D.C. from New Haven County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Our property is in the process of being sided. One of the members of the Board of Directors lives with her boyfriend who is not on the deed. For the last 4 years, 80% of the units sided are still unfinished (rotted decks, fencing, no gutters, etc.). Last year, this board member’s building was sided. She had all of the work done. Her unit is pristine. They also gave her a second deck to replace the one installed by the previous owner. The property manager is at or in her home on a daily basis. He is always hanging out with the boyfriend. The boyfriend is at meetings and allowed to speak. At the recent election she was re-elected by a point. The condo manager was at the meeting handling proxies. There seems to be impropriety here. What can we do?
Mister Condo replies:
D.C., stories like yours are all too common in many condominium and community associations. Impropriety cannot usually be proved so it is assumed. Maybe there is some monkey business going on and maybe there isn’t. The bottom line is that the work that was supposed to be done for the entire association isn’t getting done in timely fashion. The fact that a Board member’s unit was taken care of before others is unfortunate but not criminal. If you feel the property manager threw the vote but you have no proof, you have no case.
So let’s talk about what you can do. Elections are at the heart of any condo association so take a look at your by-laws and determine if the proxies were issued properly and handled correctly. Does it state who counts the votes? If not, demand that an impartial counter be hired to count future ballots. That way the property manager cannot be accused of throwing the vote. Also, be sure to nominate candidates that will beat this Board member who you have brought under question. If you cannot defeat this person in an open election then you will have to accept the wisdom of the electorate.
As for the work that has not been completed it may be time to take action. Has the work already been paid for? Has an explanation been offered for why the work has stopped or been delayed? You have the right to these answers from your property manager and/or your Board. If you can’t get the answers you seek and you have 80% of residents effected, I’d say it’s time to vote out the whole Board and put some people in charge who care about the rest of the community and will communicate better with all unit owners. Good governance does not allow for 80% of the units to lie in disrepair for 4 years unless there are underlying factors (lawsuits, no money, etc.). Whatever the reason you and your fellow unit owners deserve an explanation. Best wishes!