P.P. from Hartford County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I have been fined numerous times this past year by my association. There is this one guy on the Board who thinks he is the “Condo Cop”. He spends his days looking for violations and sending fines to people he doesn’t like. He sends out fines for pet violations, parking violations, whatever. I’ve had it up to here with this guy. Why does he do this and what can I do to make him stop?
Mister Condo replies:
P.P., I am sorry you have been fined by your association. You didn’t mention whether or not you or the other people being fined actually broke any association rules which makes it hard for me to offer proper advice. Here goes my best shot.
First, people breaking rules of the association should stop breaking the rules. Rules are place to maintain order, keep the community vibrant, and keep property values high. They set the standard for how the community is to be enjoyed by all residents. Fines are the only method of compliance afforded to the association so I can’t fault them for practicing due diligence in rules enforcement. It’s a simple formula: no rules broken = no fines levied! As someone who’s been involved in levying fines against neighbors for years, I can tell you it’s not a fun job.
Second, if your so-called “Condo Cop” is going out of his way to fine residents and is especially tough on people he doesn’t like, you should strongly consider voting him out of office at your next annual election. Of course, you’ll have to assess if your feeling is shared by others or that method will not work. Also, if you vote him out, you should think about who you will vote in. Perhaps you’d consider volunteering your time to serve your community?
Finally, if the fines are truly egregious, you can seek relief in the form of a lawsuit. It is illegal for a Board member to fine people simply because he doesn’t like them. When a fine is issued to you, you have the right to appear before the Board to contest the fine and offer your side of the story. However, if you have broken rules and the fine is deemed correct, you will have to pay. If you find that living within the rules of the community is just something you cannot do, it may be time to consider moving out. As enjoyable as many find it, condo living isn’t for everyone. In fact, only 1 out of 6 people in the state of Connecticut live in community associations. Best wishes!