Page 9 - New Jersey Cooperator January 2019
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NJCOOPERATOR.COM  THE NEW JERSEY COOPERATOR —  JANUARY 2019    9  No matter what your size…   You will always fit at Denali!   With decades of experience, our team of experts is committed to    Request a Quote today! 1uest a Quote today! 1-uest a Quote today! 1-888888-888-315315-315-7773  7773   uest a Quote today! 1uest a Quote today! 1uest a Quote today! 1  Req  Req  Req  Req  Req     w w  Highrise Condos, Town Homes,  Adult Communities, HOAs, Brownstones, Multi-Family      Superior Service       Financial Transparency       Rigorous Collections      Communication       Website Technology       Capital Project Planning      Online Payments      Live Customer Service    Potential Legal Issues  Jeff rey Turk, a partner in the Braintree,   Massachusetts-based law fi rm of Turk & Qui-  jano, says: “People buy a condo so they don’t   have the headaches of a home. Someone else   mows the lawn and shovels the snow. But   in a small condo, you don’t have that. Who   is going to do those tasks? You. Th  ere are no   economies of scale.”   Financial considerations can be even   more pressing. “If someone doesn’t pay their   condo fees in a 100-unit condominium as-  sociation,” Turk continues, “there is likely still   enough money to keep operating. In a four-  unit condo, that might not be the case. Th  e   problem is  that condominium  associations   are true democracies. Everyone has an opin-  ion and a vote. Who wants to spend money   and who doesn’t? Th  ere may be three mem-  bers; two want to pay for lawn maintenance,   the third does not. What then? Sometimes   documents in small associations require a   unanimous vote, and one member can hold   up the whole process. You need a good set of   condo documents specifying that the associa-  tion must hire professionals to do the neces-  sary tasks. Th  ese people are your neighbors.   It’s just easier to put it in the docs so there’s no   other choice.”  Turk describes one situation where there   was a two-unit condominium association.   “One  owner  was  completely  irrational.  He   wouldn’t pay for anything to get done, and   wouldn’t do it himself. Th  is ended up in liti-  gation, which was prohibitively expensive.”   Ultimately, one owner sold to someone   else. “Th  ey were lucky to fi nd a buyer,” says   Turk. “If the buyer had looked at public re-  cords and seen the lawsuit, they might not   have bought. Th  at brings up another consid-  eration. You never know who your neighbors   may be in the future.” While that’s true in   any multifamily environment, one unhinged   neighbor in a 100-unit property may be less   impactful than in a fi ve-unit property.  Words of Advice  Abel has lived in a small condo associa-  tion in Boston and says the experience was a   positive one. But as a property manager, he   off ers the following observation about micro-  associations: “Lack of professional guidance   is the biggest problem. Owners tend to make   things up as they go along, since they don’t   have guidance on how to enforce rules, hire   properly insured contractors, etc.” Rules need   to be put in place, respected, and enforced.   Fox adds: “One of the challenges of small   buildings is that the entire building may be   on the board. In a small building that can be   challenging, as oft en the members are inex-  perienced with respect to the ownership and   management of real estate. On the fl ip side, it   can be very gratifying because when you as a   manager do something well, everyone knows   about it and recognizes it.”    Small association living may not be for   everyone. McIntyre cautions potential own-  ers. “Th  e buyer oft en isn’t thinking about this   when they’re looking for a place,” he says,   “and oft en doesn’t realize the responsibilities   they’ll have until they’re in and have to par-  ticipate.”   So, if you’re thinking about living in a   small association, go in with your eyes open.   When it snows, someone has to shovel – and   that may be you.                                                     n  A J Sidransky is a staff  writer/reporter with   Th  e New Jersey Cooperator, and a published   novelist.   “If you’re thinking   about living in a small   association, go in with   your eyes open.” 

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