Hello, Brad–about a year ago we revised our policies and implemented a number of new ones on a wide variety of issues. We had a separate committee (they were all board members but this meant board meetings could concentrate on the regular business). The committee drafted the policies and forwarded them to the Board for approval and implementation.
The committee decided that all the policies would follow the same format. The underlying goal was that this should be a positive process–not to make money off fines, or to ‘punish’ people, but to try to change their behaviour in order to ensure the safety and security of all the residents, to protect the common property and to help owners protect their own condo investment, and to make the bylaws clearer and provide necessary details so that everyone can enjoy condo living while respecting their neighbours’ rights.
We also tried to write the policies in plain English and to make them generic, for example, always writing ‘the Board’ or ‘the Corporation’ or ‘the property manager.’
Each policy begins with a short (two sentences at the most) explanation of its PURPOSE, always worded in a positive way. For example, the Pets Policy purpose is: “To maintain the value of the residential units and the common property.”
Next, Section 1 is usually a statement of general principles. Each sentence is numbered 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and so forth, so that there isn’t a blocky paragraph that goes on and on. And don’t subdivide any further (1.1.1, 1.1.2, … this just makes it look messy and the numbering is confusing). If you have a number of things that you want to group–say, in a storage locker policy, use (2.1) and say, “Do not store any of the following items in the storage locker: (use bullet points for each item) Gasoline, propane, paint, dangerous chemicals, biohazardous substances ….
By the way, when you have items in a bullet point list, it’s almost impossible to cover everything. Always leave some breathing room by including a general point at the end of the list (for example, ‘and any other items which may be hazardous or dangerous’). Also include a sentence about contacting the Board if there is a question about a particular item.
Additional sections can address specific issues–for example, the pets policy could have a section on allowing ‘visiting’ animals–that is, animals brought onto the property by visitors, or allowing therapy dogs.
If the policy is about a process–such as moving (into or out of the building)–the sections should follow the process–what to do before the date of the move, then on the date of the move, and then after the move.
The last numbered section (or sections) should contain a clear explanation of the consequences of contravening the policy–which can include fines, charge back or cost recovering for cleaning up messes on the common property (by approved animals AND by unapproved animals).
And at the end of each policy insert a chart of the legislation, bylaws, and other relevant policies or rules–quoting the specific section(s), so that it’s clear how the policy is tied in to the system. The chart should also list if there are any forms in use with the policy.
The most helpful thing I can say is, after writing a draft of a policy, set it aside for at least 48 hours and then come back to it and do some more editing. And after the Board approves the policy, post it on your GeniePad website and give people lots of time ahead of the implementation date.
Donna G on December 07 2017 at 05:20 PM