Limits of Democratic Participation in Property Management

  • December 20, 1977
  • • Written by: William D. Sally 

Winter 1977, Vol 2, No 2

Abstract: Despite growing participation by residents in the management of multifamily housing, there are dangers and limitations to be observed. In condominium housing, the community association board tends to over involve residents in management, in the belief that the more democracy there is, the better the condominium will be managed. But this runs counter to the elected board’s own responsibilities and may involve the association in a public shouting match. The board must be aware of when it must act on its own and of when it must seek owner consensus. In rental housing, residents’ participation in management threatens what remains of the property owner’s rights to manage his property. The tenants’ rights movement and the federal government are both abetting this trend. Yet experience shows that tenants, for the most part, are unqualified to manage a multi-million dollar property. Owners can take steps to forestall a tenant quasi-takeover by recognizing sensitive issues. Management must insist on its right to make the final decision.