A reader from New York City writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Our board has recently added a number of charges. For example, it has invented ways to impose penalties on owners if they do not complete requests of the managing agent by a given time and imposed high fees to unit owners who rent their units out to a tenant. I did not vote in favor of these changes; is it possible for me to unilaterally reject the fee, possibly on the grounds that I did not personally agree or that they are disproportionately high or inappropriate, or that it penalizes a certain category of owner?
Mister Condo replies:
NYC reader, your condo Board is bound, as are you, by the terms in your condo association’s governing documents. As long as the new rules and fees were adopted in accordance with your by-laws and rules of governance, you may have no choice but to abide by them. You may not unilaterally reject the fee or any fee imposed by the association as long as the fee is legal and was adopted in correct procedure. You may have local or state laws that supersede your condo’s governing documents but I would encourage you to speak with a locally qualified attorney who practices in community association law to see if that applies to you. I know of many associations that discourage rental of units within associations by adopting fee schedules that make renting the unit less desirable to the owner. Penalties for not completing requests in timely fashion are also not uncommon. You are certainly welcome to petition the Board with your concerns and you may find that there are many other unit owners in your same predicament. If so, unite and elect Board members that are going to do a better job representing your interests. If you find yourself in the minority, you may just have to accept the rules and fees the way they are. Good luck!