V.F. from Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
An Investor just signed a contract to purchase a unit in our complex, we have a bylaw that requires an owner to own a unit for 8 months before “requesting” to lease their unit. Exceptions can be granted for HARDSHIP situations. The unit that was up for sale was being leased by the owner. The owner asked for a “hardship” exemption to sell…. ridiculous in a “seller’s market”….the Investor who intended to purchase the unit also asked for a “HARDSHIP” exemption in order to keep the lease approval and allow the tenant to remain. This goes against any normal thought. INVESTOR & HARDSHIP doesn’t even belong in the same sentence. The Board of Directors (only 4 people and we should have 9) voted to except this “Hardship” claim and allowed the current tenant to remain. I ask you how is it an Investor just buying a unit could possibly be in a hardship situation before the closing. I believe this “deal” was already approved before this UNIT even hit the market. We have a cap of 15% investor units. This I think is wrong on many levels for our community, what do you think do I have any legal recourse?
Mister Condo replies:
V.F., I am sorry that you find your association in this questionable situation. Since the Board has the ultimate authority to grant the request, and they seem to have done so, there really isn’t too much you can do about it. I am not an attorney and offer no legal advice in this column. You may wish to speak to a qualified attorney if you feel you have a legal case against the association but I am not sure I understand how ownership transfer of a unit that was already rented causes you or the association any harm. At the end of the day, “hardship” can be interpreted as the Board sees fit since there is no definition of hardship spelled out in your governing documents. It is a subjective word, open to interpretation. One interpretation may be that forcing the renter out so the unit could be sold would cause a hardship for the renter. Regardless, as the elected representatives of the association, the Board makes the business decisions. If you are unhappy with the Board, your best alternative is to elect new leaders at the next election. Good luck!