A hybrid management model

A condo tower with 380 residential units on Yonge Street is going to try a new model of management. If it works, it is a model that may catch on.

This condo had a contract with one of Toronto's bigger condo management companies but there were problems with the manager and some of the contractors. They shared the same ethnic background as the manager but when the directors checked, some of the companies had no business addresses or contact information.

Finally, there was an unexplained removal of over $70,000 in receivables that were quietly dropped from the monthly financial records with no convincing explanation given.

The condo then hired another management company, it too is an ACMO-CCI member and they seemed a better fit. However, they were too rigid in their ways so the board began considering self-management.

Although many townhouse complexes are self-managed, there are few large condo highrise towers that have tried this. Highrises are complicated structures and it takes a lot of work managing and supervising all the different trades and contractors that provide services for the corporation.

It is difficult to find owners who will put in the long hours setting up a self-managed highrise and have the skills and knowledge to managing the corporation. Then you need to worry about having a pool of talent to replace the directors who move, resign or will not stand for re-election.

For these reasons, this condo board decided that a hybrid model, one that combines the benefits that a management company offers combined with the benefits that self-management offers would be best for them.

Hybrid model
The condo corporation bought a condominium accounting software package and the directors were trained on how to use it. So the software, computers and the data belongs to the condo corporation and not to a management company.

Functions divided
The management functions have been broken into four parts.

The board hired a qualified property manager who works directly for the corporation.

Security and safety
An experienced security supervisor is responsible for some of the management services.

Clerical work
A condo property management company has two office clerks on site who deal with the residents, prepare status certificates and handle the mail and correspondence.

Internal accounting
A small accounting company generates the monthly financial statements and the other back room services.

The board will put most of the contracts out for tender and accept the bids.

Board's responsibilities
For this to work, the board needs to be a true board and not merely management puppets that  exist in many condo corporations. The board must make informed decisions and the manager and the others must follow the board's instructions.

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