J.C. from Massachusetts writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Can condo board issue fines without a warning first?
Mister Condo replies:
J.C., that depends on two things. What do the by-laws state? What do the state laws state? In Connecticut, where I live, the Board is required by law under the Common Interest Ownership Act (CIOA) to issue a warning first and offer a meeting with the unit owner to discuss the rule breaking. After those two things are done, the Board is free to follow its own rules about issuing fines. I do not believe you have the same law in Massachusetts but the Board is still very much limited in how and when they issue fines. Also, they must be consistent. In other words, if you park where you shouldn’t and get a fine, so should everyone else who parks where they shouldn’t. No single unit owner should be singled out and fined for a particular behavior while other unit owners behave the same and are not fined. That would open the Board to charges of discrimination. Massachusetts Community Association Attorney Mark Einhorn of Marcuse, Erico, Emmer, Brooks, P.C. has written an interesting piece about the subject at http://meeb.com/rules-enforcement-should-be-consistent-but-not-inflexible/ that I highly recommend you review. Good luck!