25-Year-Old Condo Garage Rack No Longer Allowed

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K.P. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

My overhead garage storage rack was installed 25+ years in accordance with the then-current Rules and Regulations. Two years ago, the Board of Directors changed the R&R which now state said racks are no longer allowed. This week a notice was posted in my hall saying my rack must be removed or I will be fined. Since 20+ years of inspections by fire department, Boards, property managers, insurance people have never before mentioned an issue with this rack, shouldn’t allowance be “grandfathered in”? How can current Board decide to now overturn so many years of Rules with no safety threat? Shouldn’t these Rules pertain to going forward and not back 20+ years? Thanks.

Mister Condo replies:

K.P., I am sorry you find yourself at odds with your Board. Since I don’t know exactly which state you live in and since I am not an attorney, I would think you might want to have a quick chat with a locally qualified legal professional who could give you a quick synopsis on how the law reads in your state. From a pure governance standpoint, the democratically elected Board is in control of the Rules and Regulations and are free to modify them as they see fit, provided they follow the proper guidelines for doing so. Assuming they did properly adopt the new regulation and proper notice was served (you mentioned that the rule change occurred two years ago), then unit owners are bound by the new regulation provided state law doesn’t trump the change to the regulation. Technically, even though the garage storage rack was in plain sight and passed inspections for the past 25+ years, the rule has only been in place for two years, which would put the Board’s enforcement of said rule well within most state statutes. The real question is whether or not your garage rack is “grandfathered” and my best guess is that it isn’t unless they passed the regulation in such a way as to offer “grandfathering” for preexisting units. Have you asked what the reason was for changing the rule? Did one fail and cause a problem? Did the association’s insurer come in and claim they wouldn’t cover losses incurred by faulty garage racks? You may also be able to petition the Board and ask for an exception as your unit has been functioning fine and was previously in line with community association regulations. I sense your frustration, K.P., but my best advice is to find another storage alternative that doesn’t conflict with the regulation. Good luck!

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