Condo Board President Targeting Unit Dog Owners

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W.N. from New Haven County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Hello, the board president is on a pretty serious power trip. He has been abusing powers, bullying, and all that good stuff. He is very anti-dog and has been creating/changing rules and bylaws based on personal interests. But long story short, can they tell us dog owners where we can or can’t walk within the association? Dogs on leashes is reasonable; pick up droppings is reasonable; but can we legally be fined for not walking on the outside perimeter adjacent to very busy road? It doesn’t seem right or fair. We have a list of 25+ owners who want him impeached. Is that enough? 20 units, each unit has 8 families, small % of renters. Please advise…

Mister Condo replies:

W.N., since you did not detail what other power abuses or bullying is going on at your association, let me address your first concern which is enforcement and adoption of rules regarding pets and their use of the common grounds. Your governance documents outline the procedure for modifying or adopting new rules. Generally speaking, your association by-laws very likely outline the number of pets and where or where not they can be walked on association grounds. You by-laws also clearly spell out how directors are elected and what powers they have to modify or adopt new rules. As long as the Board took the appropriate steps in modifying or adopting new rules for where pets can be walked, then the new rules should be obeyed until such time as they can be overturned. Failure to observe the rules can result in being summoned before the Board and/or fines if it is deemed that the rules were broken.

If your association is truly 20 units in size, then it should be rather simple to elect leaders who are more dog friendly. You can do this at your next annual election, or if you feel there is reason enough to do so, at a special election called by the unit owners to remove the Board President. Again, your condo governance documents describe in detail the process for doing this. A special meeting of the unit owners is called and if there are enough votes to remove a director, the director is removed and a new election is held.

If your association is 20 buildings that each house 8 units for a total of 160 units, then it would appear you do not have nearly enough votes for a recall or a special election. In that case, round up some new candidates and be ready to elect them to office at the next election. Also, write to the Board and show them all of the signatures you have from disgruntled unit owners who would like to see the rules changed for pet walking.

Condominiums are democratic places. Unit owners elect the leaders and unit owner can vote out of office anyone who isn’t cutting mustard. It seems to me that you have elected a leader who is out of touch with his fellow unit owners. The remedy, while not instantaneous, is simple enough. All the best!

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