Meet Cristian Cojanu: A property manager turning around mismanaged condos

We interviewed Cristian Cojanu who founded Gestion Immeuble Élégance, a top-rated condo management company in Montreal specializing in buildings with 100+ units.

Meet Cristian Cojanu: A property manager turning around mismanaged condos
Cristian is the founder of Gestion Immeuble Élégance, a condo management company in Montreal. 

At Propty, we’re always hunting for the best property managers as their insightful stories always challenge our views of what is a great property manager.

Our assessment is based on our circle of recommendations from the Propty community and whispers from the industry in general. Because you know, words travel, especially in the world of condos.

A trained and attentive property manager can make the difference between a high-functioning board and one that is constantly putting out fires.

Cristian is known for his patience and for taking the time to listen to board members and residents. In his own words, building a strong team to manage his fleet of thousands of units has been a pillar of his success.

With a role that requires an à la carte set of skills including project, risk and asset management, being a property manager is far from easy, especially when it comes to condo buildings.

We were lucky to find some time out of Cristian’s busy schedule and ask him a few questions about what he does differently.

How did you become a property manager?

It all started when I bought my first condo and started paying the condo fees. I observed how my board had a hard time managing the building and it frankly pushed me to take the matter into my own hands.

With my background in administration, I joined my syndicate’s board and started to oversee our community of 214 units.

Optimizing our budget while dealing with the community sparked a love for property management. This further gave me the idea to pursue this as a career, starting as an independent property manager.

In 2014, after much learning in the industry, I decided to take my operations to the next level and founded my own property management company. Just like that, Gestion Elegance was born.

Tell us about your team and how you’re able to accommodate such large buildings.

At Gestion Elegance, we built a team of specialists and not generalists. This means we have our own team of engineers, concierge personnel, accountants and licensed property managers who are available when we need them.

Our property managers are all certified in the administration of condo buildings, something that in my opinion should be the norm for any property manager.

This means that whenever there is an urgent problem, not only can we address it in the best way possible but my team is looking into the issue immediately.

What type of condo buildings do you serve?

We are specialized in buildings with over 100 units and also luxury buildings.

We’re focused on the larger associations that require expertise in many different domains and this global knowledge in property management is how we take te load off the syndicates we serve.

What makes you a great property manager?

Asset and Inventory management are some of the specialties we excel at.

We track and manage each asset to make sure a proper maintenance schedule is planned. We act proactively and know the state of our equipment at all times as we produce extensive maintenance documentation.

Another thing is that we love to communicate. Residents see us, hear from us and most importantly are always certain that we are here to help. At Gestion elegance, our fast response rate is something I am extremely proud of.

Do you have a horror story that you would like to share with us?

This story still has a bitter taste because of the damages it inflicted but also the span of stakeholders it affected, from the association to insurers all the way to every condo owner. At the same time, it’s a great lesson for everyone responsible to manage a condo association.

In 2017, one of the water sprinklers on the 8th floor of a condo building exploded and damaged more than 14 units in the building including the common spaces.

The board shockingly received an invoice of more than $1M dollars once the repairs were completed.

The following year, we were assigned as the new property manager and started our due diligence as part of our onboarding process. After just a few months, we found out that the syndicate had 3 ongoing lawsuits totalling millions of dollars.

After further analysis, we found that the former property manager assigned a supplier to do the repairs without a prior estimation or any quote haunting. This supplier hired a subcontractor who also hired a 2nd subcontractor who then hired a 3rd  and 4th subcontractor. This malpractice resulted in cumulative and duplicate fees of over $1M.

In the end, we were relieved to have the situation mostly resolved by the condo insurer but we had to sacrifice hundreds of hours on this specific issue. This is one of these times where you simply wished you had been contacted sooner.

What do you recommend to condo board members when choosing a property manager?

Hiring a property manager will help alleviate the risk associated with managing a large condo association, which is what property managers owe to the communities they serve.

As for advice, here are a few I believe every board member should know:

  • To always respect the Board of Directors as the executive body of the syndicate
  • Work always in the interest of the syndicate and its co-owners
  • Always review contracts and clauses before signing them
  • Always seek multiple quotes from different suppliers for the same job
  • Always hire certified property managers with a stellar track record managing communities similar to yours

About Gestion Elegance:

  • Name: Gestion Immeubles Élégance Inc.
  • Contact Name: M. Cristian Cojanu
  • Sector: Large condo associations: 150+
  • Area: Montreal Island
  • Phone number: 514-838-1191
  • Specialty: Management and Conciergerie
  • Email: cristianc@gestionelegance.com
  • Adresse: 1805, Sauvé Ouest, bureau 302, Montréal, H4N 3B8, Québec

About Propty:

Propty is a simple property management software that helps property managers operate properties more efficiently including HOA, Co-op, condo, multi-family, student housing, and self-storage while giving the best experience to owners and tenants.