J.L. from South Carolina writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I am the president of an 8-unit condo in Greenville, SC. Most of the units are rented and no one seems to vote, attend meetings or care. We have 3 board members, but I am the only one active. My question… the complex is in dire need of repairs/maintenance. A minimum of $10,000 is needed. At our last meeting, the HOA fees were raised from $150 to $175 monthly, but we are still left with no money. Essentially, we are supporting the place paycheck to paycheck. The M/CO sent out letters to vote on a special assessment with only one owner responding yes, 2 board members yes, and one board member
no. The bylaws state I need 6 yes vote to pass the special assessment. Meanwhile, being in downtown the last 3 units sold for $225,000 plus, so there is collateral in the building. The building must be maintained to protect mine/others investment. what do I need to do for money? Thank you!
Mister Condo replies:
J.L., you are wise to act to protect your building and your association. Since money has not been reserved over the years it looks as though a Special Assessment is the only way to raise the money. What do your governing documents say? Typically, the Board decides on the Special Assessment and ha the decision ratified by the unit owners. You can usually pass the assessment via proxy with the assessment considered passed unless the required votes against it are cast. If the other owners don’t vote and aren’t active, it looks like the only vote against the assessment is from your fellow Board member. My advice is to review your governing documents and issue the vote via proxy or as called for in your governing documents. If you pass the assessment you are in the clear to proceed. However, whether the assessment passes or not, it is high time that your association get real about getting a handle on your finances. There is no reason to live paycheck to paycheck as an association. You need a budget that includes operating expenses and proper funding of a Reserve Fund so you don’t find yourself in this situation again. That will mean a substantial increase to common fees which will be unpopular but necessary. All the best!