Feeling a little snappish about your co-op or condo board? Take a deep breath, and consider the possibility that your board is feeling a little snappish about you. And that maybe you deserve it.
Below, one longtime Upper East Side condo board member explains how you can do better.
1. Be grateful for the work the board does.
Some owners are nice and appreciative but the rest can make your life miserable. Frankly, some of them are off-the-charts nuts.
In the time between the regularly scheduled monthly meetings, there are non-stop conference calls about the many, many things that the board has to think about: People who don't pay their common charges, what you can and cannot have on your balcony, hiring and firing elevator maintenance companies, what can go down the garbage chute and what can't, and what the lobby furniture should be.
If you're going to serve on a board, be prepared to get yelled at, threatened with litigation, have your cell phone ring at odd hours, and be generally underappreciated for zero compensation.
The whole thing has given me agita—and you don't need to have an Italian mother to know exactly what that means.
2. Understand that you live in an apartment building, not a house.
You have to think about how the things you do impact others. You can't make all the noise you want whenever you want and not think that it's going to piss people off.
3. Remember that just because it’s legal doesn't mean you should do it.
Some people think they can smoke 18 hours a day and not have a problem with the neighbors. Sure, you're allowed to smoke in your own apartment [unless you live in one of these buildings] but please, be reasonable.
4. Be nice to the staff.
Or at least nicer than you are to the board. They're usually doing the best they can.
5. Don't turn annual meetings into bitch sessions.
Things like "X's dog sniffs me in the elevator," "I can't stand the smell coming into my apartment from next door," blah, blah, are not relevant to the meetings.
Concentrate on the important issues. In our case they're problems the sponsor left us with, like faulty windows and and leaks—and talk about what needs to be done to protect the huge investment that your apartment represents.