I went to my condo's Annual General Meeting last night. I only started going to these last year, but I really wish I had started going earlier because they are so interesting! The financial stuff is a little dry (I read financial statements all the time at work so I can decipher them easily without the auditor), but then it gets into a whole discussion of what is going on the condo building and we, as owners, get a chance to bring up any questions or concerns.
I have noticed a huge difference in my building's management in the close to 4 years I have lived here (Ack! Where does time go?). The maintenance fees have leveled off to 1-2% increases per year vs the 29% and 26% I first got! And our finances seem to get stronger and stronger each year. Not to mention the board is working hard to improve the image of my building. Recently we had a gym makeover (yay!), and party room makeover (yay!), along with many other improvements. They also have added indoor bike parking, yoga classes, and more social events. As an owner, I cannot believe I didn't take more interest in the board and management when I was younger. I am now seeing a huge difference in the running of this building and I really hope it helps the property values long term. I am even toying with running for the board next year (if I see myself here still for a few more years- I'd hate to get elected and then move!).
In the meantime, I heard at the board meeting that there is a community interest group for my neighbourhood so I am going to search them out and join. My area needs a lot of improvements (it is safe and clean, but sparse on shopping and food and the roads are poorly planned!). I really feel like I need to get involved in my neighbourhood, even if just to meet people. I only know one other person who lives down here and there must be thousands!
As for funny (well, not so funny to some) news, there is always some crazy story of something the board has dealt with and this year did not fail. Apparently someone on the 19th floor was throwing DOG POOP off their balcony!! They actually set up some sort of surveillance to catch them and now the person is gone (thank god). Can you believe that?? What if you were standing on the street when it happened? There are also complaints of people drying laundry on their balconies, which I find gross because my balcony always has a layer of dirty film on it (I wipe it down a lot). I dry my stuff on a rack indoors and never have an issue. Otherwise, this year was pretty tame compared to last year's "where can dogs pee" discussion.
Anywho, that is the interesting update from my crazy condo. Living in a shared space (500 units?) has it's challenges, but I think a good board who cares about the image and quality of living for the residents, on a budget of course, really makes up for it. I am satisfied that my investment is in good hands!
Does anyone else participate in their community? Do you find it to be a useful endeavor?