Phantom Condo Board

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D.M. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Our condo has more “lock and leave” owners and investors than residents. Our Property Manager is pretty slick at coming up with excuses that are blatant lies and puts out Board Minutes with these things in writing. Somehow we get a quorum to hold an annual meeting but it’s pretty tough to get a new board elected. Other than move, do you have any advice on how to handle the lying? Should I call out or keep quiet?

Mister Condo replies:

D.M., I guess my answer would depend on what you perceive as the problem. Does the condo look good? Is it well run? Are the Reserves being funded? Are the common fees going where they are supposed to? If the answer is “yes” to all these questions, there may not be a problem for you to call out even though it would appear you are not thinking the condo is being governed properly. Regardless of how “slick” you think your Property Manager is, this person reports to and works for the Board. The Property Manager may be delivering the Minutes but they must be reviewed and accepted by all Board Members and signed off on before being distributed to unit owners like yourself. The Minutes reflect votes taken by the Board. If they are being fabricated, then there are laws being broken. Again, if you suspect criminal activity, you might want to take action. The underlying question is how much risk is this behavior putting you at? Condo associations are businesses and the unit owners are shareholders with financial responsibility to the creditors of the business. If the Board is truly a phantom Board and no one other than the Property Manager is minding the association’s business, it is time to call a foul or get out. You could easily find yourself on the hook for a lot of money simply by owning a unit in such a complex. On the other hand, if everything is running smoothly and you are enjoying your unit, you might just wish to keep things as they are. Good luck!

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