E.G. from Los Angeles County, California writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
200 or so unit senior condo complex built in 2008/2009 in California opened with numerous noise complaints about impact noise coming from above units that have hardwood flooring HOA Board for past 12 years always responded that it was a neighbor-to-neighbor behavioral problem which has led to confrontations that bullied the above neighbor to be super quiet beyond reasonable activities like walking with street shoes, they actually posted idiotic signs to wear socks only if you have hardwood flooring above another unit. An acoustical engineering study commissioned for a construction defects lawsuit against the developer (see more on defects lawsuit below) discovered through invasive testing that the true culprit was original construction defects in the floor/ceiling assembly separating the stacked units, not typical behavior by above tenants… (abridged)…The HOA Board and their counsel have stonewalled me all the way through IDR and ADR and will not even bring in their own expert to address the situation. Their obvious strategy is to outlast me and force a lawsuit that will probably not see trial for another 5 years due to court backups and I don’t have the time nor money to outlast them. My next step is to bring in the City and have them investigate what are really common area unpermitted, non-code compliant floor assemblies and force the HOA to fix through City code violation procedure, maybe funded through insurance claim money, but I was hoping you have other advice or ideas to combat this rogue Board? Maybe sue the defects attorney for malpractice – how could he not get full $$$ for defects documented in an engineering report? Something is amiss with all this secrecy and lame client attorney privilege stonewalling, aren’t the HOA members, including myself the “client”? In essence I am paying the HOA to hold secrets against my own best interests – very frustrating.
Mister Condo replies:
E.G., I am sorry for the noise problem and ensuing legal nightmares that have led you to write to me today. I also apologize for having to abridge your letter as it was just too long for me to print in its entirety. Needless to say, you have documented a great deal of the ordeal and there does not appear to be an end in sight. California HOAs are largely governed by the Davis-Sterling Act. There is a great resource for you at https://www.davis-stirling.com and I strongly suggest you look at the site to learn more about IDR and ADR even though neither have worked for you. The association’s attorney does indeed work for the association and not the individual members such as yourself. My best advice to you is to speak with an independent attorney to see what legal recourse, if any, is available to you and your fellow unit owners. It will not be inexpensive but it might get the association to pay better attention to bringing this matter to a satisfactory resolution. Otherwise, I think this will drag out even longer as you have said and perhaps even without a satisfactory resolution. Honestly, if it were me and I had the ability to sell and get away from the problem, I would. Good luck!