New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide



How to Address a Complaint Before It Becomes a Violation

The Challenge

We had a situation where a person at a neighboring building complained about construction that he thought was occurring in one of the buildings we manage. He was wrong. But this is a pretty common source of tension between buildings.

The Solution

There are services now that will track public records on violations and complaints, and then give you an alert if a complaint is made. In the situation where the neighboring building complained, we received an e-mail alert giving us notice of that complaint. Before an inspector even arrived, we dispatched the contractor involved to the Department of Buildings to explain what was going on. We headed the violation off at the pass. We completely defused the situation. Whereas other people in similar situations would shake their fists in frustration, for us it became a non-issue because we actively monitor the records on violations and complaints.

The Lesson

We’re a young company led by young people and are more tech-savvy than most. The buildings we manage are primarily high-end condos and co-ops. It’s a more sophisticated, demanding clientele. Being tech-savvy gives us an edge. Because we’re paperless, for instance, it gives these sometimes very sophisticated people the transparency they demand. We reconcile our accounts every month as many people do, but we also just give the board members access to that. That way they know how every penny is spent. Every bill that comes in is scanned. If a board member has a question like, “Why did we pay $300 for this little thing?” you click on it, you pull up the bill and you see exactly what it is. Without impugning any of our competitors, a lot of other management companies make money by charging little fees here or there. There’s a Les Miserables song, “A little bit here, a little bit there, and it all adds up.” We very much don’t want to do that.

Subscriber Login

Ask the Experts

learn more

Learn all the basics of NYC co-op and condo management, with straight talk from heavy hitters in the field of co-op or condo apartments

Professionals in some of the key fields of co-op and condo board governance and building management answer common questions in their areas of expertise

Source Guide

see the guide

Looking for a vendor?