K.M. from New Haven County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We have an owner who owns 9 units at our condo. This owner stopped paying common fees 2 months ago, leaving us in the hole for $2,000.00 a month. Can we turn the water off to his units? Condo Association pays the water bill.
Mister Condo replies:
K.M., I am sorry that your association is faced with such a serious delinquency issue caused by one unit owner with multiple units. No, you may not turn the water off to these or any other units, regardless of the reason. There are proper procedures for taking collection actions against this delinquent unit owner but denying basic utility service is not one of them. You may be able to stop this unit owner (and/or the unit owner’s tenants) from using the common elements of the association until the arrearage is paid up. That may mean denial of visitor parking, pool privileges, clubhouse usage (if you have any of these things). Other than that, it is a matter of law that your association should be pursuing to remedy the situation. Namely, letters of demand for payment, placing a lien on the units, and, if necessary, foreclosing on the units to liquidate the debt. If your association is uncertain on how to proceed, I would suggest either employing a qualified debt collector and/or legal counsel to take the appropriate action. Doing something improper, such as terminating a utility service, could make matters much worse for the association. The unit owner or tenants would likely file suit against the association and that could be quite costly. Good luck!