Michael Chetboun created Sequoia Property Management 10 years ago. This firm has developed extensive expertise in co-ownership management and manages 6,000 condos in the greater Montreal area.
He mainly deals with the development of his company's business and offers his services (as a consultant) to syndicates of co-ownership. He meets their various needs, whether in terms of management or understanding how a co-ownership works.
Michael Chetboun holds a master's degree in Econometrics and an MBA in Finance. He teaches courses in co-ownership management at McGill University and the University of Quebec at Montreal (ESG UQAM), as well as at the Cégep de Saint-Laurent. He is also on the Board of Directors of the RGCQ, and as such, participates in numerous international seminars and conferences dealing with co-ownership.
The condo manager is a one-man or one-woman orchestra but is also the unfailing ally of the syndicate of co-owners. Directors who do not have the expertise to properly manage their building should, perhaps, consider using his services. This will prevent the risk of potentially costly errors. Sound building management is essential to avoid slippages that can cause considerable damage to a collectivity of co-owners.
Most directors work on a voluntary basis. They occupy this position in addition to having a full-time job. Quite often, those who accept this position do so by default, because no one really wants to be the lucky winner. The most valiant are called upon to work overtime evenings on weekdays, and sometimes even on weekends, to ensure that their co-ownership is properly cared for.
Added to this difficulty is that of administering on a trial and error basis, often in an approximate manner, due to a lack of knowledge of the issues specific to divided co-ownerships, more particularly on the legal level. We also see directors who, tired of being constantly solicited to manage the property of others - namely the building - resign, either because they are exhausted or because they feel they are accomplishing a thankless task.
A condo manager could make it easier for them, if he is competent, available and able to surround himself with the right people to support the work. This is the case of a company called Sequoia, which I co-founded at the turn of 2009. By definition, a manager does not replace directors. His role is to carry out what they ask him to do. Nevertheless, he will prove to be an excellent advisor when important decisions must be made.
Collecting common expenses (condo fees), producing tender documents to select the right subcontractors, such as a landscaper or a snow removal company, is part of a condo manager's daily routine. Among other tasks that could be entrusted to him, he would possibly be called upon to make recommendations, particularly regarding the financial situation of a syndicate. He will do so, among other things, during the preparation of the annual budget, so that a co-ownership can assume an economic reality compatible with its needs. This is especially true for the contingency fund.
As unwavering partners of the syndicate, always ready to defend its interests, we perform various other tasks, including negotiating the cost of insurance policies, assisting during board meetings, and preparing and convening annual general meetings of co-owners, which includes (among other things) taking minutes.
The manager plays an advisory role
Sequoia can also mandate the right subcontractors, after receiving instructions from the board of directors, to make the necessary repairs in the common portions. We can also play an advisory role, for example when it is necessary to negotiate contracts related to the maintenance of a building, or to have a maintenance register produced, which must be consistent with the building's needs. In addition, we offer a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week support service.
You will say that retaining the services of a condo manager is expensive. On that point, I would answer that you are not quite right, because we offer different packages adapted to small and larger co-ownerships.
Director: an enormous responsibility
But the price argument is worthless if the manager does not give full satisfaction. To achieve this objective, the manager needs to know the many workings of co-ownerships, otherwise his performance will be poor. They may even put a syndicate in a precarious situation. This responsibility cannot be assumed as a dilettante. It requires knowledge in various areas, such as accounting, architecture and, of course, the legislative framework that governs this concept of collective housing.
The building you live in is probably worth several million dollars. As a result, the task of directors is enormous, namely to ensure the maintenance and sustainability of the built heritage, which is not an easy task. If they were to commit a fault in the performance of their duties, they could be held personally liable. There is therefore no risk to take.
Co-ownership values on the rise
For their part, co-owners must ensure that their directors do the work, because the investment of a community of individuals depends on it. The building represents the protective envelope of the apartments located there. The building must be given a lot of love for the condos to gain in value.
In the absence of being guided by a professional order of management – which will come one day - our condo managers will adhere (unofficially) to the noble values of probity, ethics and deontology. In addition, the company has civil and professional liability insurance, which is essential in this sector of activity. In addition, we subscribe to continuing training.
Let our expertise guide you, because it is important to see clearly when it comes to co-ownerships, in order to avoid a rout and ending up in a ditch. Self-managed co-ownerships will say "you are never better served than by yourself''. To that, I would say that at Sequoia, "we manage co-ownerships as if they were our own.''
Tel: 514 564-2200