When condo residents don’t know the rules, or when they aren’t aware of the impact of some of their actions, it can end up costing them, and special assessments and raised maintenance fee are not welcome solutions. Yet most condominium managers that I speak with bring up the same issues over and over again. The industry “tagline” to sum up most condo problems is that it’s always just a matter of “people, pets, and parking” but really that’s an understatement. The list of potential problems is long and the price tag can be steep. Consider the following common condo problems ad the price tags that can be associated with them:
Waste Management – $12K – $25K
If your garbage chute is getting clogged every day, the cost of clearing it can really add up! Consider what you pay hourly to have stuff removed from the chute and double it if it’s your Superintendent doing the clearing, because an hour on the chute means an hour taken away from other tasks. Not only that, but unknowing residents can actually damage the chute (mattresses, queen-size bed frames, even a car bumper are some of the crazier things we’ve found stuffed down our chutes), and a damaged chute can be thousands of dollars to fix. Residents don’t know what gets recycled and what does not? Losing city garbage pick-up is quite costly as the switch to private can be $25K or more.
Security – $30K – $40K
If only I had a dollar for every time someone let me into a condo lobby unchallenged! Aside from damage done to lockers and the emotional stress suffered by anyone who is robbed, master key issues can be very expensive. Re-keying an entire building runs to the tens of thousands. Changing the “culture” of the condo is easier than you might think, and a lot cheaper. Cutting the risk can cut the costs. You can see more here.
Water – $10K – $30K
If you’re not running regular information campaigns to educate residents about water usage, you could be missing out on tens of thousands of dollars in savings on your water bill. It’s surprising what a good communication campaign can save a condo on water bills and yes there’s a case study on that too.
Short-term Rentals – $5K – $50K
Wear and tear on the building, lack of security and outright destruction of property are the main concerns when it comes to short-term rentals. Investing in the education of residents along with would-be short-term renters themselves is a lot cheaper!
Cigarette Butts – $$$$$
It’s tough to even suggest a price tag when we could be talking about a person’s life. Aside from damage to balconies and belongings and the creation of unsightly messes for the cleaners to waste their time on, some victims of butt flickers have been burned by falling cigarettes and of course the trauma of any fire cannot be understated.
The good news is, all of these issues can be solved with something as simple as an educational campaign directed at residents so that they learn how to prevent problems from happening in the first place. The cost? As little as $5K per year, plus the one-time cost of digital elevator screens (they are by far the most effective way to communicate to condo residents). Educating residents saves time, saves money and it could even save lives. What are you waiting for?
I was delighted and proud to win the Distinguished Service Award from The Canadian Condo Institute this past week! Special thanks to Sally Thompson for her introductory speech and to Lynn Morrovat for filming it with her phone. You can view it here.