G.B. from Cook County, Illinois writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I live in a condo complex in that consists of 60 units divided up into 6 buildings. A tenant in the building I live in decided to remodel her unit. She never notified the Board or our management company that she was doing this. During the course of the remodeling job her contractor insists on throwing away construction debris in the trash dumpster that’s supposed to be used for unit owners to throw their household trash in. Most times filling it up so much that we don’t have anywhere to put our trash bags except on the floor. Additionally, the contractor has set up a workbench in her parking space and does his drilling/sawing there. This has caused cars to get filled with unimaginable dust including our storage closets that are in the garage. I have resorted to parking outside because I don’t want my car constantly being covered with this dust. She and her contractor have been approached about this but it continues to happen. She has screamed at us and said we are harassing her. This condo complex is fairly new so there hasn’t been much remodeling done. The president of the board is not even sure there are guidelines for remodeling work. Common courtesy should be enough but the unit owner shows none. What can we do? Additionally, I’m a board member.
Mister Condo replies:
G.B., I am sorry that you have such a difficult unit owner in your midst. As you say, this is a new condo complex so this issue hasn’t appeared before so there is no history of how to handle this and, as a Board Member, you are about to make history! Almost all association governance documents provide acceptable use of parking areas (i.e. they are for parking only). The idea that a contractor has taken over the space as a workshop and is creating a nuisance for owners is absurd. The unit owner is directly responsible for all behavior of the contractor. Look at your rules and regulations, CC&Rs, and any other governance documents to see what is acceptable use and penalties for unacceptable use. Contact the association attorney this one time so that the Board is comfortable and empowered taking corrective actions. Fines, penalties, even an injunction against the unit owner may all be within the Board’s power. Getting into shouting matches with the unit owner or contractor is not going to help anything and could actually escalate to violence so don’t go that route. All the best!