L.G. from Worcester County, Maryland writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
According to my condo’s bylaws, the only requirement for being a board member includes being a unit owner in good financial standing with the HOA. According to state law, the only requirement is being a unit owner.
However, my condo board has just announced, with no prior discussion with owners, that they’re implementing two additional requirements. Owners who want to serve on the board must now prove that: (1) they “work well with others;” and (2) that they will serve the board well and be an “asset” to the condo board. (Not an asset to owners — but an asset to the condo board. Being an asset to this current condo board would not be a positive thing for owners.)
Potential candidates are being forced to submit a biography and written reasons for wanting to be a board member. The nominating committee will then decide whether the candidates “work well with others” and whether they will be “assets to the board.”
This whole thing is ridiculous. Our condo is nearly 40 years old and candidates have never had to jump through these hoops. We’ve had many board members who don’t get along well with people and who aren’t assets to the board, including many of the current board members. Plus, their requirements aren’t grounded in the bylaws or state law. What recourse do owners have?
Mister Condo replies:
L.G., sounds like the original developer of the condo gave a lot of thought into the candidacy and nomination process for folks who wish to serve on the Board. As is always the case, if the current association members don’t like the wording in their documents, they should ask the Board to propose a motion to alter the language and then follow the rules for doing so. Depending on the rest of the rules and state law, that vote might require a supermajority of owners to agree in order to change the rules. Enforcement of the rules of the association is the job of the Board. The Board is made up of democratically elected members of the association and need to reflect the wishes of the association in order to be elected and reelected. It would appear from your comments that you are not particularly fond of the current Board. The only way anything changes is if volunteers from within the association come forward and run for the Board. This might be a good time for you to do so. Good luck!