D.C. from New Haven County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
There are 29 homes in my HOA. The board refuses to get training and dictates policy based on their judgement. They have dictated that we have to clear the snow from sidewalks in front of our lot. My lot front has a 10 foot set back. Shouldn’t all sidewalks be labeled common areas and therefore cleared along with the sidewalks in front of open spaces which are undeveloped? The board has failed to operate using the CT state statutes updated in July 2010. Members to the board were elected by show of hands. That allowed TWO votes per household instead of ONE / household. Robert Rules of order were not use!!! What can I do to get the board to comply with the CT Statutes? I placed my common fee in escrow and am being sued. Many Thanks
Mister Condo replies:
D.C., I am sorry for your problems. As you have seen, placing your common fees in escrow is not a good idea and you should not continue that practice as you can not only be sued but even foreclosed upon for continued nonpayment of common fees. Let’s talk about a better approach.
Your HOA has governing documents as part of the establishment of the HOA. I assume you have a copy of these documents and have ready them thoroughly so you have a starting point to explain your points to the Board. While there are no requirements that your Board receive training, there are requirement, under the law, that they observe the HOA’s governance documents and that they abide by any state and federal laws that may supersede those documents, such as the Common Interest Ownership Act (CIOA), to which you have referred.
I am not an attorney so please accept my advice as friendly and not legal. Your Board needs a bit of a wake-up call if they are not following proper governance. They must abide by the HOA’s governance documents. If that calls for one vote per home in the HOA then that is how the votes should be held. If snow removal is defined in the governance documents, then they should follow the proper procedures for snow removal. They can dispense with Roberts Rules of Order at any meeting but they must first hold a vote to do so. In very much the same way the Board has sued you for nonpayment of common fees, you may need to sue them for not keeping the covenants as outlined in the governance documents. For that, you will most likely need an attorney, which will cost you money, but will get the Board behaving in better form in short order. You may also wish to speak with other homeowners in the HOA about running for office. The folks that serve on your Board are elected volunteers. If they aren’t getting the job done, it may be time for some better volunteers. Good luck!