R.B. from New Haven County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Approximately two weeks prior to our Association’s annual meeting, I made a request to our property manager to let me see the Association’s Balance Sheet. We were to vote on the upcoming year’s budget at the meeting. The request was ignored. I made the request two more times with the same results. I brought this up to the property manager at the meeting and he stated the he did not have to furnish that information but I could go to his office and look at the financial records. I believed that this was a violation of Section 47-260 B 1 and 2 of the CIOA and so I filed a complaint with the state of Connecticut. A lawyer from the Attorney General’s office called me and stated that I would have to hire my own lawyer to pursue this. Does this make any sense to you?
Mister Condo replies:
R.B., I am sorry that you weren’t able to get a simpler resolution to your request to see a copy of the Annual Budget. Unfortunately, it does make sense to me because I have first-hand experience with the State of Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection (DCP), who is the first line of defense for Connecticut residents who seek action under CIOA. My experience was similar to yours; DCP excused the behavior of the Property Manager and put the burden of bringing a lawsuit against the association on me, the taxpayer. Do I think this is right or fair? No, but I do understand why they do it. In short, CIOA is in place to offer protection to condo and HOA unit owners. However, to take advantage of the protection, the homeowner must act. You have to decide which battles are worth fighting. In your case, the Property Manager offered you a practical solution, which I would advise you to take advantage of. Since they offered you the record at reasonable terms, I don’t believe they violated CIOA. However, from a customer service standpoint, I would say this Property Manager didn’t perform to your expectations. Unfortunately, unless you are a Board Member, you really don’t have a direct say in hiring or deciding to keep the Property Manager. All you can do is complain to the Board that you feel you weren’t treated properly with your request. All the best!