FIVE questions to ask the board of directors candidates

N.B. writes:

Dear Paul:

I am a new condo owner and will be attending my first AGM next month. We have to elect a new board of directors and I have no clue what to ask the candidates running for office. Can you help?

Paul replies:

Dear N.B.:

This is a great question. As a condo owner, a condo board comprised of competent and experienced people is your greatest asset. You are trusting hundreds if not millions of dollars to volunteer strangers. The rise and fall of your condo building literally and figuratively may depend on the decisions made by your board. The increase in the value of your personal unit will be impacted by the board’s action or inaction. Scary isn’t it?

While the Condominium Act sets out directors’ responsibilities, the qualifications threshold is quite low. Unless your governing documents include additional qualifications for directors, any financially stable adult unit owner would be eligible.

What questions can you ask director candidates to help separate the wheat from the shaft? Here are five questions I would ask:

  1. What is the role of a condo board director? The answer will tell you if the person has an appreciation of the role and its importance. Is their perception that they now have the power to do whatever they want? If they do not mention the welfare of the community, without being prompted, I would be concerned.
  • What changes would you make to our governing documents? If they appear puzzled as to what you are referring to, this is a red flag. You want someone who as at the very least familiarized themselves with the Declaration and Bylaws.
  • What do you know about the state of our finances? You should expect the individual to speak about condo fees, the budget, and the reserve fund. This will certainly provide a hint about the candidate’s attention to financial affairs or a  lack thereof.
  • What are the two or three most important issues to our condo community at this time? Are the issues mentioned personal, or are they of concern to all owners. The answer to this question could indicate whether or not the individual has the pulse of the community?
  • What experience do you bring that will benefit our condo community? Every person that I know has experience of some form or other. Some experience may be very beneficial (e.g. bookkeeping, contract management, trades, administration) while some experience may be less valuable in a condo setting. Only you can judge what is needed in your corporation.

As a bonus question, you could ask: Why do you want to be on the board? Whatever happens, keep in mind that a condo board of directors id an important part of your community. All the best!   

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