A.H. from New London County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I live in a large 4-story condo (+ basement) with more than 70 units. The elevator has been out of service for almost 2 months, which is especially difficulty on the elderly and disabled population in the building. The property management group has been unresponsive with regards to plan of action and timelines for replacement/repair. The board seems like a “mysterious” group of people that somehow make decisions and yet they are nowhere to be found. I took matters into my own hands and posted a notice regarding the upcoming board meeting tomorrow, which in-return was taken down and had “canceled” scribbled on it. At this point I am unsure how to get answers for the significant disabled and elderly population in the building, since it is affecting necessary parts of their life such as being able to attend a doctor’s appointment. What can I do?
Mister Condo replies:
A.H., I am sorry that your condo building is experiencing an elevator service outage. It sounds as though there is a real hardship being created. While the property management group should not be unresponsive, the Board is the actual group that is responsible for the elevator working properly and representing the best interests of the owners of the condominium building. Clearly, the owners want the elevator working. The Board should be pretty easy to find. Request a copy of the Minutes from recent meetings (perhaps available on the association’s website if you have one). Board member names should appear there. Write to the Board with your concern and allow them to respond. Also, consider running for the Board and encouraging others to do the same. If the current Board is not doing the job of maintaining the building and elevator, there is no reason to return them to office.
2 thoughts on “Broken Condo Elevator Creates Hardship”
We have multi-floor buildings, and a sole elevator to a building was out for the better part of a year. Another complex close by had an elevator go out for good around the same time. The elevator in our building, the board was flummoxed, as they were told it should be replaced, past its lifespan. But they were able to have parts special made, and it has been OK – so far. The condo complex nearby had two elevators in that building, so residents could still get up and down from upper floors, but they had a new elevator put in, and it was about a year total by the time it was done. I have read that it is not uncommon for older elevators to need special parts made, they have to be removed and shipped out to make a replacement, it takes time. A new elevator also takes time. At our complex, people volunteered to walk up groceries, do errands for the elderly. There were some immobile folks who could not get down to the lobby the whole time. I have also read that sometimes the local fire department can aid people getting up or down stairs when their elevator is out, for instance, for a medical appointment, etc. This is why it is best to have elevators well reserved for, and obtain good advice from the servicer when it is time to replace BEFORE this happens. Some boards can’t bring themselves to spend that kind of money before people are stranded. What happened here, is similar to our place, the board went “dark,” also. In a crisis, they were hiding from everyone, and blamed the property manager who didn’t respond to frantic calls. The board didn’t want to come out to face everyone demanding answers until they had an answer, which took a long time. But that lack of communication made people extremely worried, and I feel it is a sign of horrible leadership. Our prior board was also nowhere to be found when power was out for over a week due to a hurricane, etc., no checking any of the buildings or people, nothing, they all stayed away where there was power and didn’t come back until after it was over. Even if there is no answer, the board should be keeping people very apprised of steps they are taking every few days go and check around. Not good, been there. People look to leadership especially in a crisis and need them to be accessible and responsive, not hiding. You can try calling your city’s social services, they may have helped people in these situations before.
Connecticut corporations are supposed to have ‘their agent’ registered with the State. If the management company won’t respond and board members are nowhere to be found, there may be recourse through the State’s records. It is difficult to image this degree of mismanagement being sustained without lawsuits being pressed.