G.M. from New Haven County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I own one unit out of a 4-unit condo. The owner of the other three units has total control of all funds and will not release to me how much money is in the Reserve. He will not tell me how much the monthly expenses are for the building and that all bills are paid up to date or that all commons fees for all units are being paid and are up to date. He is also doing lots of construction on the common space as well as on his personal units. He will not tell me how much of the funds have been used to do the work on the common space. Is this legal?
Mister Condo replies:
G.M., smaller condos like yours can be particularly challenging. The short answer is that as a unit owner, you are entitled to whatever records of the association you care to inspect. That being said, the majority unit owner will always control the vote on any issue before the association and, from what you have told me, is treating the association’s funds as his own. My advice to you is two-fold. If you are going to continue to own one of these four units, you can shut up and play nice, sell, or hire an attorney to defend yourself from this non-cooperative owner. Whether he has done anything illegal or not is hard to say. I would say he isn’t complying with the spirit of the Connecticut Common Interest Ownership Act (CIOA), which requires all associations to function in an open environment of transparency, which, clearly, he is not.
If it were I, I would put my unit up for sale and cut my losses. However, if you wish to stay, you have rights under the law but you must take the steps to secure those rights. That means bringing suit against the other unit owner to give you access to association records, bank statements, contractor agreements, bills, etc… That likely means the expense of hiring an attorney to take such action. In such a small living environment as a 4-unit condo, I can’t imagine that will make for the neighborliest of living arrangements. However, if you wish to stay in this condo and you wish to know what’s going on, as you should, you really won’t have any other choice. I wish you all the best!