Most problems facing condominium corporations are either created or made more complicated by the simple fact that owners or directors (sometimes both) lack basic knowledge about the rights and responsibilities of the various stakeholders in the condo community.

This obstacle can be partly overcome in a number of ways. Here are four:

First, your corporation should engage the services of a professional property management firm. One of the main functions of any reputable management firm is to direct their collective skill, knowledge and experience to solving a host of problems or disputes in a condominium setting. In selecting a management firm, start with those that have earned or are working towards the ACMO 2000 certification. This designation is conceptually similar to the well-known ISO-9001 certification and consists of measurable minimum standards of performance and service. The ACMO 2000 certification is administered by the Condominium Management Standards Council at the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario (“ACMO”).

Second, insist that your on-site manager possess or be working towards the Registered Condominium Manager (“RCM”) designation. This designation, administered by ACMO, is granted to individuals who have achieved a minimum two years’ experience in condominium property management and have successfully completed a comprehensive educational program covering administration, condo law, physical building management and financial planning. The condo board is often only as knowledgeable as its front-line manager. Make sure yours is well-qualified.

Third, your corporation and unit owners can (and should!) take advantage of the excellent educational courses offered by your local chapter of the Canadian Condominium Institute. Here in Toronto, the local CCI chapter has a full slate of courses of various lengths on a number of practical topics for condo directors, owners and even prospective purchasers. It would be ideal for every condominium director and owner to take some of these courses.   The small cost of these courses is insignificant when you consider the fact that most condominiums are million-dollar operations that directly and significantly impact the lives of their unit owners.  

Fourth, managers, directors and owners should consider and explore other educational opportunities, such as:

Having professional management and a well-educated board and membership will go a long way towards avoiding or minimizing the most commonly encountered disputes and problems.