K.P. from Fairfield County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I am leasing a condo. It is a free-standing condo on a cul de sac. The condo is lived in by my son and 3 others of a local college baseball team. Recently, there was a party and it was loud but ended by 1:00 a.m. The association wants to impose a $500 fine and also a $100 fine from a party back in October of last year. What are my options?
Mister Condo replies:
K.P., I can appreciate your concern over the association’s ability to levy these fines against you as the unit owners. Without seeing the association’s governance documents, I can only take a guess as to what your options are. Most associations have rules about nuisance. Loud parties would certainly qualify as nuisances. However, the association is not free to simply levy fines of their choosing against you without following due process. Typically, a notice to appear before the Board is sent where the owner (you) would have a chance to present your side of the story. After considering the facts, the Board is then free to take punitive action as outlined in the association’s governance documents. Some Boards will simply issue warnings; others will enforce whatever fines are allowed. The idea is to curtail the problem from happening again. The real crux of this problem is going to be what happens moving forward. While some college students are content to study and enjoy their education, many also enjoy going to or hosting parties as part of their college experience. Holding loud parties in a residential condominium association is going to bring objections from the fellow condo owners who expect and demand that the association’s rules are followed by all who live there. If the tenants of your condo aren’t willing or able to live with the rules of the association, this is going to be an ongoing problem that could easily escalate into the association suing you for continued abuses by your tenants. That being said, both parties have rights here. You might be well advised to seek the advice of an attorney to make sure your rights as a condo owner are protected. I can assure you the association will be doing the same thing. Good luck!