M.A. from outside of Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
The Association I belong to has a problem owner who has repeatedly changed her locks from the Association supplied locks to hardware from a home center. The building is on a master key system to ensure emergency maintenance and repairs can be done if she is not there. She claims this is illegal and lawfully we have no right to be able to access her unit even though our by-laws allow our entry in certain circumstances. We have drilled out the replaced locks, installed new hardware compatible with our master system and gave her the new keys only to have her replace the locks again. Is it legal for the Association to have access to her unit or is she right and we have no right to ever enter her unit unless she is home?
Mister Condo replies:
M.A., as is usually the case, you need to refer to the association’s governance documents on right of entry. Depending on your state, you may also need to refer to any local or state laws that may prohibit entry into the unit without the unit owner’s express consent. Both of those things being said, even if the association has the right to enter this recalcitrant unit owner isn’t likely to comply with the requirement and you may find the association needs to get a court order to make her comply. This is uncomfortable for all parties involved and can get expensive for both the association and the unit owner. My advice would be to speak to the association’s attorney and determine exactly what right the association has to access this and all units and make sure you aren’t in violation of local, state, or federal law. If not, then the Board needs to decide how important it is to have entry to the units and take appropriate action to secure that right. Good luck!