Monthly Archives: March 2017

HOA Tows Handicapped Car without Association Placard from Handicapped Parking

J.P. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Our HOA assigns each unit 2 parking tags. All of the parking spots in our lot are unassigned and up for grabs, provided the car displays our HOA parking tag. We have 3 handicapped spots in our parking lots. We have a security company that tows cars parked in the lot without an HOA tag. Recently, they towed a car parked in a handicap space that was displaying a handicap placard, but did not have an HOA tag. Should cars parking in the handicap spaces have to display HOA tags just like all other residents?

Mister Condo replies:

J.P., if you read my column regularly, you probably know what I am going to say. The HOA typically owns the parking lots at condos and HOAs. That means the Board of Directors governs how these lots are used. If the rules state that only vehicles with HOA placards are allowed in the parking lots, then that is the rule. As long as they follow local and state law, enforcement is at their discretion. Towing a handicapped person’s car is about as dastardly a deed I can think of but this isn’t a popularity contest. The HOA needs to protect itself from others parking on the common grounds who just don’t belong there. It’s bad form to tow a handicapped person’s vehicle and the local news station, newspaper, or Facebook page will likely have a field day painting the HOA as evil but I don’t think they have done anything wrong, just ill-advised. While I would continue towing unmarked cars from the general spaces, I think I would advise a “warn first, tow second” policy towards the designated handicapped spaces. All the best!

Unit Owner Contractor Damages Condo’s Common Grounds

L.E. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Our association has sustained property damage by outside vendors hired by our association owners to perform work inside their units. Would the association be allowed to charge outside vendors a yearly parking fee to come on to the property to help recover some of those damages?

Mister Condo replies:

L.E., I am sorry your common grounds have been damaged, regardless of the cause. Your by-laws very likely prohibit any commercial vehicles on the property without the express consent of the Board. If an individual unit owner caused commercial vehicles on the common area and those vehicles caused damage to the common grounds, then it is very likely that the unit owner who hired those contractors can be held accountable for the damage done by their vehicles. That unit owner may be able to go after the contractor for the financial loss as well but that is not your concern. The association has rights against any unit owner who damages common grounds. Check your by-laws, speak with the association attorney if necessary, and assess the cost of repair from the damage to the unit owner whose contractor caused it. Good luck!

Repeated Leaks from Neglected Condo Caulking Maintenance

S.B. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Last year, I had water damage to my floors from the outside balcony. The Property Manager said to call my insurer, which I did at my expense. This year two new leaks from the outside of building front to inside my bedroom, had to put towels and bucket to catch water. Custodian came and said gasket was off and the caulking had not been done in years. I told the manager, her boss, and all of the board members via emails (many emails to plead my valid case, not any answers to date) about problem. Caulking man came took pictures and they now have a price to fix it and still no one has talked to me as to when it will all get fixed?? It’s almost a month now without anyone making plans to fix it. What can I do to get them to fix it now? A small leak unfixed will surely grow into a bigger mess and I cannot keep going back to my insurance company. Please advise ASAP. I am very concerned and thank you in advance.

Mister Condo replies:

S.B., preventable damage like what you have described is always a head-shaker for me. However, you have done what you are supposed to do and now it is up to the Board and the Property Management company to follow through and see that the repairs get done. One of the issues that usually comes into play in situations like this is bureaucracy. The Property Manager can only authorize work that the Board has approved and is willing to pay for. Tight budgets, lack of common fees collection, and more can lead to the Board deciding to delay a repair until there is money to pay for it. Also, if the Board meets infrequently (once per quarter, every other month) many months can go by between a problem being reported and a repair being performed. There isn’t too much you can do about that. Ultimately, the Board is made up of volunteer members from within your association. If you don’t think they are getting the job done, it is time for some new volunteers. Perhaps you would consider running for the Board and volunteering your time to help guide the community? All the best!