M.W. from Hartford County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Since end of March 2020, three young children from one unit and one child from another unit (same building) have been playing outside in the common area, screaming continuously during play and running back and forth with large plastic toy vehicles. Each day for five or six hours, this screaming and running would take place. I cited to our directors the exact paragraph and number and verbiage that stated this action is in violation of our by-laws. The board chose not to act. In fact, a board member then went to one of the homeowners and indicated I complained about the noise. This has not been resolved. Our common area has been destroyed (grass has been trampled down to dirt). Heavy rain is a concern as now there is erosion damage. All this information has been relayed to the board by the management company and the board chose to take no action. I’m 67 and my blood pressure is perilously high as a result of getting no assistance from the board or management company. The parents and grandparent, respectively have taken no action to reduce this daily noise. Help.
Mister Condo replies:
M.W., your high blood pressure issues aside, this is a classic example of a Board unable or unwilling to fulfill their duties of enforcing the rules and regulations of the association. It is far more common than you think. Ideally, when unit owners or renters move into a condominium association, one of the reasons is because they are looking forward to living conditions as described in the governance documents. Compliance should be willing as there is no one forcing them to move into a living space with rules. If they want to live in a community without rules, there are other solutions available to them, including a single-family home where they can pretty much live as they please. However, many condominiums and HOAs offer enticing amenities and reasonable prices that attract all sorts of folks, including those that aren’t interested in the rules or even acknowledging that rules exist. This puts the Board in a precarious situation. Since the Board is made up of volunteer leaders from within the community, enforcing the rules often sets up a “neighbor versus neighbor” situation that makes many Board members uncomfortable. If the community as a whole isn’t complaining about the rules violations, the Board can choose to simply “look the other way” and take no action. Sadly, that is what has happened at your association. You can consult with an attorney and even bring suit against your Board for not enforcing its covenants but you will likely incur a great deal of expense doing so. Speak with an attorney to see if that avenue is worth pursuing for you. The other local action you can take is to elect Board members that will not “look the other way”. Keep in mind that the Board’s primary function is to take care of the business of the association – create budgets, hire contractors, build a healthy Reserve Fund, etc. Playing “Condo Cop” to rulebreakers is important but it isn’t what any of them volunteered to do. All the best!