W.P. from Howard County, Maryland writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I am a volunteer “building captain” who takes care of minor building issues (i.e. emergency lights, light bulbs, watering issues, squeaking doors etc.). I have been asked by our board to tell a unit owner in our building to remove their bike from an area on common property. I refused claiming it was not my job. Was this appropriate?
Mister Condo replies:
W.P., kudos on your extra service as a “building captain”. Community Association volunteers rock! Thank you for your service to your association. Your refusal to tell a unit owner to move their bike from common property is quite appropriate. In fact, the best way for your Board to handle any rules violation is to send a written notice to the unit owner who broke the rule. They can request that unit owner present themselves to the Board for further discussion and/or issuing of a fine for violating the rule. Putting a volunteer in the middle of the process for a face-to-face confrontation is bad for both the rule-breaker and the association. What if the verbal warning is met with an altercation? It pits unit owners against unit owners and makes for an inhospitable environment. Generally speaking, there is no urgency in correcting a rule violation. A written notice creates a permanent association record whereas a confrontation does not. The Board needs to understand that concept so they can do a great job enforcing all of the rules. I fully support your refusal to confront the homeowner. There are better ways to solve the problem. All the best!