B.M. from Massachusetts writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Mister Condo replies:
B.M., attorneys can be very useful to condos and HOAs. Many facets of governing an association require astute thinking and occasional legal guidance. That being said, the association attorney should be used sparingly because it can get very expensive paying an attorney’s hourly rates for more mundane tasks. Simple correspondence between the Board and a homeowner or Board members can usually be handled by the association’s Secretary or manager with guidance and input from the Board. If the questions are potential legal problems for the association (injury, discrimination, ADA, etc.) and the Board is inexperienced or uncomfortable replying without the advice of an attorney, then legal counsel should be used. As for the expense of using that counsel, ask your attorney for his or her advice. Governing documents don’t always assign certain expenses to the homeowner or the association. That leaves it open to interpretation. I know many associations who forward the cost to the homeowner and some that simply accept the expense as part of doing business. All the best!