“We'll spend the money and fix up the
place and when the money's all gone we'll resign and sell our homes.”
—President of the Board of Directors
Wildwood of Deer Creek
Deerfield Beach Florida
A Condo Nazi, or a Condo Dictator, is a director—usually the
president—whose objectives and business manners are counterproductive
to the welfare of the community. Personal characteristics are different
in every case. However, here is a list of traits that would point to a
director whose personality is too dictatorial or confrontational for
the good of his or her condo.
1. A president or director who feels that they cannot be replaced.
2. A director who spends a good deal of time in the management
3. Good managers and staff quit because they don’t want to work
4. A director who constantly wants to fire employees or replace
5. Other directors resign rather than work with this person.
6. A director who is quick to sic the corporation lawyer on an
7. The president makes decisions without waiting for the board’s
8. A president who takes over the manager’s job.
9. A president makes decisions without informing the board.
Some corporations have difficulty in finding people who are willing to
serve on the board. In these condos, any interested owner has an
opportunity to be
a director. However, other condos suffer from entrenched boards that have no
interest in sharing their power with any new volunteers and are
determined to retain their positions at almost any cost.
Why? It depends on the people and the corporation.
Some entrenched boards protect the interests of the developer or a
certain segment of owners. For example, the board may favour the owner
of the commercial units over the residential owners or the seniors over
young families. In other condos, the directors protect the investor-landlords from the wrath of the owner-residents.
Other boards are determined to keep the fees lower than what is needed
in order to help seniors on fixed incomes and the low-income owners.
The directors may have replaced an incompetent or corrupt board and are
afraid that the old bad habits may slip back on the board.
The corporation may be divided by ethnic or religious differences and
the board is afraid that the “new owners” are upsetting their peaceful
community. A condo with a majority of “white” Canadian seniors may get
riled when younger Asian families start moving in.
Perhaps the board members are enjoying kickbacks from the
contractors; it's hard to tell how common this is. That would give them
a financial stake in retaining their
A board may be staying in power so it can continue to hide their past
incompetence and/or the corporation’s bad financial situation and to
postpone badly needed maintenance fee increases and special assessments.
The board could be dominated by a couple of control freaks (Condo
Nazis) who are convinced no one else is capable of replacing them.
The board president and a single board member may remain in power for
years while there is a large turnover of owners floating through the
other three board positions. This can be a sign that a president is too
difficult to work with.
Entrenched board members are suspicious of new board members and any
owner who shows too much interest in the corporation’s affairs so they
limit communications, love secrecy and tend to hide behind rules and
policies. They can be extremely hard to remove from office.
Condo Nazis at work
I got a phone call from a board member in Scarborough looking for help.
He is a member of a five-person board and he is not allowed to see any
of the monthly financial statements. Three directors and the manager
make the decisions before the board meetings and just railroad them
When he was on the board, he never saw the shared facilities minutes or
financials. He would ask and the answer was sure you can see them, but
then nobody would provide them.
At times, when he goes to see the manager in his office, he is told to
leave or the manager will call the police.
Another director at that condo told me that the owners elect people
they trust, but the rest of the board just ignores them and flaunts the
policies and rules on how board meetings should be conducted.
Their building has a large number of low-income immigrants. There are
language problems and the owners and the two new board members do not
know the procedures on how to organize a slate to run against the three
entrenched board members.
After a few months of being frozen out, the two directors resigned.
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