Small condo buildings that have just a handful of units have a unique set of challenges and must be managed effectively to run well. Just because the three families or individuals living in a small building are friends doesn’t meant that the HOA can be run casually. Read on to make sure you avoid common pitfalls.
Because there is a small number of units and just a few people contributing to maintenance fees, small buildings tend to have a small emergency fund. HOA members in a small building should be sure that there’s enough money in the fund to pay for a new roof if it becomes necessary or any other major repairs that come up. Otherwise, unit owners should be prepared to have their fees increased in the event that a major repair becomes necessary.
HOAs of small condo buildings tend to manage the building themselves rather than delegate the job to a property management company. That means that garbage removal, snow shoveling and gardening all are done by the HOA, which may consist of all the unit owners in a building. Before choosing to structure itself this way, an HOA should be sure that all of the unit owners have the time to do all of the small, everyday tasks a building requires. If not, hiring a part-time employee or a property management company might be a better solution.
In a small building, unit owners might become casual with the business side of maintaining the property. Instead of monthly meetings, there might be casual conversations in the hall or unspoken task schedules (e.g., the first floor neighbor shoveled last time, so the second floor neighbor decides to do it this time). Even if all of the unit owners are friends, it’s still a good idea to have regular meetings to ensure everyone’s on the same page and that everything is put in writing in case of disputes.
Multi-family homes are frequently turned into condo buildings, so these types of living situations are very common. Be sure that the experience is a positive one for all involved.
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