M.M. from Middlesex County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Can the association charge me for landscaping fines and, also, for putting in window air conditioner when I was originally told they were allowed?
Mister Condo replies:
M.M., I am sorry for your problems. It sounds like there has been a failure of communication between you and your association. Unfortunately, it is not all that uncommon. I am not sure what you mean by landscaping fines but if you altered or violated a landscaping rule, you may be subject to a fine. Were you initially given notice or a warning that you were in violation of a rule? Were you asked to appear before the Board to explain the violation? If not, you may have a case for not being subject to the fine. As for the window air conditioner, that is another story. Do any other units in your condo have window air conditioners? If so, then your condo allows air conditioners or has a plan in place for owners to ask to install association-approved air conditioners. If no other unit in your complex has a window air conditioner, then it is most likely not allowed. If you haven’t already done so, consult your by-laws to see what, if anything, is stated with regards to window air conditioners. In my experience, most condos do not allow them. I am not sure who told you that it would be alright to install one but that person may have been mistaken. Even if that person was a member of the Board, they likely didn’t have the right to overrule an association rule on the use of window air conditioners. For future reference, always ask in writing and wait for an answer in writing when contemplating any upgrade to your unit that might be considered questionable in the eyes of the association. Otherwise, you may get into a “he said, she said” type situation which can cause exactly this type of problem. Good luck!