Handling condo service requests is an important part of condo management.
A home is the biggest expense most people will ever own. In a condo building, hundreds of people trust the operational needs of their homes to a property manager.
A home is the biggest expense most people will ever own. In a condo building, hundreds of people trust the operational needs of their homes to a property manager. A lot is riding on their shoulders. So when selecting or becoming a condo property manager, it’s important to have the right characteristics for success.
Today, we take a look at the characteristics of successful condo property managers:
A good property manager needs to be flexible. There are a lot of moving parts in condo operations. As a result, the needs of any given day can change fast. A good property manager needs to be able to adapt as new events and issues arise. After all, day-to-day condo operations rarely stick to your initial plan.
Flexibility is more than just going with the flow. It requires intimate knowledge of the building and its going-ons. This allows for seamless changes to plans and acting proactively. One of the most important tools for flexibility is organization.
Organization is essential for every property manager. It helps you simplify day-to-day condo management tasks. So managers remain flexible while ensuring efficient operation and letting nothing slip through the cracks.
There are simply too many people, units, files, and responsibilities to allow for disorganization. Requests or packages that get lost in the shuffle result in condo complaints, and missing maintenance can mean costly repairs. It’s crucial to stay ahead, and the best way is through organization.
Taking advantage of organizational tools for property managers will help a condo run smoothly, with greater efficiency and lower costs.
A good condo manager is a good communicator. Not only do they communicate clearly, but they also respond quickly and update as necessary. It’s important that tenants are made aware of any changes with enough warning for any changes.
For example, if an elevator or common area is to close for maintenance on a set date, residents should know so they can plan their day accordingly. Taking advantage of announcement tools, like condo lobby displays , is a great way to spread the word.
One-to-one communication is important as well. It’s important to respond to requests and inquiries in a timely manner. Taking advantage of a system that creates automatic reminders and stores information can help improve reliable communication.
Keeping track of all your condo communications is a challenging task. By using condo communication tools property managers can make communication manageable and effective.
Care is an often undervalued trait when choosing a property manager . But to be truly effective, a condo manager needs to care. A condo isn’t just a large building, it represents the homes, lives, investments, and security of each resident. A good condo manager genuinely cares about the owners and takes pride in their role.
With so many people living in one space, conflict inevitably rises from time to time. Handled properly, conflict doesn’t have to be a bad thing. A condo manager with skill in conflict resolution can turn these issues into solutions. They identify the problem, help work out a solution, and lay out a plan to prevent problems in the future.
Whether resolving disputes between condo neighbours or managing resident complaints, all condo managers have their conflict resolution skills put to the test.
Filing an incident report helps keep the information from conflict available for future reference. Incident reporting software can help property managers store information, images and details about the incident.
In today’s world, a truly successful condo manager is tech savvy. As property management evolves, taking advantage of the latest technology is the only way for managers to stay abreast of the changes. They’re expected to do more in less time at a lower cost. That’s a feat only sustainable through automation.
Today’s best condo managers are using automated property management software to simplify their job. These allow them to automate menial tasks saving them time and mental energy to focus on tasks that require their full attention. It also provides mobile access and better security.
Looking to develop the characteristics of the most successful property managers? Contact us today for quotes and more information.
Managing visitor check-ins can be a headache in any size of condo.
Reducing The Stress of Condo Visitor Check-Ins
Date Published: Oct 23, 2018
Faster Check-InsOne of the most important things to do to reduce the stress of visitor check-ins is to speed up the process. Otherwise, it becomes an inconvenience for everyone involved, the tenant, concierge, and guest. A slow check-in process can even result in people trying to circumvent the system. Or lead to tenants propping back doors open to allow guests easy access (while allowing anyone to get in the building). A buzz-in system is a common solution, but it’s not a perfect one. If the tenant isn’t home or is even out on their balcony, they may miss the buzz. Allowing the buzzer to be forwarded to their cell phones can reduce this problem. If people can’t get a hold of the person they’re visiting, or forget the buzz code, they’ll wait for another tenant and sneak in behind them. This is another problem, there’s no record of this person being in the building, and it means anyone can get in. Instead, having an easy communication line with the concierge can safely provide a fast check-in. The tenant can inform the concierge in advance that they have a guest coming, so the concierge can let them in. By using online condominium management software this information is easy to pull up, so the message isn’t lost, even if the concierge shift changes.
