Though property managers work for the co-op corporation or condo association, they’re hired by the Board. In practice, managers sometimes act as if they owe allegiance to some Board members or officers, rather than a fiscal duty to all owners. Because New York does not require a dedicated property management license, owners who witness or suspect incompetence or malfeasance on the part of their management firm have no practical recourse beyond their Board…even if the Board chooses to take no action on the problem. Where Boards & managers are complicit, there’s no recourse at all.
Owners sometimes complain that the management firm simply does the Board’s bidding, even if that means breaching the By-Laws or BCL. Other times, we hear that a strong management firm—often the only constant when a building is in transition or political flux—takes advantage & doesn’t even heed the Board’s wishes.
Property managers typically have complete day-to-day control of bank accounts, vendors, & staff. They must be more accountable.
The relevance of a broker’s license, which property managers are supposed to maintain [but often don’t], is extremely thin. In fact, most parties to the pro/con licensing debate—which has dragged on for at least 30 years—agree that the training needed to get a license doesn’t equip a broker to manage a building…& conversely, that the training needed to get the proposed property management license isn’t needed by brokers.
We think it’s time to end the debate, & create a property management license.