M.P. from Fairfield County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Pretty simple, my condo board doesn’t like me. I’m often vocal of inconsistencies and tend to highlight their neglect of owners in our area. They often ask for input in written form and NEVER write anything back. My unit sustained damage from an outside leak (Association’s responsibility per bylaws) and they authorized the cheapest possible fix which was a nasty looking patch in my ceiling. I have requested that they come back and fix my unit so that no patch is visible. Apparently, they denied my request, and the only way I found out was skimming through the minutes. I never received a written notice and even ASKED for one. On several occasions I have written to them asking for information on pending projects yet I have never received a written response. Any suggestions? These people are incredulous. They demand everything in writing, modification requests, repair work, etc. and then NEVER respond. How should I handle a situation like this? I think my insurance company will subrogate the repairs to the association but the non responsiveness is utterly disrespectful.
Mister Condo replies:
M.P., thank you for taking the time to write to me. I will, respectfully, write back to you here. From what you have told me, your Board is functioning within their limits but not doing a good job of communicating their actions and decisions which you are finding quite bothersome, and rightfully so. The Board is correct in asking for all requests and damage claims from you in writing. While they are under no obligation to respond to you in writing, you would think common courtesy would call for the Board Secretary or other member to write you a response. You are correct in reading the minutes of the meeting to see what action, if any, the Board has taken. As far as your satisfaction with the level of repair provided to your unit, that is a matter that you may need to take further action on. If your insurance company is willing to pay for a repair above and beyond what the association has provided, then, by all means I would encourage you to seek that remedy. However, if the repair did not return your unit to its original condition you may wish to consult an attorney to see if you can seek remedy through the courts. (It is interesting how a letter from an attorney always seems to be answered by the Board.) Honestly, unless we are talking about a lot of money, I think I would just get the repair done on my own or through my own insurance money.
One of the great things about Boards is that they are composed of elected volunteers from within your community. If you are not happy with the level of service these volunteers are providing you can always rally the troops against them and elect new community leaders at election time. Perhaps you would consider volunteering your time to lead your community? It can be a thankless job but it is important for the vitality of the community. Clearly, you would do a better job of communicating with fellow unit owners whenever a request was sent to the Board. Go for it!