E.H. from Fairfield County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I have had an issue with wall damage for almost two years now. I have written emails to our property management group, called, attended the monthly board meetings to try and get this resolved, spoken with board members and nothing is being done. The last three monthly meetings I get the same response from the property management group that they are waiting for approval from board members. Can I legally stop paying my common charges until this is resolved? Is there some government agency that I can contact that protects homeowner rights when the HOA is not responding to issues? Any guidance you can provide would be appreciated.
Mister Condo replies:
E.H., no, you cannot stop paying your common fees. If you do, you will be in default of your agreement with the association and you will incur late fees, penalties, collection actions, and even, in the worst case, foreclosure of your unit. That is not a good plan to fight back. A better plan is to speak with a locally qualified attorney to see of you can bring suit against the association. Problems like yours are not that uncommon and, unfortunately, the wording in the association’s governing documents usually say something like “repairs shall be made in a reasonable amount of time” which leaves plenty of wiggle room for Board’s to take quite some time when making repairs. Add to that the delays in materials and shortage of workers and you have a n easy way out for determining how long a “reasonable” amount of time is. My advice is that you speak with an attorney and continue to keep pressure on the Board and the management company. If a lawsuit is in order, do it. If not, sit tight and understand that not paying your common fees is the worst decision you can make. All the best!