P.E. from Hartford County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
A contractor was hired to install a roof shared by 2 Associations. Problem: Another contractor was authorized to perform the work with 100% of the votes in writing (mails). The Treasurer hired a different contractor and convinced all but one (myself) of the members to change their vote after the hiring. The Association requires a 100% Yes vote, if in writing, to hire a contractor. I offered to pay my share of the authorized, less expensive, contractor and was refused. They hired an attorney who is threatening me with foreclosure if I don’t pay $3,500.00 in interest and fees. The original amount in dispute was $210. The project did not have the required permit.
Mister Condo replies:
P.E., what a mess! And a tangled mess at that. There are so many things that were done wrong from what you are reporting that I am not sure where to begin. Let’s talk about the collection efforts against you at the moment since I am guessing that is your most pressing issue. Once the association hires an attorney to take action against you, it is fair to say that you will either need to pay the amount that they claim you owe or file a claim against them and fight the collection. If you take no action and the association’s attorney files a claim against you in court you will very likely find yourself with a judgment for the association and a lien against your property for the $3,500.00. You don’t want that so consider hiring your own attorney to protect yourself.
In my opinion, you may also want to speak to an attorney about the actions taken by the Board, and especially, the Treasurer, in hiring the second contractor to perform the work that was already authorized to be performed by the first contractor. I cannot speak as to what happened or why but if your governing documents call for a certain protocol and that protocol was not followed, you have every right to bring suit against the Board to make them go back and do it the right way. That being said, I think there is a little more to the story than a $210 assessment leading to a $3,500.00 claim against you. Without knowing what the rest of the story is, I really can’t offer any more advice than what I have given.
If your Board has a history of behaving with disregard to the prescribed governance of the association, it is time for a new Board. Of course, that requires willing and able volunteers from within the community to agree to serve. Otherwise, it is very likely that the Board will continue to behave in the same fashion as they are currently. If that is the case, I would strongly consider selling your unit and living elsewhere. Good luck!