J.G. from New Haven County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We have two tennis courts at our condos as one of our amenities. Very few of the residents use them. A few years ago, I mentioned at a condo meeting that there were cracks starting on the courts but the association voted to do nothing. This season, the courts are unplayable due to the size, depth and length of the cracks plus the weeds growing out of them. We recently had a huge assessment and a lot was done to fix up the property but the tennis courts were not a part of that. What are my rights as an owner to have playable courts? Thank you!
Mister Condo replies:
J.G., I am sorry that your association has decided not to maintain the tennis courts. Clearly, you were excited to be a part of this community and enjoy this amenity. Unfortunately, there isn’t too much you can do to motivate the Board to maintain the amenity, especially if there just isn’t enough money in the budget to do so. In my experience, associations that run into problems maintaining their assets just haven’t planned properly or utilized a Reserve Study to guide them in how much they should be setting aside each year as a Reserve Fund contribution. This is typically what happens when the cry from owners to keep the common fees low outweighs the long-term needs of the association. It is short-sighted and unfortunate. As you have indicated that a large assessment has just occurred, I know that what I am telling you is true. Tennis courts just didn’t make the list of important amenities for the association to pay for. The good news is that I am guessing you did get necessities like roofs, parking lots, sidewalks, etc. taken care of. Your challenge now is to keep the momentum going and encourage your fellow unit owners to pay more in common fees so that there is enough money in the budget to properly maintain ALL of the association’s amenities, including the tennis courts. If that isn’t likely to happen, my guess is that your tennis courts will continue to deteriorate. Instead of Love/Love, you’ll have Lose/Lose. Unless you can successfully get the Board to raise the fees and deliver on their duty to protect and maintain the association’s assets. Good luck!