7:55 AM 01/08/2013
We are wondering what other small (3-4) unit condos or coops do regarding maintaining the building. Do you share the jobs among you? What jobs? Do you pay for any outside help? And how do you decided what jobs need to be done. That sort of thing. Thanks!
When I was looking at them years ago, they all seemed to do their own work. After I bought in a four-unit, we tired of vaccuuming the stairs ourselves on rotation, and hired one owner's cleaning person to clean the hallways for us. We put out our own garbage and shoveled our own snow and kept the front area clear of leaves and debris ourselves, though only two units of four ever did any of that work, but we had no schedules. (The other two weren't going to do any work, dysfunctional personalities, easier to do the work than to try to share it more equally.) Other coops have rigid schedules about who does what work when, and lots of drama about it. Like with many couples, the way to stop arguing about who does their share of cleaning is to hire it out. There is a service I see in the slope that comes and bags your garbage up tight and puts it out on garbage nights, which would be a useful service to hire, I think. I forget their name, but you'll see them around on garbage nights working in teams, wearing T-shirts with the company name.
9:34 AM 01/08/2013 | 0 Votes
Do you have one person in the building designated to deal with major repairs (i.e. calling about boilers etc ) or is it catch as catch can? and does one person handle the finances/paying bills? do you switch it up each year? We are a new coop and trying to work this out.
4:49 PM 01/08/2013 | 0 Votes
Our group is very nice, some lazier than others, but a nice group of people. We're a little bigger than 4, but after many fits and starts and exasperations about having each shareholder pull their weight, we've found it best to give each person a center of responsibility. So one person does the finances, one the yard, one the hall cleaning, one boiler, one sprinklers etc. If the assigned needs help they need to reach out to the rest of the group. So far it seems to be going better. We've made each individual responsible for their own garbage and have allowed for no central storage. I think you ( as well as we ) will then need to set up regular meetings to re-evaluate.
5:58 PM 01/08/2013 | 0 Votes
Our other categories are keeping the cellar clean and clear, keeping roofs clear, access to coned and keyspan, garden, violations, sidewalk sweeping/litter, and snow removal. We assemble new little teams as needed for any projects - redoing sidewalks, brownstone work, etc.
6:03 PM 01/08/2013 | 0 Votes
We are a 6 unit, owner-occupied condo. We pay for:
1. A twice weekly mainenance guy to sweep up, bring the garbage to the curb, etc. $250/month, a local retired guy. NOT a mainenance company.
2. An accountant to do our annual filings and give us a summary of income and expenses
There are two offices that rotate among 4 apartments (2 are deadbeats--what can you do?): President (decider) and Treasurer (collects common charges and pays the bills).
The larger maintenance issues we've handled by saying whoever has the problem they think needs fixing, they gotta define the problem, get three bids, and bring the bids to the board. Board votes to do the work or not, and if yes, how to pay (from reserve or as an assessment). Before doing it this way, we found that all sorts of people had all sorts of little problems they wanted solved as long as someone else was volunteering to get it done. Now, they one who complains has to put up or shut up. As you might guess, it works much better this way.
10:09 PM 01/08/2013 | 0 Votes
Your documents will guide you. It will say how many board members and officers you have. The Treasurer will pay the bills, collect checks, do the banking, and bookkeeping (use a simple computer bookkeeping package), and get the list of final income and expenses to your accountant at the end of the year so the accountant can prepare your coop's tax filings, and give you each 1098 or 1099 (I forget which it is) forms showing how much of your underlying mortgage (if you have one) interest and real estate taxes you can each deduct on your individual income taxes, and it will also show an amount you will use to add to you basis when you sell to reduce your capital gains that you pay taxes on in another box, so save those forms - you'll need them to file your taxes for the year in which you sell! You want the Treasurer to be someone who is interested in doing this work and good at it and who the others trust to do it right...not everyone in every coop is someone you want to be Treasurer. The other person you want to be responsible, responsive, and trustworthy is the person you elect as President. If Vice President is one of your board offices, you can give that to someone who does nothing official, unless you agree to have them do something. Same for Secretary - we gave that and VP to the ones who did little - that way we were all officers and all had a board vote - 1 from each of the four apartments - but watch out - if you do something official, like try to refinance your underlying mortgage, the bank will send the loan documents to the Secretary, even if they have been dealing with the Treasurer or President all along, as they will assume that the Secretary is the official person to send stuff to and assume they are not a deadbeat who will just throw the papers away, even if that is the case! The Secretary can do the meeting minutes if they want, or whoever wants to and others agree does them well can do them, it doesn't have to be the Secretary. You'll have to feel it out as you get to know each other. You want those doing a job to be interested in spending the time to do it correctly, and to have the basic skills to do it. This works better than trying to share it all and not have it done right. Also, the ones interested in getting bids and doing a building improvement are not always the ones who are capable of getting bids that compare apples to apples (i.e., for the same scope of work), getting contractor recommendations/calling contractor references (one or the other - recommendations or calling references - will be very important to get the work you want done done right, as you'll find out.) Sometimes one person will start working on getting bids, and someone(s) else will see problems and step in and help guide the process - if not take it over completely - when it is clear that is necessary to get it done right to everyone's satisfaction. Generally, you should meet frequently to discuss projects when you are doing them, and form little committees of those who are interested in getting the work (like bids) done between meetings (and it won't only be board members or officers - usually everyone who lives in the building as an owner who wants to participate does participate, and that's not a bad thing.) Good luck. It can go well, or it can be a nightmare - it all depends on the people in your building, and how you manage or deal with people who are problematic if you have them.
6:09 PM 01/09/2013 | 0 Votes
wow, Thanks all. This is really really helpful! esepcially the delination of jobs and roles and the takes on bidding for jobs.
Anyone ever heard of a situation where a small coop paid a shareholder to perform some of these routine building maintenance jobs rather than hiring out?
4:12 PM 01/10/2013 | 0 Votes
I suppose it could be done, but then, if you pay someone to clean, etc., the person doing the bookkeeping might want to get paid, and the person doing the work of getting bids and hiring/overseeing contractors, and then there's the work that gets done when unit is sold....which is probably why the work is usually shared among those willing to do it. If you are board members or officers, you'd want to look into any ramifications of paying them, or, from the individual's point of view, being paid while being one.
7:22 PM 01/13/2013 | 0 Votes