Visitor Arrival NotificationsVisitor arrival notifications are a great condo communication tool. When a guest arrives, the resident receives a message through email or SMS. It’s a quick update that allows for residents to quickly clear a guest upon arrival.
Visitor TrackingUsing a visitor registration app makes for simple visitor tracking. It syncs with your condominium management software to capture and retain information about visitor check-ins. It lets you keep track of each visitors’ arrival and departure time, as well as who they were here to see. You can even track their identification and collect their signature through a digital pad. In addition to improving security, this data also helps to create reports on condo visits. You can determine patterns for when times of the day, week, or year that visitors are most common, so you can prepare for high influxes. Logging a guest into the visitor tracking system is just a few quick steps:
- Log in
- Click on the Visitor Tracking icon
- Enter the resident’s unit number, visitor’s name
- Add any comments
SecurityManaging condo visitors involves more than just guests. For functional condo security, it’s important to have an intelligent permission to enter process. Security needs to be able to grant entry for deliveries and repairs. Residents may ask their neighbours or relatives enter their condo when they are away. Condominium management systems that provide permission to enter tools make this process a breeze. Even if they forgot to set it up before leaving the condo. Residents can enter the information online from any location. This allows the security and concierge to access the information quickly and allow access. Security can also track identification details before allowing access to the unit, tracking when they enter and when they leave. They are also able to revoke access at any time.
Visitor ParkingVisitor parking is a headache that most condo managers are all too familiar with. Visitor parking is a scarce resource. Too often there aren’t enough spaces, they aren’t fairly allocated, or residents abuse their use. Condo visitor parking software serves to resolve all of these issues. They make it easy to enforce parking spaces, preventing owners from sneaking in extra vehicles or hogging all the visitor parking.
Simplify Visitor Check-Ins With All-In-One Condo SoftwareCondo Control Central is clear, clean, & simple - it’s the really smart way to run your condo. Our all-in-one condominium management software simplifies visitor check-ins. It prioritizes convenience and functionality without sacrificing security. Contact our sales team today to find out more information or request a demo.
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Advances in property management technology are making it easier than ever to run a self-managed condo.
Tools For Self-Managed Condos
Date Published: Sep 29, 2018
Conflict of InterestWhen a board president takes on the condo manager role, it can create a conflict of interest. Boards are rarely able to adequately supervise the president. As a result, conflicts arise. The board president, acting as a manager, is able to make decisions on their own that can result in them being accused of putting their interests before those of the condo. Regardless of whether this is true, it creates problems and conflicts within the condo community.
SolutionUsually, when a condo board president takes on on management responsibilities, they step down from their presidency. They may still participate on the board. But this puts them in a position where their actions are supervised. As well, transparency can be an important element in this style of management. Often, boards use online software for self-managing a condo. This allows all necessary parties to access documents and records easily. As a result, there is more transparency, ensuring all actions are in the interests of the condo community as a whole.
Managing Time & Streamlining TasksWithout a full-time manager, time is always going to be a factor. Whoever takes responsibility for self-managing the condo is almost always a volunteer. They have other priorities, almost always working their own full-time job as well. As a result, streamlining tasks becomes essential to managing their time. They need to be as productive as possible without sacrificing the quality of their condo’s management.
SolutionAutomation. Automated property management saves time and money. It’s becoming a necessity for large condos, and for self-managing condos, it’s a huge time saver. Automated condo management takes away hours upon hours of manual tasks. Not only does it stop users from having to waste time on menial tasks, but it accomplishes them faster. This frees up the person filling the manager role to focus on tasks that require a person.
BoundariesWithout clear boundaries, self-management can easily turn into a 24-hour job. Residents will contact staff at all hours of the day with complaints, conflicts, and requests. Board members need to ensure that their personal lives and boundaries are respected, while still offering prompt responses and providing appropriate support.
SolutionThe first step is to set clear boundaries and communication channels. For instance, hours of availability for certain types of communication. If the person acting as the manager allows people to call or visit them in person, they will want to set clear hours and locations where this is appropriate. This will help prevent them being swamped with calls late at night or ambushed with questions while moving around the building. While doing this, they should also set up alternative communication options for outside of these hours. Some people will want indirect communication for anything other than an emergency. For example, sending an email for a request but calling in the event of flooding. Communicating boundaries clearly is important to make this position work without intruding your personal life. A crucial tool for this is self-managed condo software to improve communication management. These tools handle communication to make it manageable and effective. You can prioritize according to importance, and set-up reminders so no one gets forgotten. This reduces complaints, improves efficiency, and keeps the system accountable for everyone.
