B.H. from Sarasota County, Florida writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Our condo has a rule on the documents that states each unit owner shall maintain his unit, and especially the exterior of his unit, in a clean and orderly manner, and in a manner which will not be offensive to any other unit owner. We each have a small courtyard that we are responsible to maintain. I have verification in writing from the president that the court yard would be part of the exterior. This is my gripe, we have a majority of snowbirds in the complex and on the board, who do not have anyone deal with the weeds in their courtyards while they are north for 6 months. As you know during rainy season here weeds grow! I have been told in writing that the board has discussed this and the snowbirds will take care of it when they get back. The weeds in my neighbor’s courtyard are now over the concert wall (4 ft.) surrounding the courtyard and it sure is offensive to me! Does this qualify as selective enforcement? In season someone from the board goes around and checks courtyards to make sure they are being properly maintained but during season we year-round residents have to look at the snowbird’s weeds!
Mister Condo replies:
B.H., assigning maintenance of any common area to unit owners will always lead to the type of problem you are describing here. Condo owners often own condos for the simple fact that the common areas are typically maintained for them. Your snowbird example is a prime reason that the association should be responsible for the upkeep of common areas. It is as simple as asking the Board to amend the by-laws to include the upkeep of common areas as an association expense. This may create a new expense for the association seeing as they haven’t paid for it before and you should expect a modest increase to common fees to cover that expense but it will solve the problem and provide all unit owners with maximum curb appeal and visual appeal throughout the year, regardless of where the snowbirds are at that time. Good luck!