D.A. from New York writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We own in a 200-unit condo complex in New York.The complex is 35 years old and in a state of disrepair. The previous board president was a non-resident owner and real estate salesman who was more concerned with commissions on unit sales and rentals than the infrastructure of the condominium. When president, this individual imposed 4 years of assessments on the owners. As I learned, as a non-resident owner, these assessments are tax deductible for him. He used our assessment money for superficial repairs to enhance the “curb appeal”. He was voted off the board at the last election. He still roams around the building conducting real estate tours with a key resident-owners are not supposed to possess. The new board has yet to do anything about this individual. How do we wake up the new board?
Mister Condo replies:
D.A., previous actions aside, I am not sure what you are expecting the new Board to do. You live in an older condominium which is sure to need repairs and maintenance. Previous unit owners elected a Board and the previous Board elected a President who, from what you have told me, made repairs that enhanced curb appeal. That may have helped him sell or rent his own units and advance his personal agenda, but I am also guessing that all unit owners benefitted from these repairs and enhanced curb appeal as well. Special assessments were likely needed because the fees collected over the years aren’t enough to maintain and repair an older complex. I highly doubt that the President “imposed” these assessments. They were likely presented to the Board and adopted as allowed by your condo governing documents. If they were imposed any other way, they can be challenged in court, which can be quite costly to the association, and, ultimately unit owners like you. Whether or not any unit owner can deduct these fees from their taxes is irrelevant. The issue of the key is another matter and should be brought to the attention of the new Board and they can take whatever action they feel is necessary. It sounds to me as though you just don’t like this individual, which is your right but I don’t see what he has done wrong. As for waking up the new Board, my guess is they are going to have their hands full deciding which major maintenance project needs to be undertaken next and how they are going to pay for it. If Special Assessments were needed for esoteric projects that enhanced curb appeal, I can only imagine how much money will be needed for the new roof, the new elevators, the new boilers, and every other common element owned by the association. Buckle up, it could get quite expensive. I wish you and your new Board all the best in getting the association on firm financial footing. Good luck!