Ask George: How To Get A Cheap Audit?

Hi George

In the condo development we live in, we experience all the evils of board and management. One of which is the manager has been systematically dropping services to the unit owners.

The latest being that  when it snows the maintenance department cannot shovel the front walks of units because they claim they don’t have the money or manpower.  They have always shoveled the walks in the past. They say we can exit units by going to lower level and go out the garage door downstairs at the rear of the unit. This is an over 55 community where-in, a good majority of owners are over 70 and 80.

This means for many to go up and down steps when leaving and returning to their units.   Now he threatens us with an assessment, and in 20 years of living here, we have had only one other assessment. That was for roof replacement and because the people before us did not provide a roof reserve.

We now have reserves for everything and as always announced, they were always in excellent shape. One cannot prove if our manager is honest or not, and to say there is no money for required and safety type measures is questionable.

People are all talking about the need for an audit, but are afraid of the huge cost that could be involved. To go to the State would not be a good thing for us, possibly lowering our unit values. Do you have any suggestions as to what course of action we can take to see if our money is being spent properly, and as to the truth in the manager’s claims and actions?

We appreciate your attention to this situation. Note; this is not a management company. We have a hired manager and office staff and a large maintenance force with all our own equipment. A suggestion of going to a lawyer would be costly for unit owners , while the association would use council paid for by the unit owners. How can the unit owners get a forensic audit that would not cost a fortune? Your ideas would be greatly appreciated.                                                                           Respectfully,                                                               A frustrated unit owner

Unfortunately you get what you pay for. A cheap audit is not worth doing.

It sounds like frustrated unit owners need to get more involved in how their condo association is operating by attending board meetings, ask questions, and demand financial information.

Interested people do attend meetings, they ask questions too. But answers are not always given and sometimes the manager makes up rules that muffle the questions. He is not the most truthful person. The board has many biased members and they protect the manager and whatever he says they stand behind. The main problem is that the unit owners have no-one to turn to. The executive board is a rotating group of people. One cannot get past the nominating committee to actually run. Therefore people will not step up. And a great fear for many is retaliation so they won’t even speak up. An audit is not the only thing needed. I honestly believe that a physical audit of the manager would reveal information that could lead to some relief. But, one cannot accuse or insinuate anything for fear of being sued. The top audit needed is the one we need, but funding such an audit would be difficult. We appreciate your response to our first message, but it goes back to cost of audit and that is a problem the unit owners face. Perhaps, someday, the perpetrators ( some board members and the manager) will slip up and then we can pursue and correct.
A Very Frustrated Unit Owner


2 Responses to Ask George: How To Get A Cheap Audit?

  1. patti says:

    Does the management company or Board have a fiduciary duty to hold a contractor responsible for damage they create and have them file a claim with their insurance? Our landscaping company damaged the siding on all of our buildings when cutting down bushes with chain saws, the siding is vinyl and it was discolored and warped by the heat of the gas pwered chain saws. This landscaper does both our lanscaping and snow removal to over $60,000 a year. I have been reporting this and asking for what is being done numerous time for 18 months. This is either incompetence or fraud! What should my next steps be?

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