S.G. from Florida writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I live in a non age-restricted, non-gated, condo association on the Florida east coast. We have carport parking, open walkways, open elevator access and no security. While many residents/owners/renters, are seasonal, semi, or fully retired, I am one of the younger, single, female year-round owner/residents. I do enjoy living here, and being a vested part of our community. But, I have two safety/privacy concerns.
There is a very visible posted list with the complete FULL name, first and last name/names of owners, posted at the entrance of each building along with the unit #. (The postal service removed names from the mailboxes years ago!) Yet, this resident condo board list remains, posted and updated, remaining with my FULL name. I have requested that only my last name be posted, or first initial, last name but to no avail.
I am told that the information is acquired from the property management company of the association, and posted according to their records. Does this public posting of my full name not require my permission? Why can I not require/expect my request to at least be modified to only a last name?
Second issue. I have an assigned parking space for my unit as outlined in my deed/purchase agreement. It has a plaque on the curb stop with the unit #. I do not like that there is a unit # posted on my parking stop. Again, for safety reasons, I have proposed that the stops be stenciled with “reserved”, rather than actual unit #.
I am told by the board that it is not going to happen because visitors and rescue workers need to see the names of where to go on the posted roster, and that there are residents, or renters whom will not know where to park if not marked by unit #. What are your thoughts? This does not make sense to me.
Mister Condo replies:
S.G., I can sense your frustration with your Board for them not taking this potential security problem far more serious than they probably should. Just because a crime hasn’t occurred within your community yet is no reason for the Board to not follow Best Practices. Heaven forbid something happen to you or another resident and the Board be found liable for facilitating the crime because they missed an opportunity to keep residents safe.
From a governance or legal standpoint, I do not think they are doing anything wrong. Yet, from a common sense standpoint, I do not think they are doing it right either. The Foundation for Community Association Research actually has published a free PDF on the subject matter that I encourage you to download and share with your Board. You can find the document at http://www.cairf.org/research/bpsecurity.pdf#search=”security“
There are many ideas about best practices for security within community associations in the report. One of the suggestions is to add a Neighborhood Watch program which involves local law enforcement. My guess is that if you were to speak with local law enforcement they would have numerous ideas about how better to secure your community and protect the individuals within. I am also pretty sure that they would not find your requests unreasonable.
Remember that the Board of your condo serves at the discretion of the unit owners. If the Board is not carrying out the wishes of unit owners, you can always vote them out of office and vote into office new leaders that will embrace this security challenge. Good luck!