S.H. from Litchfield County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
My condo board seems to be selectively enforcing parking rules. The board has made it clear that condo owners may not use visitor parking for their own personal vehicles and have sent notices to some owners that do so, but the president and some others do not follow these same rules, stating that they were given permission by the board to not have to follow these rules. The problem is the rule does not provide for any exceptions, and unit owners are not provided with the reasons or criteria the board used in determining what and why these exceptions are granted, only stating they were given permission. Can the board just make what appears to be arbitrary exceptions to enforced rules?
Mister Condo replies:
S.H., in a word, “No”! If what you are saying is true, this Board could well find itself coming under a good bit of scrutiny in the not too distant future. Board members are volunteer members from within the community they serve. As such, they are subject to all of the same rules and regulations that all community members leave by. They are not members of the aristocracy who may exempt themselves from rules, parking or other, as they see fit. If they choose to enforce rules against some unit owners but not all, they have opened up themselves and the association to a discrimination lawsuit which could be quite costly to the community. Also, the Fair Housing Administration (FHA) does not look kindly upon associations that use discriminatory practices. A federal lawsuit could also be in their future if they don’t begin behaving properly.
I would alert the Board in writing that these practices are unfair and that they are breaking the law. If they do not cease this behavior you should get together with fellow unit owners and seek relief by filing suit against them. Of course, a far simpler solution is to remove them from office, either at the next annual election or by an emergency meeting of the membership for the purpose of recalling the Board members. Of course, you need to have new volunteers from the community ready to step forward and serve for that to happen. I wish you good luck in resolving this potential nightmare within your association as soon as possible.