L.L. from Worcester County, Maryland writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Are condo owners under any obligation to ever contact the Board’s attorney about condo-related issues, if there are no lawsuits involved, and all condo dues are up-to-date? My Board utilizes the attorney like a secretary, and it’s very expensive.
Mister Condo replies:
L.L., the Board can use the association attorney as they see fit. Condo owners, on the other hand, should not contact the condo attorney unless they are replying to an inquiry or legal matter directed to them by the association’s attorney. If the Board isn’t doing a good job of running the association and racking up unnecessary bills, the correct action is to vote them off the Board. Other than for purely legal matters, it is unusual for a Board to require the services of the association attorney for everyday matters. If the Board has been sued and is now being overly cautious, it may be understandable but paying hourly legal rates for simple governance issues penalizes the entire association in the form of higher common fees or assessments to cover the increased legal costs. Association attorneys are great when you need them but should be called upon only when the circumstances require it. Good luck!