Handling RequestsEven in a small condo, there is a seemingly endless build-up of requests. From booking amenities to servicing broken utilities, requests can pile up fast. How can a part-time manager keep up without leaving tenants feeling ignored? Requests need to be handled quickly to meet resident expectations. As such, it’s important to find a way to streamline condo requests.
SolutionThe solution is finding a balance between ways residents can help themselves and track requests to make sure they’re being met. For small items, an online condo store lets the community buy necessities like keys and garage remotes easily, without having to wait for a manager. Other requests like amenity booking can also be handled with self-managed condo software. Residents can check an online calendar for availability and then put in a request online. They can also fill out any terms, conditions, or deposits right through the software. They then receive an email notifying them when booking is approved. This is a faster and easier solution for both sides of the process.
Accessibility & UsabilityEase of access and ease of use are core components of efficient self-managed condo software. Outdated condo management technology and systems can be difficult to use and take long hours in training. That’s a big ask of someone in a volunteer position. The result is systems that aren’t fully learned and so, many features aren’t used. This is wasteful and means less efficient processes. Ease of access is another common hiccup. The more difficult it is to access the system, the less it will be used. Every year, small condos waste thousands of dollars on systems that barely get used. Property management software is a hugely useful tool for any condo, but it needs to be used to get the value out of it.
SolutionThe solution is using mobile condo management tools. Mobile apps offer intuitive use and maximum accessibility. Training is faster and usage relies on natural behaviour patterns, with easy to navigate search features. Ideally, this mobile feature should be part of an all-in-one condo platform. It offers secure cloud access, so the platform is accessible from any device - at work or on-the-go. As a result, these modern tools see much more usage and have a higher ROI than their predecessors.
Try Automated & Online Self-Managed Condo SoftwareA self-managed condo is all about doing more with less, so you need a software platform that offers the same. With scalable pricing options, you can find the perfect fit, whether your condo is large, medium, or small. All of which offer top-tier support and automation to run your condo with ease. Contact Condo Control Central today and discover the really smart way to run your condo!
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Odour is a point of contention in any shared space, condos are no exception.
Making A Stink About Condo Odours | Managing Condo Smells
Date Published: Sep 7, 2018
CookingWhat smells delicious to one nose can be overwhelming to another. When the smells of dinner waft into the halls it can create dispute or displeasure between neighbours, especially with lingering odours. It’s important to regulate disputes early, but managing cooking smells does have its own challenges. You can’t really stop a condo owner from cooking what they like. At best it’s upsetting, at worst it can come across as culturally insensitive. Instead, you have to find ways to manage smells and prevent them from spreading. In some cases, these problems are as simple as a broken fan over the stove. A properly running fan helps prevent steam from causing water damage in the kitchen, while also helping to manage smells. Having an easy-to-use condo service request system can help Cooperative tenants may also agree to keep a window open. As well, the suite doors should be kept closed at all times and never propped open. While this prevents smells from dispersing into the hallway, it is also a fire code rule. If your building is having problems with odours from units getting into the halls the ventilation system should be checked. A properly configured ventilation system pushes air under suite doors and into the units - which prevents smells from seeping into the hall.
SmokingFor many non-smokers, the scent of smoking is unbearable. And it’s not just the smell. People worry about the health effects of secondhand smoke and property damage/devaluation. All are legitimate concerns and should be addressed proactively. Most condos have smoking regulations put in place. These rules range from outright bans on smoking to stating where smoking is allowed on condo balconies. If your condo has no such regulation in place, it’s best to create one before problems arise. The regulations should have clear outlines of what is allowed and the repercussions of breaking the rules. It’s important to follow through with enforcing regulations to ensure they’re effective and to avoid showing favouritism. Resources: In Canada, the government is preparing to legalize cannabis. Learn how to prepare with our article on Managing Cannabis Legislation in Condos.
