As condominium managers, we have all been there – your relationship with a condominium community comes to an end. This can happen for any number of reasons – financial difficulties, personality conflicts, board unrest or lack of trust, to name a few – but no matter the reason, you will find yourself in the position of having to hand over a (preferably neat and organized) package of information to the incoming management company.
On the flip side, you may be the incoming condominium manager who is taking over a contract. Do you know what to ask for in advance? What to ask for at the deadline? How do you make the transition as seamless as possible for the residents?
As per the Condominium Management Services Act, 2015 (CMSA), all relevant documents and records must be transferred to the condominium 15 days after the date of termination, with a few exceptions. Of course, it is reasonable to request/hand over some documentation in advance of the turnover date (registered documents, for example), and in this digital age, it’s quick and easy to pass along copies via email.
Aside from handing over documents, there are dozens of tiny practical details to consider, such as banking (keeping former accounts or opening new ones?), address for service (make sure this is updated!), the status of PO’s (work completed vs. work in progress), etc. Each firm will have its own processes for these, but generally, remember to stick to the following:
1. COMMUNICATION – As soon as you know you are either terminating or taking over a contract, designate a point of contact to handle the transition. The point of contact may be anyone in your office – if they are prepared to amicably discuss the details of the transition and keep an open dialogue with the other party.
2. CHECKLISTS – There are just too many items to remember, so eliminate some of the stress and put it all in a list. Checking off items one by one will help you keep track and ensure that nothing is missed.
3. COOPERATION – It is imperative that both companies (and the Board) work together to ensure the least amount of disruption to residents, no matter the circumstances. Cooperation will set up the board, and therefore the community, for success.
4. PATIENCE – There are many moving parts to transitions and often residual items to wrap up, even months later. This is not necessarily anyone’s ‘fault’, but it’s important to remember that these things take time. Don’t expect the transition to be wrapped up by Day 1 – it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Even when you follow these guidelines, you will likely run into a situation at some point where things are not progressing as smoothly as you would like. Maybe pertinent documents are being withheld, or maybe false information is being passed along. These types of issues can stem from the other management company, the owners, or even the board. In these situations, it’s important to remain professional and to carry on in the best interests of the community.
If despite your best efforts, you have reached a roadblock (perhaps you have been unsuccessful in obtaining documents, or there are financial red flags), you may need to involve the corporation’s lawyer and/or the Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario (CMRAO). This is the last resort, but a necessary step to protect the Board of Directors and condominium corporation.
The Grand River condominium community is a small one. While we all strive for fulfilling and long-lasting relationships with our clients, it is not always possible. We have all experienced both ends of a transition and know how difficult they can be – so the bottom line is to remain respectful and courteous while keeping the best interests of the client in mind.
Jamie Poodry, B.Sc.H., RCM, OLCM