D.F. from Fairfield County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I bought a condo for my mother-in-law to reside in. The condo bylaws and pool rules stated nothing about offsite owners being restricted access to the pool. Before purchasing I emailed the management company saying “Can you provide me with the rules around owner occupancy?” – but got no response. Now the Board says my family will have to pay $90 each to use the pool because we are offsite owners. They cite a paper posting that had been put up in the building before I purchased. What amount can I sue for? Can I sue for a flat 10k saying that’s how much less the unit is worth to me now that my pool rights have been taken away?
Mister Condo replies:
D.F., I am not an attorney so I cannot offer you legal advice. If you are ready to sue, you should consult with a qualified attorney who can best advise you. As for the circumstances you have described so far, here is my advice. When you purchased, you were provided a complete set of the condominium’s governing documents, including By-laws and Rules & Regulations. There should have been rules and regulations regarding the pool use included. If rules were adopted after those documents were published (which would appear to be the case from the posting you have described) you may be able to challenge the rule based upon improper documentation. Posting a flyer in a building is not considered proper notification. Unit owners need to be mailed the rule change and the governing documents may need to be amended to reflect the rule change so that new buys like yourself have access to the rules before they close on the unit. Emailing the management company before you purchased is somewhat irrelevant as you were not a unit owner at the time and you cannot be certain the email was ever received. It was poor customer service for them not to respond but I do not think they did anything that you could sue them over. Your attorney could better advise you on that issue. As for the association’s right to restrict pool use to onsite owners, they are free to do so. The pool is an association-owned asset and under the full control of the Board. All the best!