Who would have imagined that May of 2020 would look like this? COVID-19 has forced the entire world to change their behavior to stop the spread. Stay-at-home orders have been issued in virtually every state and province, and people are being asked to keep their distance from anyone who they don’t share a home with. In this webinar, we will give you the tools you need to safely manage and communicate with your Condo or HOA.
The coronavirus has created some unique challenges for residential communities. Communication can always be tricky when you’re trying to reach 50, 100, or even 400 residents. But it’s even harder today if you don’t have the proper communication tools. Many communities still rely on face-to-face communication to ask for important documents or help with maintenance requests, and boards generally host meetings in-person. They can’t do that safely right now.
Furthermore, communities, and condos, in particular, are having to come up with new policies and procedures to help keep everyone safe. They have had to create “best practices” when it comes to using elevators, managing guests, regulating amenity usage, repairs, and renovations, etc. Changes are being made all the time as new information becomes available. Condos need a way to share this information with everyone as it is released.
In light of the current pandemic, we thought it would be a good idea to create an on-demand webinar for PMs and board members to help them manage their HOA or condo while doing their part to keep residents safe. It is free and contains a lot of useful information about how to continue with some important daily operations while social distancing. The webinar highlights effective (and safe) strategies for:
- Sharing news, updates and instructions regarding temporary processes and procedures with your entire community
- Getting information to residents electronically
- Holding board meetings and moving forward with urgent issues
- Storing governing documents, resources related to COVID-19, and information from the board
- Handling emergency service requests
- Giving residents a way to communicate and offer help to more vulnerable neighbors
The webinar will also allow you to see how Condo Control Central’s electronic communication features work, and how they may be able to address some of your communication challenges.
Some of the most popular features include:
- PMs and board members can use Announcements to send out updates about meeting changes or cancellations, amenity closures, or safety precautions being carried out by the association, instantaneously
- Announcements can be sent through a desktop computer or phone, and received by residents through email, texts or automated voice messages, depending on their preference
- Announcements can be scheduled for a future time or date if new policies are going to come into effect later in the week
- Letters, PDFs, and articles about COVID-19 can be attached to announcements
- E-consent forms can be sent to residents through Condo Control Central and they can approve electronically
- Once residents give consent to receive notifications and documents electronically, they don’t have to worry about going to the mailroom, touching letters or coming into the management office to collect or return important forms
- Our electronic consent feature is fully compliant with the Ontario Condominium Act
- If residents consent to receive documents electronically, they can also patriciate in online proxy voting and e-voting
- Productivity does not have to come to a full stop just because we’re practicing social distancing
- Board members can continue with essential meetings and receive the votes they need to reach a quorum through online proxy voting and e-voting
- Boards are currently using these features to get approval on important decisions. Management can even monitor vote submissions in real-time. They can see how close they are to reaching a quorum before the meeting
- Owners appreciate that they can participate and have their say without having to leave their home
- Board members may decide to conduct virtual meetings through Zoom, a telephone conference, Skype, or another conference platform
- Store all important documents relating to COVID-19 in the Condo Control Central File Library. This could include temporary policies or procedures, instructions on how to make online payments, instructions on how to participate in online voting, contact lists, and even external documents from city/state/provincial officials
- Management can control who has access to folders. They can create one folder for residents, and a separate one just for board members
- Email alerts can be sent to residents every time a new file is uploaded so they don’t miss anything important
- Most cities have advised that repairs be delayed unless they are essential. Any issue that could jeopardize the health or safety of the resident, or the integrity of the home, still needs to be fixed
- Our Service Requests feature lets residents submit service requests online, and they can even request through the Condo Control Central phone app
- Priority options can be turned on so that residents can let their manager know that they’ve got a high priority issue that requires immediate attention
- Manage the progress of requests online and close them when they’re resolved. Residents will be able to monitor changes made to the request as well
- Allow residents to virtually connect through Condo Control Central’s online Discussion Forum
- You can introduce new topics and residents can share their ideas, thoughts, or concerns. This is an excellent tool to have when people aren’t able to socialize in person
- Management has the option to customize discussion groups so that only select people can participate
- Neighbors who are older or who have health issues can ask for assistance through this feature if they are unable to get their groceries or medication
In addition to Condo Control Central, many condos and HOAs are using traditional email, social media, and their community websites to keep residents informed. These are all excellent choices. Having a reliable communication system in place is important under normal circumstances, and crucial during this turbulent time.
It’s been a challenging couple of months, but it looks as though we are moving towards a new normal. A handful of states and provinces are starting to loosen restrictions, and some businesses are being granted permission to reopen. But that doesn’t mean we can revert to our old habits and routines, at least not right away. This will be a gradual process, and we must continue to practice patience.
Condos and HOAs will want to err in the side of caution when making plans to reopen common areas and amenities. Boards should consult with legal counsel and insurance providers on any plan they create before anything is implemented. Opening up will look different for different types of communities. It may be easier to do this in a small HOA, but it will be more difficult for communities that house hundreds of residents. Cleaning these common areas will be extremely important during the reopening process. It may also be necessary to put limits on how many people can use a certain facility at a time. Management will need to continue communicating with residents as new expectations and rules are made. Daily or weekly updates on the status of amenities, meetings, and more will be necessary. Using technology to get the message across is often the easiest, most efficient, and cost-effective way to communicate.
Helping property managers, board members and communities