Owning a condo means getting to know your property manager (PM). The list of reasons you’ll need to contact your PM is long.Buying a new sofa? Book the party room? Inquire about guest suites? Complain about a noisy neighbour? Ask about the next board meeting? Your first stop is your property manager.
We’ve heard from property managers that the number one request they have of residents is to “be polite”. We’ve taken that one step further and developed this list of what NOT to say to your property manager so you can both “live happily ever after”.
“My Condo/Strata Fees Pay Your Salary.”
Ugh. Technically your maintenance fees do go into a pot managed by the strata council or condo board, and out of that pot comes the payment for property management services.
So it’s kind of true.
But let’s say the proportion of the condo’s annual budget allocated to PM fees is twenty per cent. That means it’s only twenty per cent of your maintenance fees that go toward PM fees. It doesn’t quite have the clout you intend, plus it’s an insulting way to communicate with someone whose help you are seeking. The PM will likely think you’re a jerk and your issue may go to the bottom of his/her list.
“I Expect This Resolved Immediately.”
The level of service you expect from your building may not be what the council/board has set out in its vision. Your governing body will have made the best choice based on its financial and demographic circumstances – – a higher level of service costs more, quite logically.
Most of the calls that come in to a property manager involve complaints. There is nothing you can complain about that the PM hasn’t heard before. Unless your matter is life-or-death urgent, your issue will get added to the bottom of what is likely a very long list of matters to resolve.
“Make My Neighbour Be Quiet, NOW.”
Noise complaints are relatively easy to deal with, but complaints have to be corroborated. That means having someone other than you verify that there is indeed excessive noise. Your PM may not be on site when you make the complaint, so if there is a concierge or security guard available an attempt will be made to investigate. Then everything has to be documented properly according to the specific bylaws in your building, and it all takes time. Even the simplest noise complaint generates paperwork, and may require up to three conversations.
“Let Me Explain Condo Law To You.”
Oops. There are many things your PM is not: a security expert, a maintenance expert, a budget expert. What your PM IS, though, is familiar with the specific condominium law in your province (Strata Property Act in BC,Condominium Act in Ontario, for example) and how it applies in your building. Unless you’re a lawyer, specializing in condominium law, your PM likely knows more about it than you do. At least, that’s what they’re paid to know.
Essentially, remember that taking care of your every whim is likely not your PM’s only responsibility. Your PM’s job is 90 per cent complaint management, 10 per cent contractor management, and 100 per cent about delivering on the vision set by the strata council or condo board. Keeping this ratio in mind before you reach out can help you keep the relationship on the right foot. Condo living is all about reasonable expectations in a community environment.