L.Z. from New London County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I own a condo in Connecticut where 100 units are spread out over some 60 acres. It is a quiet, well-manicured, and well maintained complex. A unit owner that moved in 2 units away from me has our area in a state of disbelief with how one person can cause so much conflict. There are about 12 notable incidents over the past 2 years a few of the closer neighbors have had with her, even to the point where the police have been involved. The board members say they sympathize with us and in fact for the amount of grief she has caused us as individuals they to have their own problems with her. They say sorry but someone’s sanity is not a problem they as a board have jurisdiction over.
My question is are there not any measures that can be exercised against her. The police say we have to wait for her to threaten or harm someone for them to get involved. The board says she is a unit owner and has not actually violated any by-laws.
Mister Condo replies:
L.Z., I am truly sorry for the anguish you and your neighbors are experiencing at the hands of this one contentious unit owner. It is not an uncommon story and your Board is quite likely right in that there is little to nothing they can do if the unit owner is not violating association rules of conduct. Think about it for a moment and it makes perfect sense. As an American citizen you have the right to be as ornery and unpleasant as you would like to be. There are no laws about being pleasant or easy to get along with. It looks like your association has found someone who wishes to exercise that right quite often. My advice is to simply ignore that person and go about your business as if they don’t exist. Of course, keep the local police phone number on speed dial in case laws are violated. The police, not the Board, are your first line of defense when the laws are being broken. Crime should always be reported to the police. By-law violations should always be reported to the Board or Property Manager so corrective measures (fines, citations) can be taken. However, be sure you are not singling this person out for such violations. If you do, your association could find itself defending against a discrimination lawsuit. So be careful and be grateful you and your neighbors have not chosen to lead the same life as this person. Hopefully, she will leave your community and a better neighbor will replace her. Condo living isn’t for everyone and the tightness of the quarters can make neighbors best friends or enemies. I recommend kindness when possible and legal action when necessary. Good luck!