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  • How to Deal with Diva Contractors

    January 17, 2016
  • Most condominium associations have a go-to contractor for maintenance and other handyman type jobs. Chances are good that this person does a quality job, is responsible, respectful, and friendly…which is why your association keeps them around for nearly everything.

    And because this person does nearly all the maintenance and repair work on your building, they know every detail and history, making them seem like a true expert.

    However, there will come a time when your building needs the type of repair that should only be performed by a highly skilled contractor (a real expert). Without the right team in place to manage this type of situation, you may end up with a clash of personalities that gets in the way of the work being done right, and in a timely fashion.

    Here’s a common example: during the holidays, many condominium buildings and communities put up holiday lights, which can overload electrical circuits and cause outages. Nobody wants their lights to go out at such a special time of year, but this type of problem should be addressed by a master electrician, not your go-to handyman.

    The electrician is used to full autonomy when working on projects like these, and as a result, refuses to take input from the maintenance contractor who is intimately familiar with the entire building’s electrical systems. Time goes on, residents get frustrated, and the board looks to its property management company to solve the problem.

    Alternatively, you might have a maintenance contractor who gets jealous when the board brings in a friendly, responsible master electrician, and refuses to share their intimate knowledge of the building’s electrical systems, with the intent of shooing the master electrician away and getting to fix the job on their own.

    Neither situation is a good one, and that’s where your property management company can help. If you ever find yourself dealing with a diva contractor, here’s what to do:

    1. Talk to your property management company about the problem. Don’t point fingers or complain about either contractor, just lay out the situation.
    2. Your property management company’s primary job is to bring in the right people for the job, manage conflict, and get things resolved as quickly as possible. Their knowledge of the property, its history, and personality, will be useful in determining the best course of action.
    3. Reassure your maintenance contractor of their importance and how much you appreciate the work they do. Remember to focus on the goal, which is to resolve the issue at hand and keep the residents happy.
    4. Try to isolate where the communication breakdown is happening. Your property manager will do this as well, but if you can help, and pass along your information to them, things will go quicker. Once you do, step out of the way and let them resolve the situation.

    Remember, your property manager’s responsibility is to keep things running smoothly so your residents stay happy, and the property doesn’t fall into disrepair. The more familiar they are with your building and association, the more smoothly situations like diva contractors can be resolved.