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Boards & Buildings > Boards

What are the responsibilities of a co-op or condo board?

October 10, 2023 - 12:30AM
Written by
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In a nutshell
Co-op and condo boards are made up of unpaid volunteers who oversee a building's operations and finances, usually with professional help of their property manager and other service providers. Boards have a fiduciary duty to maximize property values and act in the best interest of their fellow property owners.

A co-op or condo board’s primary responsibility is to look after the operations and financial well-being of the building and make decisions on behalf of the building’s owners, with a crucial component being to protect, maintain, and enhance property values.


  • Each board member has a fiduciary duty They must act in the best interest of their fellow building owners, particu­larly when it comes to financial matters. Some decisions are dif­ficult to make because they involve issues board members may have little or no prior knowledge about and they often cost money. Those costs are passed on to the shareholders as part of their maintenance fees or assessments, so board members must exercise their fiduciary responsibility. While major decisions can be difficult and costly, the risk of not acting may be much greater, as indecision can lead to devastating consequences.
  • Board members are unpaid volunteers Unless the bylaws state otherwise, the board makes decisions on behalf of the entire building. Apartment owners are limited to voting for the handful of neighbors who get to make those decisions. Some buildings have a maximum dollar amount the board can approve without requiring a vote from the owners. But many bylaws do not address a maximum spending limit at all, which translates to a board with significant power to impact owners’ finances.
  • The board does not need to do everything itself Many different vendors specialize in vari­ous aspects of operating, maintaining, and repairing a building.There are professionals who help run the building and implement various projects. Aside from the regular day-to-day operations, building operators must adhere to a long list of building codes that exist to protect residents, staff, workers, and the community. And for many buildings, unions com­pli­cate building operations further. 
Summary of Board Responsibilities
  • Bylaws 

  • House rules 

  • Staff manuals

  • Service provider agreements

  • Capital improvement contracts

  • Building code compliance

  • Safety laws

  • Corresponds with counsel

  • Collections and arrears

  • Payments

  • Financing (mortgages and capital projects)

  • Budget (setting maintenance increases and determining needed assessments)

Building operation

Oversees and reviews: 

  • Property management 
  • Staff 
  • Service providers 
AdmissionsReviews and approves buyers and sublets
Community building
  • Communicates with residents (memos and newsletters)
  • Works with the committees
  • Plans resident social gatherings




Tina Larsson Headshot
Tina Larsson is the co-founder of The Folson Group, New York City's leading co-op and condo consultancy. A prominent speaker on proactive co-op/condo leadership and ESG matters, Tina is the author of Living the High Life: How Smart Co-op and Condo Owners Protect Themselves and Their Investment. In... [read more]