Category Archives: Board

Condo Owner Harassed by Board President and Other Unit Owners

D.T. from Litchfield County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

How to bring about a board meeting to discuss being harassed by the president of the condo board and other owners?

Mister Condo replies:

D.T., I am sorry that you feel you are being harassed by unit owners or Board members at your association. Typically, you would simply hire your own attorney and bring a lawsuit or criminal charges against the Board members or unit owners that are harassing you. You don’t have the ability to call a Board meeting but you could attend an upcoming Board meeting and ask that the issue be addressed by the Board. The Board does not have the ability to intervene on legal matters. In other words, if your attorney thinks you have a case for harassment, the matter is settled through legal channels, not community association governance. I hope you have a positive outcome. Good luck!

Can Condo Owner Park in Guest Parking Space?

R.C. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Each building has 36 tenants. Each owner has their own parking space. We also have guest spots. One owner has a spot they don’t like and parked in a guest spot nearer to them. Is there a rule against that? Thanks

Mister Condo replies:

R.C., you tell me! Is there a rule against that? A simple examination of your condo’s governing documents will tell you who can use the guest parking spaces. Typically, the spaces are reserved for guests but many condo documents say nothing about who can or can’t park there. In other words, if there are no rules about how the community association-owned parking lots are used, there may be no issue with your neighbor parking there. On the other hand, if there are rules or the Board decides to create rules about how the spaces are used, it is possible that neither he nor any other resident will be allowed use of these spaces. It seems to me that they were intended to be used as guest parking spaces and that is likely their best use. Good luck!

Current Condo Owner Cited for Previous Owner’s Unapproved Modification

J.F. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I’ve owned my condo for nearly three years. I have put it on the market attempting to sell it. After posting it online, the condo company contacted me stating that my in-suite washer/dryer was never approved by the condo board (it was installed by previous owners). I was not aware of this at the time I purchased the condo. They are saying that I need to have an inspection (at my cost) to insure that it is vented correctly and to obtain signed papers stating the same to present to the board. If it is not vented properly (which I think might be the case), they told me that I need to have them removed and pay for any damage it caused to the building. I don’t think this is my responsibility as I was not made aware of any of this when I bought the condo. The condo company claims they have no record of this and no record of any of the previous owners and that it is my responsibility to find the previous owners. I hardly feel that any of this my responsibility. The realtors I bought the condo with have not been helpful in getting information on previous owners. My condo is currently on the market so I want to get this cleaned up as quickly as possible so as not to deter potential buyers. Shall I get a lawyer involved?

Mister Condo replies:

J.F., I am sorry to say that you are likely on the hook for this previous owner’s unapproved washer/dryer installation, regardless of your lack of knowledge. You are the owner of record when the violation was cited and, as such, you are the person who needs to put your unit back in conformance with the association. You may have a case to sue the previous owner for making an unapproved modification to their unit but that is likely going to be a futile effort. I’d rather see you focus your resources on getting your unit in compliance as quickly as possible so that you can make an unencumbered sale to a new owner. I can’t imagine that this process is going to be terribly expensive but, nevertheless, if you think you can track down a previous owner and bring a suit against them for your damages, I wouldn’t discourage you as long as there was enough money at risk to make it worth your while. Otherwise, follow the association’s instructions for putting your unit in compliance, make your sale, and move on. All the best!

Unwanted Wildlife in the Condo Attic!

E.B. from Tolland county writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I live in a free-standing 55 and over condo unit and think we may have birds, mice or bats in our attic. For the past 5 or 6 weeks, my cats have been constantly looking at the ceiling, both from the floor and from the tops of furniture. I’ve visually checked the attic by standing on a ladder placed through the access panel on 3 occasions but have not seen anything. I also threw moth balls around but that hasn’t seemed to help. I haven’t crawled around to check more closely such as around the perimeter and under the insulation but at 73 years old, I don’t think it would be very safe to do so. I would like to have a professional check it out and would like to know if it’s my responsibility or the association’s responsibility to do so.

Mister Condo replies:

E.B., I am sorry you have unwanted visitors in your attic. My primary question to you is: who owns the attic? If it is your attic and not connected to your neighbors’ attics as well, it might be you. However, it is not uncommon for the association to own the roof and the attic, which would make the wildlife removal their responsibility. You really need to look at your condo’s governance documents to see who owns the attic. The attic owner is the responsible party and should take immediate steps to remove the creatures. In addition to the noise annoyance, there is a very real danger from animal dropping creating toxic mold. Best to get these critters removed as soon as possible, Good luck!

Condo Roof Access Required for Maintenance

J.H. from Florida writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

What is the Florida law on condominium unlocked or locked roof access? This is not a roof deck this is a roof access for maintenance issues only.

Mister Condo replies:

J.H., I am neither an attorney nor an expert in Florida Community Association laws so I cannot offer you any legal advice here. You should seek out an attorney to get a legal answer to your question. I will say that if the association needs to access your roof for maintenance issues, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t allow them the access. How else could they perform the needed maintenance? While I don’t know what the laws specifically say about allowing access to a maintenance person onto your roof to perform maintenance that benefits you and other association members, if it were me, I would allow the access. All the best!

