P.W. from Broward County, Florida writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
My Condo Association is assessing unit owners for replacing electrical boxes and wires that go from the outside to inside the house. They agree that it is a common element, however, 2 unit owners replaced theirs on their own a few years ago without going through the association. Now, the Association is excluding the 2 unit owners from the assessment even though the docs and Florida law says that common element expenses are to be shared with ALL unit owners. We are 60 unit owners but they are only assessing 58 unit owners. Oh, and by the way one, of the unit owners not being assessed is the President of the HOA! Is there anything I can do to stop this unfairness? Or is that allowed?
Mister Condo replies:
P.W., I am sorry that you and your fellow unit owners find themselves in this predicament. It would appear that the Board, including the President, has made a mistake in how to handle a common element repair. I am sure they mean well but that isn’t the right way to handle it, as you have noted. The real question here is what can you do about it? The answer requires a lawsuit against the association which can be both expensive and unpopular. A simpler solution might be to call for a recall to remove the seated Board and replace them with right-minded volunteer leaders who will do a better job interpreting governing documents and state laws when it comes to repairing common elements. As a practical matter, assessing unit owners (all unit owners) may be required to pay for the repair if there isn’t any money in the budget for the job. However, selective special assessment would not likely stand up in court if challenged. Keep in mind I am not an attorney and offer no legal advice in this column. Pick your battle. Good luck!