Every relationship starts the same way—people getting to know each other and moving into a new co-op or condo is no different. It’s actually a lot like moving into a new town; there are new neighbors, new rules and new community leaders. Some buildings might go to great lengths to welcome newcomers into the community, but for the most part, most boards are hands-off when it comes to the red-carpet treatment.
When Teresa Mears was asked how she was welcomed when she moved into her new home at a 55+ condo community, she replied, “In my new community, two women came by to welcome me and gave me my keys to the clubhouse and the community phone directory,” she says. “There was no other welcome at the condo.”
It's Nothing Personal...
This is not unusual, say those in the industry. “In my 23 years of practice, I have never heard of a board or management company doing anything like a welcome,” says Eric M. Glazer, Esq., a Florida attorney and founder of condo-laws.com. “While I have heard of welcoming committees, the name sounds a lot nicer than what the committee is really trying to accomplish.”
That's not to imply anything sinister or unfriendly, Glazer is quick to add. It's just that in most associations, the process of getting to know a new resident begins at the screening phase and doesn’t really go much further than that. “Most boards have a screening committee that does a background check on the new owner or renter and makes a recommendation to the board as to whether or not to approve the applicant,” he says.
Glazer says that the traditional welcoming committees that he is familiar with just have the new owner sign a copy of the governing documents and rules and regulations, verifying that they've received and understand them. “Then, they let them know that if they violate any of the rules, the wrath of their attorney will follow,” he says wryly. “Some welcome!”