As board members of a condo corporation, it is important to understand the various documents and regulations that govern the management of the property, including the appropriate policies and procedures. Effective policies and procedures are critical for any condo corporation to operate smoothly and ensure that all key players, including board members, unit owners, and property managers, understand their roles and responsibilities… and ultimately, the expectations for how they should govern themselves within the corporation and condo community.
Policies or procedures should not be confused for rules. While they may sound similar, they serve different but equally important functions in ensuring the effective and efficient operation of the corporation. While it may seem a bit confusing now, don’t worry!
We’ll start by clarifying the differences between policies/procedures and rules, including their purposes, scope, and governance, to help board members better understand how they can work together to support the success of their condo corporation.
❓ How do Policies and Procedures differ from Rules?
In a condo context, policies and procedures are different from rules in several ways. While they're not the same, it is important to understand that policies and procedures and rules serve different but complementary purposes in the management of a condo corporation, though both are necessary for the effective and efficient operation of the property.
Policies and procedures are more comprehensive and detailed documents that outline the principles, guidelines, and procedures that the condo corporation follows to manage the property effectively. They’re typically developed and approved by the board of directors, usually in collaboration with suggestions from property management (who is tasked with carrying out tasks as per the policies and procedures).
Rules are specific regulations that the condo corporation establishes to govern the behavior of unit owners, tenants, and guests within the property. For example, rules typically cover things like noise levels, parking, pets, and other aspects of daily life in the condo. Unlike policies and procedures, which are solely approved by the board of directors, rules may only be proposed by the Board - it’s ultimately up to the ownership to allow them to pass or challenge them. There’s an official procedure for passing new rules, and strict deadlines to follow (for everyone involved!).
Another difference between policies and procedures and rules is that policies and procedures tend to be more flexible and subject to change as the needs of the condo corporation evolve. Rules, on the other hand, are generally more rigid and less subject to change.
🪜 What are the steps for creating and implementing effective policies and procedures?
This procedure needs careful consideration, but can be condensed into 6 simple steps. Before we get to it, we want to stress the importance of not creating policies and procedures that are unnecessary or overly complicated. Instead, rely on everyone’s knowledge of the community and perspectives as to what’s really important and beneficial.
6 simple steps for creating and implementing effective policies and procedures:
Identify the need for a policy or procedure: Start by identifying the area that requires a policy or procedure. This could be related to maintenance, safety, security, finances, or any other aspect of condo management and operations.
Conduct research: Gather information about best practices and regulations related to the policy or procedure you are creating. You can look for resources online (start with our Resource Library!), consult with other directors or property managers, or even speak with relevant experts (such as legal, appropriate vendors, staff, etc).
Draft the policy or procedure: Once you have conducted your research, either you/the board or property management can draft the policy or procedure. It should contain clear and concise language that is easy for everyone (especially residents!) to understand. Be sure to include any important details, relevant regulations, or legal requirements.
Review and approve: At a board meeting, have all directors review and approve the policy or procedure (or edit and amend it as required until consensus is achieved). This will ensure that it is aligned with the corporation's goals and values and that it is consistent with other policies and procedures in place.
Communicate and educate: Once the policy or procedure is approved by the board, communicate it to all relevant parties, including unit owners, staff, and vendors. This can be done through email blasts, newsletters, emails, or during meetings. Provide educational resources to ensure that everyone understands the content presented.
Monitor and update: Regularly monitor the policy or procedure to ensure that it is being followed and is effective. Update it as needed to reflect any changes in regulations, best practices, or the needs of the corporation.
By following these steps, you can create and implement effective policies and procedures that will help your condo corporation operate efficiently and effectively.
Now you know why, as a board member of a condo corporation, it's essential to understand the importance of having effective policies and procedures in place. These documents help to establish clear guidelines and expectations for everyone involved in managing the property, ensuring that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities.
Don’t forget that policies and procedures are different from rules and are more comprehensive documents that govern the corporation's day-to-day operations. Creating effective policies and procedures is often a collaborative effort between the board and property management, requiring careful consideration and research. By following the simple steps outlined above, you can create and implement policies and procedures that are effective, efficient, and flexible enough to adapt to the changing needs of your condo corporation.
Remember to communicate and educate everyone involved, regularly monitor and update the policies and procedures, and rely on the knowledge and expertise of your fellow board members, property management, and experts to ensure the success of your condo corporation.
And that’s it! You’re ready to confidently take on the creation and implementation of policies and procedures in your condo!
P.S. Want more simplified and easy-to-understand information like this? Register with Stratastic and you’ll always be in the loop. You’ll also have access to a multitude of virtual tools that will make volunteering in your condo community easier and more rewarding!
Tags: Condo corporation, policies and procedures, rules, property management, governance, board members, unit owners, regulations, best practices, community, operations, maintenance, safety, communication, education, implementation, resource management, compliance.