A.P. from Fairfield County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I live in a medium size, self-managed condominium association. The Board has sent several notices to the Unit Owners regarding the trash and recycling. We have 2 enclosed areas that are designated. Some Unit owners still seem to be having a problem understanding and they have also been blocking and using the turnaround (as needed for the waste management company) to complete their task. Is there any type of fines/action the Board can take to break the bad habits?
Mister Condo replies:
A.P., I am sorry that your residents and unit owners are finding it difficult to follow the rules of the community. As long as there are actual rules and regulations about these matters, adding fines to the violations is a fairly straightforward process. The Board needs to adopt a reasonable fine schedule for rules violations. They can be as simple as a set fee per violation ($10, $25 or so) or they can escalate ($10 for the first offense, $25 for the second, etc.). However, there is also a process for levying fines that includes an opportunity for unit owners to meet with the Board and contest the fine. Once the Board has offered to hear their case, it can rule on whether or not to invoke the fine. For instance, Unit Owner A blocks access to the dumpster and is cited and fine $25 for the offense. At the time the warning letter is issued, the unit owner is invited to contest the fine by appearing before the Board at the Board’s next meeting. If Unit Owner A shows and states a case why he/she should not be fined, the Board may waive the fine. If Unit Owner A doesn’t show or the Board doesn’t agree that the fine should be waived, the fine is issued and is valid. This is an onerous process for both the Board and the owners but it is what it takes to correct bad behavior on the part of the unit owners. Put the system in place and watch compliance increase. All the best!