C.P. from Tennessee writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Mr. Condo, thank you so much for responding to me. I have already tried just about everything but hiring a lawyer. I joined a bylaws committee (the only committee we have which is dead now). We have studied our documents frontwards and backwards, along with TN law in the annotated codes. When we asked the Board to meet with us so we could all go over our findings they refused. They will not even talk to us. That is really frustrating. I have sent them so much information but I don’t think they even read it. They talk to us as though they know everything and the rest of us are idiots. It is humiliating and so wrong. We have decided to try and get more people involved so we can stop some of the nonsense. They also want us all to pay for extra parking pads and told them we never got to vote on that and they can’t change a common area without a percentage of people agreeing but they just ignore me. And now they passed an amendment so they get paid, so they are not volunteers. It really is awful to be treated so badly, especially when you’re almost 70 and don’t deserve this kind of treatment. Thanks for your help. Appreciate just being able to be heard, and appreciate any other help you can suggest. I did talk to someone in our state government offices and he said I am right and to keep trying. It’s awful to think we will have to hire a lawyer just to get them to do things legally. Sorry to go on so much. Thanks again.
*** (Editor’s Note: This follow up question is in reference to the original post http://askmistercondo.com/volunteer-condo-leader-issues-in-volunteer-state/)
Mister Condo replies:
C.P., you are most welcome for my original advice and you are also welcome in advance for what I am about to suggest. I am not certain of the laws in your state but most states prohibit volunteer Board members from receiving any type of pay for their volunteer service to the Board. It completely violates the nature of volunteerism to be paid for services rendered to the association to which they belong.
Hiring an attorney makes perfect sense when either your rights or your pocketbook are being abused. Though not insignificant, the amount spent on counsel will come back to you many times over in the money and time you will save by having a legal professional drive this process. There are times when the simple act of having an attorney contact the Board will get the Board’s attention and get them to behave properly. From what you have described to me, I would not hesitate to hire an attorney and take action.
You may end up suing the current Board but you will protect the rights of all of the affected homeowners. Of course, it goes without saying that you and your neighbors need to vote better volunteers into office and be sure to vote out the volunteers who have misbehaved. Your condo association is a democratic organization and your vote is your voice in electing leaders that will best represent the interests of the community members. From what you have told me, you and your fellow unit owners who have spent time analyzing your condo documents are very likely contenders for service on the Board. Be sure to nominate right-minded folks and take back control of your association.
Of course, I still strongly recommend you get in touch with your local chapter of CAI at http://www.caitenn.org/contact.html. You don’t need to go this alone and you have local resources to assist you. I look forward to hearing from you again when this ugliness is behind you. Good luck.