GarbageSmelly garbage is a common complaint in condo buildings. To get to a solution, it’s important to figure out the source of the problem. This let’s condo managers know whether the system needs repair, adjustments, or if it’s a tenant-related issue. A reliable condo maintenance system is important to prevent costly garbage chute repairs. And smell is not the only problem. A stinky garbage chute can be a symptom of bigger problems. Allergens and bacteria, like salmonella and e. Coli, can grow inside unmaintained garbage chutes and trash rooms. They can also result in fire hazards, or create a breeding ground for mice, rats, and bugs. Other issues may require an adjustment to the current garbage removal and disposal system. For example, if your garbage bins are always overflowing you may need more dumpsters and/or more frequent pickups. Another potential problem is having dumpsters too close to entrance ways or living areas. It’s no tenants dream to live in a unit that smells like the entire condos trash. This can be a problem in back entrances and parking entryways as well. Try and find a home for the dumpsters that have minimal impact on the tenants. Tenant abuse of the system is a common cause for smelly garbage. It’s important to communicate garbage policies and make them accessible to residents. For example, if your condo has specific days for removing garbage and or compostable waste, make sure everyone is aware of the schedule. Mass emails and announcements can provide info to all tenants, and condo websites and forums are a great place to make the information available at any time. For other installing a security camera can help identify abuse of trash systems. Often, people leave large objects beside the garbage chute when they can’t or won’t break them down. If they leave garbage here it will smell in the halls until the problem is resolved.
Leaks & DamagesSometimes, condo odours are signs of a bigger problem. Often, it is an indicator of damage. It’s always worth investigating a strong odour, to avoid damage becoming a major problem. Leaky pipes, for example, can result in a pungent, mouldy odour. While the smell is unpleasant, it’s the least of these issues. Left unchecked, the water damage from the leak can cause structural damage to the building. As well, mould growth, especially black mould, can cause serious health problems for residents. Mould clean up of an area over 10 feet should be handled by professionals. As well, the longer the leak goes without fixing, the larger the leak becomes. Pipes may require replacing instead of repairing, and the resulting damage gets worse.
Manage Condo Odours With Online Property Management SoftwareKeep track of service requests, tenant complaints, maintenance scheduling and repairs with an online property management system. Set up automated reminders for maintenance to help prevent damage, and get quick updates about tenant requests and complaints to resolve issues before they worsen. Digital property management is essential for productive, proactive condo managers. Contact Condo Control Central today to see how our software can simplify your property management tasks.
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Record keeping is an essential task for any condo, and it can be a real headache.
Improving Condo Record Keeping
Date Published: Sep 24, 2018
Types of RecordsIn condo record keeping the paperwork piles up easily. There are a lot of documents that need to be kept, and many of them need to be kept for a long time. As a result, the record files grow quickly, compounding over the years. In Ontario Condo Law, a number of documents need to be kept for set time limits:
|Record Type||How Long Condos Must Keep Records|
|Minutes of board/owner’s meetings||Unlimited|
|Current records of owners/leases||Unlimited|
|Reserve fund plans/studies||Unlimited|
|Ongoing litigation & insurance claims/investigations||Unlimited|
|Current warranties/insurance policies||Unlimited|
|Financial records||7 Years|
|Status certificates||7 Years|
|Returns & notices of change||7 Years|
|Director disclosure||7 Years|
|Training records||7 Years|
|Specific owner records||7 Years|
|Expired agreements/warranties||7 Years|
|Employee records||7 Years|
|Past litigation and insurance claims/investigation records||7 Years|
|Engineer/Architect/Appraiser reports on the condition of the property||7 Years|
|Proxies, ballots, & votes at owners’ meetings||90 Days|
Quality of RecordsIt’s not just the organization and maintenance of the records that improve, but the quality as well. By leveraging digital condo record keeping tools, more supporting documentation can be provided with ease. Drag and drop supporting images, files, videos and more. You can further improve ease and quality by having all your condo management under one comprehensive software solution. For example, consider how Condo Control Central improves and expedites the online status certificate process: As comprehensive condo management software, it can accept payments, automate records, and email necessary parties immediately. The buyer fills out a form online for a faster, easier process. The condo manager is immediately notified of the new request through email. Not only can the condo manager see the request but it has all the necessary information allowing for an easy process. If needed, this record can be pulled up instantly through the software’s search function.
