Condo owners frequently tell us that their property managers still send paper documents by mail. This is frustrating for owners because receiving paper is not as convenient, and it's frustrating for board members because all of that printing costs money. So why do managers still send paper documents?
There is one main reason: under the Ontario Condominium Act, there is no specific provision for electronic distribution, and property managers are leery of being accused of not following the rules.
So what can be done about it?
Introducing Our Improved Paperless Delivery Feature
Today I am excited to announce our improved "paperless delivery" feature. We are specifically addressing the issues above to give you a legally-sound way to send documents electronically, even for mandatory documents like AGM notices, budgets, and more.
The following video shows how it works.
Here's a common scenario: a property manager needs to distribute the annual buddget.
- The manager posts the budget letter to Condo Control Central. When they post it, the system asks the manager for a deadline when they will be sending paper copies. The manager chooses a date 24-48 hours in the future. This becomes the deadline for collecting owner responses.
- Our system sends email notifications to all owners who have email addresses. The email instructs the user to review the document and opt out of receiving paper.
- When the paper delivery deadline arrives, the system emails the property manager with a summary of responses to date, and allows them to print or save two very important reports:
- The Proof of Electronic Delivery Report.
This includes full details of every user who opted out of receiving a paper copy. The report includes their full details (unit number, name, email address, date and time of acknowledgement, and IP address).
- The Mailing List for Paper Copies Report
This report can be used to mail merge mailing labels or envelopes for all owners who did not opt-out of a paper copy.
- The property manager uses the mailing list to print labels and deliver paper copies for everyone who didn't opt-out of receiving paper.
- Finally, in cases where it is required, these two reports together are filed with the "Proof of Notice" to clearly show how the documents were delivered to owners (some by email, some by mail).
We look forward to hearing your feedback on this improvement.
Is this legally sound?
We have consulted with our lawyers while designing this and they advised that it is solid for two reasons: first, the "Proof of Electronic Delivery" report provides exact details about who acknowledged the document (unit, recipient, date, time, email address, IP address). Second, the recipient has to acknowledge each individual document. This way there is no risk of a non-delivery. Even in the case where a recipient changes their email address or a notification is sent to the junk mail folder. In these cases, the recipient will receive a paper document since they never responded.
Why do the recipients need to confirm every document?
We designed it this way to ensure that property managers can be 100% confident their documents are being delivered. By doing it this way, it is virtually impossible for someone to miss receiving a document.
Is 24 to 48 hours enough time for recipients to respond?
Our research shows that on average, 70% of recipients who are going to respond will review a document within the first 24 hours after the notice is sent. You could potentially get more responses by waiting longer, but most people respond on the first day.
What about owners who do not have email?
They will not receive an email notice and will be included in the list to receive a printed copy.
How can we get more owners to make use of this feature?
Collect email addresses from owners at every opportunity, and ensure that you enter all of the emails you have into the system. Owners are not required to log in to receive their documents, nor do they even have to set up a password. As long as you load their email they will get the email notices and can opt out.
We recommend including reminders with every communication (newsletters, budgets, etc) to remind everyone to provide an email address if they haven’t already.
If you have any additional questions please post them in the comments section below and we will respond.