S.C. from New Mexico writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We are a 4-plex condo. One unit just painted theirs a different color without board approval. The owners held a short meeting, we believed to discuss the violation but to our surprise the former president called votes on painting and changing the colors. Our unit was not in need of maintenance. Shouldn’t the vote have been between just the 3 affected units and if so the 2 – 1 votes couldn’t pass a required 51%. Yet they are proceeding and allowed the unit that violated our bylaws to vote. No fine. Is this lawful? Also, our bylaws state a new BOD is to be designated Annually on 1st of September. There was no annual meeting called on 9/1/19. Doesn’t that mean at this present time there is no BOD?
Mister Condo replies:
S.C., in a small condo association like yours, there are bound to be disagreements when independent thinkers violate rules and the governance documents that dictate how the condo has to be run. With only 4 owners, there could be a lot of 2-2 ties where nothing gets done. From what you have told me, folks are just shooting from the hip and waiting to see how this plays out. The reality is it will come down to a battle of wills. The concept of Architectural Conformity is typically spelled out in your condo documents. You claim that the documents prohibit a unit owner from painting their unit any color they wish. Most condos don’t allow unit owners to paint their condos at all; the association hires the painting contractor and dictates the color. Is that not how it works in your association? Board meetings are formal events that need to have a published agenda. It sounds like there was no agenda and the vote was held to allow the paint color. Was that correct? No, but that’s what happened. The question now is what are you going to do about it. If the other 3 unit owners are happy, you can either go along or you can sue the association for undue process. This is expensive and time-consuming and likely not worth your time or money. If it were me, I’d sell my unit and move someplace where I either had control over my own destiny like a single-family home, or a unit in a larger association (50+ units) where ridiculous happenings like this are far less likely to occur. This is the equivalent of “condo amateur hour” pure and simple. The needed rules exist but they are not being followed. The only way to make the other unit owners and Board members follow the rules is to sue. Not worth it, in my opinion. Good luck!