Access & StorageA good condo management software platform is a precise balance between ease of access and security. You want to make it easy to sort and share records and documents without leaving your system vulnerable. This means having strong control over access rights and sharing in a user-friendly system.
Ease of AccessA user-friendly, easy to navigate interface is essential for the best property management software. It cuts down on time for users at both ends of communication. The search feature makes it easy to find, access, and share documents with the necessary parties. It is also secure because parties can access the documents through a single system. At the receiving end, the user benefits from templated and standardized documents and records. This makes them consistent and easy to read. It’s a better user experience and a more efficient process. Making use of mobile condo management apps further improves ease of access. It allows for access at home or on-the-go. In today’s technological landscape, mobile access is becoming a necessity for anyone managing multiple properties.
Sharing Access and Rights to Access RecordsNot all documents and records are shared solely between condo managers, management company, and boards. Condo owners, prospective buyers, and agents have the right to access a number of key records including:
- The financial records of your corporation.
- The minute book containing the minutes of owners' meetings and the minutes of board meetings.
- Your condo corporation’s declaration, by-laws, and rules.
- A copy of any return or notice that the corporation has filed with the CAO.
- All lists, items, records and other documents from your condo corporation’s turn-over meeting.
- A list of the names of the owners of each unit in the corporation and their address for service.
- The budget for the first fiscal year.
- All reserve fund studies and all plans to increase the reserve fund.
- All agreements entered by, or on behalf of, the corporation.
- All instruments appointing a proxy or ballots for a meeting of owners that are submitted at the meeting.
- Other records as specified in regulations or your condo corporation’s by-laws.
Simplify Condo Record Keeping With Automated SoftwareAutomated online software is the best way to simplify condo management. You can save time and money with digital tools that take care of menial tasks for you, allowing you to focus on the important things. Contact us today to learn how you can run your condo the really smart way.
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Handling condo service requests is an important part of condo management.
Managing The Most Common Condo Service Requests
Date Published: Sep 7, 2018
- Leaky Faucet
- Clogged/Backed Up Toilet
- Repair Walls - Small cracks and holes
- Replace Door Handle
- Dryer Not Working Properly
- Burnt Out Lightbulbs
Leaky FaucetA leaky faucet is one of the most common service requests. However, in most condos, repairing a leaky faucet is the condo owner’s responsibility. Having a page on a condo forum or website makes it easy for tenants to discover who is responsible for different kinds of repairs. If the condo is rented, it is usually up to the unit owner to fix a leaky faucet. They can either do it themselves or hire a plumber. A leaky tap is an easy fix. Simply shut off the water, replace the rubber washer in the nozzle, and turn the water back once tightened. If a plumber is required, the tenant should communicate with the condo security and concierge. They manage condo visitors and can allow the plumber into your unit if required. As well, the condo may have a list of preferred contractors.
Clogged or Backed Up ToiletA clogged or backed up toilet is generally the responsibility of the resident to fix. If the unit is rented, it is usually the renters’ duty unless a plumber is required. Most clogs can be resolved easily with a plunger. A more stubborn clog may require pouring about 4 ounces of dish soap into the toilet and allowing it to sit for 15 minutes to half an hour before trying again. If the problem persists, a plumber may be needed. The property manager only needs to get involved if the toilet problem is symptomatic of a plumbing defect. It’s important to take care of this service request quickly as it could begin to affect other units and become a larger problem. Taking advantage of service request software makes it easy for clients to submit requests, and for managers to monitor progress.
Repairing WallsFor small cracks and holes, most people can manage simple drywall repair tasks. Property managers can even sell the spackling compound and putty knives on their online condo store. If a service request does have to go through, professional repair is expensive. So it’s useful to share prepared instructions on minor drywall repair first. More substantial damage, especially structural, will require a condo manager. The damage needs to be assessed and properly handled to avoid worsening or compromising other units.
Replacing Door HandlesReplacing door handles is the responsibility of the condo. The handle is part of the door, and the the condo takes care of the door. In most cases, the owner is not allowed to change the door handle themselves. Instead they put in a service request and the condo’s designated locksmith fixes or replaces it.
