T.O. from Hartford County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We live on a small private road that has left the power in one couples’ hands for ages. We have basically NO say and are hostage to an archaic agreement. We are frankly sick of it and considering legal action. Do we have a chance at establishing a real association where everyone pays a fair share? Thank you!
Mister Condo replies:
T.O., small associations can have big problems as you have seen firsthand. The short answer is “yes”, you can establish a real association where everyone pays a fair share but it will be determined by your original governance documents that established the Homeowners Association (HOA). Inside, you will find how dues are to be collected and what requirements are in place for folks to serve as officers of the association. Of course, it also requires that there are folks of the same opinion as you that the people in power are abusing their power and not running the association properly. It is possible that they run it the way they do out of a sense of practicality and that no one has stepped forth to volunteer their own time to serve on the Board.
Legal action may be necessary if these folks don’t want to run the association according to the rules of governance. However, that legal action may cost you and any others looking to bring suit if you need to hire an attorney to assist. Ideally, a meeting of the homeowners will be called and the rules of governance will be followed. At the very least, there are usually two orders of business that need to take place annually. The first is the ratification of a budget, which includes the proposed fees and expenses of the association. The second is the election of Board members. Once those two things happen, you should be able to act as a functional HOA once again. All the best!