J.M. from New Haven County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I am frustrated with my condo association. The lawn in front of my unit was damaged last fall by a contractor the association had used for many years. A new board member, who is responsible for the grounds, got rid of him and hired a new contractor. I was also told that they would plant seed in spring in the damaged area of the lawn. The new contractor said he was not told to plant seed and so he hasn’t. The grass is still badly damaged. The back of my unit has a lot of muddy areas and some of the front lawn is dead. I finally had enough. I emailed the board, took pictures of the damaged lawn and sent them and a complaint to the Management Company. I requested sod and said I did not want to be involved in the installation but I would if I had to help. I tried to communicate with the grounds guy but he did not even walk around my yard to see the problem. I also told him the new lawn company does not pick up branches or twigs. They just run them over. He said that when they cut grass in a week, the mower would pick up these little twigs. Well they came and went and there are more twigs that were simply run over and left behind. How can I get the Board to correct these problems?
Mister Condo replies:
J.M., the short answer is you need to remain vigilant. It is unfortunate that you are having a difficult time with the lawn in front of your unit. The reality is that it is not your lawn but rather association-owned common property owned by you and every other owner within the association. It is the Board’s responsibility to maintain, protect, and enhance the common elements. However, there is very likely no written code of how well they need to do that. That is why we elect the right volunteers to serve on our Boards and encourage and support them to do the best job they can. As for your specific requests, it sounds like you are doing the right things. You have documented the issues with your letters, emails, and photos. You have alerted the Board and the Property Manager of the shortcomings of the current contractor. Now you need to be patient but not docile. The old saying that “the squeaky wheel gets the oil” can be kept in mind but don’t make yourself a nuisance to your Property Manager or your Board. You’ve made your complaint, now let’s see what happens. Keep in mind that the Board is made up of unpaid volunteers that may meet once per month or once per quarter. If they need to vote to spend money on seed or hire a new contractor it can take a few meeting cycles for that to happen. If your property manager has agreed to be involved and oversees the contractor, you might get some faster results although there is no guarantee of that. The bottom line is that the contractor and the Property Manager work for the Board, not you. You need to work with the Board to make things happen. Of course, if you feel you could do a better job and wish to volunteer your time to serve your community as a leader, I would encourage you to run for a seat on the Board at your next Annual Meeting. Good luck!