B.L. from Fairfield County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I was sent to 2 foreclosures for inaccuracies by the Property Management Company yet I have never owed one dollar for common expenses. The property manager and Board took my parking space. In more than 20 years living in my condo, my unit door has never been painted. They towed my car from the parking space in front of the building (common spaces) the same week. I was parked there for 10 minutes. They did not give me any notification, warning or hearing. Without parking space I had to park on front of the building, but got more than 2 thousand dollars in tickets from the Property Manager. There have been many abuses and harassment so I sued. I am a plaintiff on a docket and I need a good attorney. I have proof of everything. Could you recommended an attorney and give me advice? Thank you for understanding my English.
Mister Condo replies:
B.L., from what you have told me, you were right to bring suit against those who have wronged you. I am not an attorney so please consider my advice as friendly and not legal. You most certainly should seek competent legal advice and quickly. Most certainly, the folks you have named in the suit will do the same and you want to make sure the justice system works correctly for you.
As friendly advice, let me start by saying there is clearly a major communication problem here. Property Managers rarely take measures as drastic as foreclosures without good reason. Even if the reason is an accounting inaccuracy as you allege, you should have been given ample opportunity to present evidence (copies of checks, bank statements) that showed you were not delinquent in your common fee or assessment payments. Do you live in the condominium unit and receive mail from there? Has there never been any attempt prior to this to collect the monies the association felt it was owed? My guess is that these requests for documentation went unanswered leaving the association and property manager with no choice but to take legal action against you. Fear not, all is not lost.
First and foremost, get the financial end of this problem taken care of as quickly as possible. An attorney may be the best resource to guide you through this process. Please understand that the association does have the right to foreclose on your unit for the reason of unpaid assessments. If you have a first or second mortgage on the property, your mortgage company may also foreclose against you or, at the very least, be a part of the foreclosure action so that they get as much of their money back during the foreclosure process as possible. Additionally, the foreclosure may appear on your credit report which could be a burden for you to carry for years to come. Please, get this taken care of immediately.
Next, comes the issue of abuse and harassment. Again, you need to speak with an attorney about these issues but, once again, it would appear that there has been a communication problem on top of some governance issues. You have rights as outlined in your condominium documents, as well as State, and Federal law. Your lawsuit against the association should include all of these issues and you may be entitled to financial relief or a judgment against the association. Your attorney will best advise you of these rights.
As for which attorney will best serve your needs, I have a few suggestions. Attorneys that specialize in community association law can be found at the CAI Connecticut website at http://www.caict.org/?page=Directory#Attorneys – Individual. I would definitely start there. As for the harassment charges, you may wish to seek out a local attorney with expertise in such areas. A quick internet search on Google brought up several likely candidates but I have no personal recommendation for you. I do wish you the best of luck in clearing up this matter and getting back to enjoying your condominium in peaceable fashion. Good luck!