How to Enforce a Condo Rule Violation

E.P. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

How do I write a letter to a resident about removing commercial vehicles off the condominium grounds? Commercial vehicles are not allowed on property and is indicated in Docs.

Mister Condo replies:

E.P., enforcing the association’s rules about commercial vehicle parking is a simple enough task. It is no different than enforcing any other rule of the association. Typically, a letter is sent to the unit owner describing the complaint against the unit owner and the subsequent rule of the association that was broken. The unit owner is usually summoned to appear before the Board and explain why they broke the rule or deny they broke the rule. Then the Board takes action as outlined in the documents. That is usually a fine for breaking the rule and instructions to the unit owner to please not break the rule again. Alternatively, if it is a first offense, the Board may choose to simply issue a warning. Hope that help. Good luck!

Condo Board Creates Questionable Parking Regulations

R.D. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Does the Board of Directors have the authority to override terms and conditions established in our governing documents with a plan conceived and designed at a board meeting that does not have majority approval from the community residents? They want to impose a parking plan and tow cars w/o stickers, yet the community document section has a section that addresses unit owner rights to an assigned spot and a section that defines the responsibility of that section. Defined responsibility does not include the mandatory uses of a sticker.

Mister Condo replies:

R.D., I understand your concern about the Board making plans to manage the parking areas. And you are right to be concerned about the lack of majority approval from unit owners before making such plans. However, the Board members were democratically elected by the unit owners to act on behalf of the association. Does your association have a problem with parking? Most associations manage their parking carefully as it is typically a precious resource. That doesn’t mean that the Board can simply pass rules without following the rules for making rules. As long as they have adopted the rules in accordance with their powers as outlined in the association’s governance documents, they are well within their rights to do so. Keep in mind that the community association parking areas is one of the biggest challenges faced by Boards. Unit owners, renters, and guests can make a real mess of limited parking. These new rules may be the association’s best chance at managing the chaos and keeping the parking lots under control. Like all new rules, there will be an adjustment period. Hopefully, no vehicles will actually have to be towed for order to be restored and all residents to have use of the association parking. Good luck!

Condo Owner Seeks to Install Solar Panels on Association-Owned Roof

D.E. from Maryland writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I live in a condo in Talbot County, Maryland I made a request for possible installation of Solar Panel on our rear roof which has the best sun. I told them we were having several Solar companies looking at the project and would keep them informed. The next thing I get is a letter from their Attorney stating they own the roof and denied my request. Is there any law that would support me and we would certainly insure our side, etc.. Your knowledge will be appreciated!

Mister Condo replies:

D.E., as you know I am not an attorney nor am I an expert in Maryland community association law. That being said, I am not aware of any law that would allow you as a condo unit owner to install solar panels (or anything else for that matter) on the association-owned roof. Have you asked the Board if the association as a whole would be interested in install solar panels? It is possible that the association could actually make some money on solar panels (after an initial investment) that would benefit all unit owners. However, as an individual owner, it is highly unlikely that you as an individual unit owner can install your own solar panels. All the best!

Poorly Maintained Condo Forces Unit Owner to Lower Selling Price

B.S. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

How do I sell my condo when it hasn’t been kept up by the people who take our condo fees every month? We have a condo repossessed by the bank, people who don’t pay their condo fees for who knows what reason, and in one unit it’s now a rental. Any advice would be helpful.

Mister Condo replies:

B.S., I feel your pain and I am sorry that you have purchased a condo unit in an association that isn’t fulfilling its obligation to upkeep the association. I am guessing that the association upkeep is the tip of the iceberg. As a seller, you will have an additional challenge during the selling process from astute buyers who are likely to notice the lack of proper upkeep. The good news for you is that it may not have too much of an effect on your ability to sell depending on who the buyers are. You may have to lower your price a bit but you may be doing yourself a favor by getting out before the special assessments hit when the avoided upkeep is no longer optional. A roof will fail, siding will fail, parking lots will fail, the list goes on and on. By selling your unit at a discount, you may just be saving yourself from many thousands of dollars in these upcoming expenses. Get out while you can and be open to offers that might not be at the top of the market for similar units in better kept associations. Good luck!

Condo Renter Has Seven Vehicles on Property!

K.L. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Can the condo board make a rule on how many cars a unit can have? A renter has 7 and they say they can’t make a rule!

Mister Condo replies:

K.L., that is a lot of cars for any condo dweller! The association may not be able to make a rule about how many cars any unit owner or renter may own BUT they can certainly make rules about how many vehicles can be stored on association property. Where does this renter keep all of these vehicles? Typically, condo units come with one or two assigned parking spaces and or a garage space. There is also visitor parking in many associations which is typically owned and governed by the Board. I do not know of any associations that allow an unlimited number of vehicles on the common grounds and for good reason. There isn’t enough space! If the association’s governance documents are silent on the use of the association-owned parking lots, it is time to add them. If the association has an attorney, this would be a perfect time to check in with him or her and explain the problem and have him or her draft the resolution so the Board can adopt it. Problem solved. Good luck!