Category Archives: Retirement

use for retirement matters

When an Association Owns a Building, Who’s In Charge?

Condominium – An apartment building in which the apartments are owned individually. – American Heritage Dictionary

Okay, but who’s in charge? Who’s responsible for the upkeep of a condominium building and for the safety of the “owners” who have apartments therein. In all fairness, who was in charge, or should have been, at the Champlain Towers South condo association before part of the building collapsed into deadly rubble in Surfside, Florida?

The condo building’s setting on the Florida shore made it especially vulnerable to erosion and other environmental factors.

“I’ve seen up and down the coast hundreds of buildings where you have concrete problems,” said Greg Batista, a specialist in concrete repair projects quoted by CNN. . “If not maintained, whether it’s a concrete problem or a settling problem, it could be a bridge, it could be a building, it could be a dam or a sea wall — these kinds of things happen if not tended to.”

But who should have been seeing that the condo building’s condition was being tended to in a timely, effective manner? CNN noted that the condo owners “were facing $15 million worth of repairs”. These, of course, are merely rhetorical questions at this point in the collapse that apparently took more than 150 lives early one morning.  But they are questions that matter, deeply so.

Settings For Fairness, and Their Challenges

Fairness involves toleration, the ability to step back and ask, “What’s really going on here?” What may seem strange or unfamiliar, or uncalled for, from your own experience might seem fresh and entirely worthwhile to someone new to the same setting.

Retirement communities are a good example. As you become a longer term resident of one, your own perceptions and needs don’t change as much as those of newer people moving in. And the community’s management needs to respond to the expectations of its new residents, not only those who have been around for a while.

That’s not unfair, simply realistic. Not so endurable, perhaps, but a reflection of how experiences and expectations change over time. A community’s management needs to keep up with them or be left without enough new members.

It’s not a question of whether the new setting is fair or not , so long as management has planned ahead and saved up for the new building or accommodations that may be involved.  The costs deemed necessary to attract a “new generation” ought not be hung on those already on hand.

Provided that’s so, sit back, welcome and engage with the newcomers. This applies, of course, in settings beyond retirement communities. People grow up with different experiences and expectations, yet we have all to get along and be sufficiently understood to be companionable. And that, as we’ve said, involves toleration.

Transfer this principle to a national community, and seek to adapt it to the politics of those elected to run it, and the challenge becomes much more complex. We all grow up, but we don’t grow up in the same settings, or with the same advantages. We need to understand our differences as much as we embrace our similarities. And, sometimes,  differences tend to outweigh everything else.

It can get to be, almost, like running a pushcart on the street and making decisions high in the skyscraper behind it. That’s a long way to reach for accommodation, but it has to be attempted.  That’s how we’ll all get along, and the truly fair way to proceed.   Easy?  Maybe not. But necessary, yes.

We’re all human, but we all have had different experiences. That’s a truism,  but It matters.