L.B. from Milwaukee, Wisconsin writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We have repeated problems with people throwing empty vodka bottles in stair wells, smearing candy in carpet, throwing cigarettes in common area, which is nonsmoking. Just plain turning this nice place into a ghetto. What to do? No cameras around and this keeps on going on. This 144 units, board is made up of owners. Very concerning as there are a lot of elderly, older owners here. Not sure the budget could afford a guard and would wonder if it would make a difference. This thuggery needs to end and the board can’t get a handle on it. Thanks for your time.
Mister Condo replies:
L.B., I am genuinely sorry to hear that your condo’s common areas are being treated so poorly and with such disrespect. The Board clearly needs to act if this behavior is going to stop. You would hope that unit owners, residents and their guests would understand that keeping the common areas looking their best is in everyone’s best interest. It helps keep property values high and it just makes for a cleaner and more pleasant place to live. Bring your concerns to the Board. Work with them to seek solutions, including the ones you mentioned above. I agree that a security guard would be an expensive route but closed-circuit cameras are not terribly expensive. The issue is who is going to review the footage and what actions will be taken against the offenders? If the Board doesn’t already have rules in place for such offenses, now is the time to vote on them and make them part of the rules and regulations. Enforcement includes warning letters to violators, summonses to appear before the Board and fines, which should escalate ($10 first offense, $25 second offense, $50 third and later offenses) to truly discourage the littering. My guess is that this is a very small percentage of the folks who live in your condo. Identify them, fine them, and get them to modify their behavior and my guess is that you can close out this ugly chapter and restore the cleanliness and tranquility of your common areas. All the best!