S.F. from Hartford County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Five years ago, the drive to our underground parking garage was widened. The excavation for this project exposed areas of poured concrete that were never meant to see the light of day. The project remains in this unfinished state and it’s quite ugly. I’ve offered to pay for a temporary solution which involves hiring a couple of young artists to paint bricks and rocks on the concrete so it looks nice as well as real. When the board has the money to finish the project permanently, it will be easy to do. I approached the board and they have not made a decision but their comments didn’t sound favorable. This building burned down 2 years ago and now we have a nicer looking building than the other 3 on our grounds. Some may be jealous, some don’t like me because I didn’t cow tow to them when I was on the board. I’d like to know if I have the right to hire an attorney and force them to complete this project. Cost is less than $1000. They have the money but, again, I’ve offered to pay for it. What rights do I have as an owner? Five years is a long time to have to look at this ugly wall every time I drive in.
Mister Condo replies:
S.F., why the Board undertook only half of this project is a mystery to me. They would have been well advised to complete the job all at once as it would have been less stress for the community and made for a safer and permanent solution. I can appreciate wanting to pay for the project over time but they should have taken a loan to accomplish the same results. That being said, your question is about your rights to hire an attorney to force them to complete the project. As you know, I am not an attorney so I cannot dispense legal advice but here’s my shot at some common sense.
Everyone has the right to hire an attorney. My guess is that if you consult with an attorney you will likely be told that no wrongdoing has occurred here. Their decision to widen the drive is commendable. As long as they followed proper procedure for awarding the contract and paying for the job, they have the right to spread it out over time and save the community money as they see fit. The only “offense” they’ve committed, from what you’ve told me, is that they created an eyesore. While that may not be enjoyable to look at, it hardly constitutes the grounds for a lawsuit.
Perhaps a far better solution would be for you to seek out like minded individuals and get some of them (or you) elected to the Board so that, at the very least, you can get some traction on your art idea. I’ve seen similar murals and such on buildings and they look spectacular. If the cost is only $1,000.00, the community could generate some publicity and good will by hiring local artists to solve this eyesore problem. The fact that you’re willing to foot the bill should be icing on the cake. Of course, keep in mind, your condo has rules about who can do work on your property (licensed and insured contractors only) so you may have a few hurdles to overcome before your idea can become reality.
I wish you the best in your artful endeavor. I salute your civic pride and community spirit. Good luck!