L.V. from outside of Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Our condo association has decided to completely eliminate condo bulk trash pickup. I understand that originally we had one but people were abusing it by putting out trash way before pickup date and since it was not fenced in some of the public would use it as their own dumping area. The condo then put up a temporary fenced area with poles in cement with wire fenced and lock. But still the same issue and they decided to remove it completely. Now new tenants (renters on leases) or owners who don’t seem to know the rules have decided to put out their old furniture in front of your dumpster where it blocks the trash bin that roles out of a two door trash enclosed area. How can this be addressed so that the unknown unit owner takes responsibility financially and otherwise to have the trash picked up by city contractor bulk trash upon request (one time scheduled pickup)? Can a letter be sent to all owners and tenants about this issue and how going forward can the association deal with individual units that violate this new bulk trash rule? I am a truly frustrated owner.
Mister Condo replies:
L.V., many condominium associations struggle with the issue of proper refuse removal and the behavior of unit owners and other residents when it comes to proper use of the trash receptacles. This can often create a neighbor versus neighbor complaint situation which is unpleasant for the residents, the property manager, the Board of Directors, and even the trash removal contractor who is often caught in the middle of trying to fulfill their contract for trash removal and keeping the area around the dumpsters relatively clean and neat. At the heart of the issue are the needs of the community and the communication efforts required to keep the trash areas clean and the residents informed and behaving properly when it comes to trash disposal.
It must first be acknowledged that just like death and taxes, trash is inevitable. Wherever humans reside, trash will be created. It would appear that at one time, the situation was under better managed and more options were offered for bulk trash removal. Trash removal really is no different than any other service that the association hires an outside contractor to handle. It would be a good idea to meet with one or more local trash removal experts and explain the problem and let them propose some solutions. If the community is demanding bulk trash removal, why not offer that service? If they require more frequent trash removal, why not offer that as well? It will cost more but that cost is simply passed along to unit owners in the form of increased common fees.
The community likely has rules about what types of trash can be disposed of and when. If the community has no such rules, the time has come to create them, along with a fine system for violating the rules. If residents are not willing to follow those rules, it is possible that some type of video surveillance system will be required to monitor the offenders. Again, this is an expense of the association that is passed back to unit owners through their common fees.
Unsightly trash left for days on end within the community is a serious problem. It can attract rodents and other pests, create an eyesore, and ultimately drive down the value of the units within the association because of diminished curb appeal. Your Board is well advised to take this problem seriously and take corrective actions to fix the problem. Use the community newsletter to help spread the word and get your community back to clean and safe. Good luck!