Where was the $378.00 invoice from?

How to communicate with the condo board/property manager effectively?

To work with a condo board/property manger, one needs to be extremely clear and keep good record to avoid any confusion. Here is an experience we have to demonstrate what could happen if one does not. 

A few months ago, one tenant called in to report that there was no hot water in his unit. He is living in a condo building. As a precaution, we called the property manager who was in charge of the condo building on behalf of the condo board.We asked them if there was a planned maintenance schedule to shut off water. The lady on the phone said no, mentioned she could send a plumber to check the issue if we need, and offer the plumber’s number. We took the number and thanked her for the information, told her we may call the plumber if needed. 

After ruling out there was no issue on the building, we went ahead to call our own plumber to get this taken care of. What happened next was quite unexpected. 

Our tenant got a knock on the door, a guy claimed plumber went in and said he was coming to check the unit, having being told that the plumber is on his way, he was delighted to have him in, thinking he was the one sent by our office. The guy went around did what he did and left. 

A hour later, our plumber callled the tenant to set the appointment, our tenant was confused and told him the job has been done. After a quick investigation, we found out what was going on. 

The property manager of the condo building went ahead and sent the plumber used by them directly to our unit, without first getting any approval from us. A bill of hundreds dollars arrived claiming they have fixed the issue, which had never been asked in the first place. So what went wrong in this case?

It is easy to point the fingers to others as always. However, to truly learn from this incident, one shall realize the following:

  1. The property managers are in general loaded with many things at the same time, it was not uncommon that what you said to them has been misinterpreted into something else. So if you are unclear on what you need, or DO NOT need, in this case, you need to say it Clearly. When their plumber phone # offered, you may take it down, but you do need to tell them that you have your own plumber and you DO NOT need them to send theirs. 
  2.  To make it even better, during the phone call, make sure you get his/her full name, email address, and direct phone line. Once the phone conversation completed, it is a great idea to put a quick writing summary in email. this way, you have writing record in terms of what has been discussed, especially the issues are sensitive, important and potentially money/cost involved. 
  3. Anything that might involved in the condo board/property manager, you need to think twice as they are likely on very different angle/perspective from your point of view, which in turn, could lead to very difference call of actions. 
In short, be extremely vigilant when you deal with condo board/property managers. Keeping communication SUPER clear is prudent to avoid any confusion in the future. Putting it in writing is always highly recommended. Lastly, think ahead not after before you call, “how would the property managers look at this issue when raised?”, this will make you much prepared to work together instead of against each other in the long run. 
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