H.G. from Los Angeles, California writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Can outside agents who have no equity ownership, real estate agents or attorney’s for non-resident owners, communicate on everyday issues to Condo boards or Condo Association attorneys? These extra board communications are both costly and time consuming for the association and these communications can border on harassment. It is the position of this board that only the equity owner should have communications access. In this case, email access is available and usable. Thank you.
Mister Condo replies:
H.G., the community association attorney works for the association, not outside agents. The Board should negotiate the attorney’s agreement and spell out the specific duties of the attorney and who should have access to the attorney and for what reasons. All other correspondence should go through the Board first, allowing the Board to then decide when it is time to engage the attorney and incur the fees associated with doing so. The Board is tasked with conducting the business of the association, which includes these types of communications. Some Boards prefer to let their attorney handle all of the communications (at a fee), especially if the nature of these communication is beyond the Board’s typical experience. In other words, the fees paid to the attorney may far outweigh the costs of litigating a matter where the Board misspoke. All Boards are different and there isn’t a “one size fits all” answer I can give you. I would advise you to look at the types of communications that the Board is paying for and determine which, if any, the Board would like to take on to alleviate some of the cost. I am not sure of the nature of the communications from outside of the association (is the association being sued?) but, as stated earlier, the Board can dictate the type of work it wants handled by the attorney. Good luck!