L.H. from outside of Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We have a new developer and my question is in regard to association voting rights. There are more undeveloped lots than what has been constructed. Does the new developer have a vote in the association for each undeveloped unit? This would give them the majority of the votes and complete control over any changes or issues including any changes to the master deed. Thank you for any information you can provide us.
Mister Condo replies:
L.H., during the developer or declarant control period, the Board is largely a Board in name only. If your association is rolled out in phases and each phase has its own Board, it is possible that the Board for your association may have already been given control to vote and help shape its own destiny. Other than that, the declarant has control over the association and will continue to develop and sell units (the developers primary interest) and likely keep common fees reasonable so as to cover common expenses and attract new buyers. The best advice I can offer any new association is to realize that the “association attorney” should not be the developer’s attorney, which I see far too often. The assumption of the new Board is that the attorney is looking out for their best interests, which simply isn’t true. The developer hired the attorney and that is who the attorney is working for. While mutual interests often align, there are times when an attorney representing solely the new association will take issue against the developer. Modifying the Master Deed is one of those instances where spending the extra money on an attorney now can have a huge impact on all unit owners, current and future. It means spending money now on the attorney but it could prevent lots of future expense. It does mean that the association also has a true fiduciary looking out only for their best interest. I hope your new condo development is turning out nicely (most do) and bring you and your fellow unit owners years of happy condo living. All the best!