Fast 4: Unify Your Condominium IT

broken laptop

Image courtesy of ph0rk on Flickr

Like many other small and medium size businesses, condominium associations have to have some sort of information technology infrastructure to manage and maintain their property. There are many different options for property management software out there, but today we’ll focus on a few key steps your organization can take to unify, simplify, and protect your IT infrastructure. Years ago most organizations were looking at mostly paper documentation and record keeping, with an odd laptop or desktop kicking around for printing or email. Now with the prevalence of cloud based services and associated integration methods, it might be  time your organization took IT seriously in 2013.


  1. Backup your data. It can not be stated enough. Every organization, big and small, needs at least some semblance of a regular, scheduled, backup strategy. It could be as simple as signing up for a account, which offers Dropbox simplicity with encrypted file storage and unified administration from virtually any device. Another easy option is to purchase an external hard drive from any electronics store and doing regular backups with the software built into most reasonably modern computers. These stores are vital for disaster recovery, such as cases where a computer crashes or records are damaged in extreme weather. By having a second, off site copy, your association can reduce its liability for loosing critical documents, like founding and guiding paperwork, contracts, financial records, and meeting minutes.
  2. Embrace BYOD. By embracing bring-your-own-device (BYOD), associations can minimize hardware expenditures by utilizing devices trustees already own, whether that is a laptop or an iPad. Using these in conjunction with cloud based software makes the most sense, especially when it comes to document management and reporting.
  3. Associate with your association. There are dozens of pre-fab portals and communities that your association can take advantage of to connect and converse with your neighbors in a constructive manner. While they can’t be used for all communication (some statues require residents be notified in writing) they can help foster a sense of community in between quarterly socials.  If you’re not feeling up to tacking community management, at least create a Facebook Group that you can brand & moderate, with some incentives to get residents to join in and contribute.
  4. Invest in documentation. If you’re not willing to completely overhaul your IT infrastructure, that’s ok. But at least make sure that there is ample & accurate documentation of proprietary systems, credentials, and contractors or professionals you can call if you’re stuck without access to the previous president’s email.

Breeding Tensions in Massachusetts Condominiums


Image courtesy of Edward Simpson

Massachusetts initial foray into breed specific ordinances can be attributed to several enacted by the city of Lynn, MA in the 1980s. Several years later, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court reviewed the ordinances and noted that the existing law was subjective in nature and relied on dog officers unrestricted discretion in dealing with potential violations. Since then, most breed based legislation has relied on standards set by the American Kennel Club to legally identify breeds in lieu of proper documentation. What does this have to do with condominiums?

Massachusetts recently amended M.G.L c. 140, Section 157, which formerly permitted breed based local restrictions. With the provision repealed, some trustees have been asking themselves if this invalidates breed based clauses in their current Master Deed. The good news is that it doesn’t. Section 157 only deals with regulations on the state, county, and city level. Condominiums are considered private property, and can set their own rules and regulations concerning everything from smoking to pet ownership. As long as an association has adopted breed specific by-laws and such are recorded in the Master Deed, it is free to restrict dogs based on breed.