Dryer Not Functioning ProperlyOne of the most common condo service requests is a malfunctioning dryer. This is most common if there are shared laundry facilities. The biggest complaint is that the dryer isn’t fully drying clothes. This is usually a result of having an oversized load or not cleaning the lint trap between uses. You can print reminders with proper use instructions and reminders to clean the lint traps in the laundry room. As well, you can post troubleshooting tips on the condo community website. If the problem is more technical, the condo manager will call a repairman. In a shared laundry room, the condo is responsible for managing repairs and requests. But servicing in-unit laundry machines is the responsibility of the unit owner.
Burnt Out LightbulbsA burnt out lightbulb is a frequent issue, but an easy solve. If a light is in a public space, the condo manager can send maintenance to replace the bulb. Consider replacing burnt out light bulbs with energy efficient lighting. LED lights last 1,000 times longer than incandescent bulbs and are 600% more efficient. This is one of the simplest ways to transition to green condo management. If it’s in the condominium’s budget, switching all lighting to energy-efficient options is a great way to reduce energy costs. The lights in individual units, however, are the responsibility of the tenants to purchase and replace. Some condo managers will make exceptions and send maintenance to help elderly or disabled tenants with this repair. Having lights available in the condo’s online store can streamline this repair. Be sure to stock bulbs with wattages that match any standard light fixtures in the condo.
Shared Areas & FacilitiesMost of the minor repairs above are the responsibility of the unit owners or tenants. However, that changes when repairs occur outside of individual units. Maintenance and repair is part of managing shared condo spaces, facilities, and amenities. For example, a clogged toilet in the change room of the condo pool. It’s up to the condo manager to resolve this issue.
Major RepairsThe majority of the most common service requests in condos are minor repairs. These small problems usually have cheap and easy solutions. Major repairs, though they happen less often, are when condo managers are needed most. Elevators and HVAC repairs are examples of major issues the condo manager handles. A stoppage or slowing in their operation impacts everyone. Residents expect them to be handled quickly and effectively. An important tool for property managers is digital maintenance tracking. This allows managers to schedule maintenance and repairs. Progress is easy to track and any necessary files, reports, and information can be attached for future reference or for sharing with maintenance. As well, routine maintenance reminders can be automated to avoid future problems. Automation is an important tool for the modern condo manager. Whether managing multiple properties or just one building, automated online condo management software improves efficiency, reduces costs, and makes management easier. Request a demo today or contact us for a quote!
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As electric cars become more common, the demand for charging stations is increasing.
Eletric Vehicle Charging Stations
Date Published: Sep 4, 2018
- A condo owner wants to install one?
- The condo building or corporation wants to install them?
A Condo Owner Wants to Install An EV Charging StationHow this is handled depends on local legislation. In California, for instance, the condo must allow owners to install EV charging stations. However, that owner is responsible for paying for the installation, maintenance, and electricity use. Condominium owners who want to apply for an EVCS install can join together. By having their parking spots grouped together they can reduce the costs and complexity of installing their charging stations. When installing a charging station, boards will want to measure electricity use for submetering. The board cannot charge back the charging electricity to the building. Instead it should be metered and charged back to the owner. Other places are slower to catch on, but the trend is growing. Ontario recently changed its Condominium Act to make it easier for owners to install charging stations. One change is that boards need to provide access to all information required for owners to get an assessment and application. As well, condo boards need to reply to the application within 60 days. To reject an EVCS application, the condo board needs an expert to prove the installation doesn’t meet the legal or safety requirements. The quick turnaround time and expert assessment make it important to adopt a system to streamline condo board approvals.
The Condo Building Wants to Install Electric Vehicle Charging StationsIf the condo building or corporation wants to install charging stations for electric vehicles there are still a few challenges. In Toronto, even though most buildings are interested in EV stations, only 10% of existing buildings have them. ~10% of existing condos in Toronto have EV charging stations In large part, the slow adoption is due to costs. If the condo lacks the infrastructure or if there are few electric vehicles currently in the condo EV chargers are a tough sell. The charging stations are often an expensive install if retrofitting is required. The costs seem especially high with electric vehicles still making up only a small minority of total car sales. But as EV sales are expected to see exponential growth, it’s worth it for condo buildings to start planning today. For buildings in development, installing EV charging stations is much more cost-efficient during the build. It’s worthwhile installing them during this phase, as it will only get more expensive later.
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Changing cannabis legislation in Canada, and an increasing number of US states, is putting pressure on condo managers and boards for tighter regulation.