op, condo and HOA communities are a property manager’s bread and butter. Ensuring that their client buildings and associations run smoothly everyday provides managers with both purpose and pay. Therefore, it stands to reason that a dedicated manager might bend over backwards in order to satisfy his or her client – even if that client’s requests border on the outlandish.
But that very term ‘borderline’ implies that there is in fact a line that can be crossed, and that an association can generate enough headaches for its management to make continuing to serve that community feel like a losing proposition. In these instances, it may be prudent for a manager to end that professional relationship and rather focus on clients who aren’t a 24/7 source of anxiety.
Keep It Together
Before cutting ties with an association, a manager should conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis. Can the relationship be salvaged? Is there someone else in the management company who might be better suited for this client? A lot of time and money is at stake, so any parting of ways must be well worth it.
It’s also a matter of corporate culture and philosophy as well. Some management companies prefer to fight it out until the bitter end, rather than terminate a relationship with an association. “We have never given a building back due to board members who could not work together,” says Joe Kanner, Owner of Quantum Property Management in Elmsford, New York. “When an issue does arise, we will sit down with the board and try to work out any differences, whether between members, or with us. We would make this an official agenda item for a board meeting so it could be discussed openly, and action taken. I honestly see no reason why we would ever quit working with a client.”
Over time, a good manager develops the instincts necessary to read a board, and to tell the difference between a minor breach that can be repaired, versus a sign that things are beyond salvation. “We all work so hard to get clients that it can be challenging to accept the notion that sometimes it’s best to just let go,” says Thomas Wood, CEO of J A Wood Management in Lexington, Massachusetts. “I used to think that it was a failure on our part for not being able to work through something. But the truth is, if someone is paying for advice [and] then disregarding that advice, then things aren’t working.”