J.M. from New Haven County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Mister Condo replies:
J.M., in my experience, it is not a common practice in Connecticut to impose term limits on Board members. That is not to say it doesn’t happen or that a community association cannot decide to implement term limits; it just isn’t common. In many cases, it isn’t practical either. Let me explain.
Connecticut is home to a great many condominium and homeowners associations. The vast majority of these associations have less than 100 units (most are much smaller than that). Given the requirement of unit ownership as a requirement to serve on the Board, associations often find themselves challenged to find a large enough pool of qualified and interested individuals from within their association to serve on the Board. As an example, let’s take a typical 50-unit association. If we assume 20% of the units are held as rentals and that none of the rental unit owners are interested in serving on the Board, that leaves 40 other unit owners as possible Board volunteers. Now consider that there may be some elderly or infirmed folks who are not physically able to serve. Now, let’s factor in some young professionals who are only planning on living in the community until they start a family and have no plans on staying beyond 4 or 5 years. The potential Board member pool may now be down to 20 or 25 unit owners. In my experience, very few people want to take on the challenge of serving on the Board to begin with. You may be lucky to find 5 or more volunteers willing to serve within such a small pool of eligibility. If 5 or more of them are willing to serve on the Board, how could you limit them? There may be no replacements.
What is far more common is for new volunteers to come forward or be recruited by existing Board members. Many long-serving Board members I speak with tell the story of HAVING to serve on the Board as there are no new volunteers. I think they would welcome a term limit so they could stop serving but they understand that without their volunteer service, the community would not be governed properly.
The ultimate solution to term limits is to get the community energized and ready to serve. Elections for Board members are held every year and there is no reason that good people can’t be voted in and poor performers can be voted out. This happens quite commonly at condominiums and HOAs here and around the country. When it works properly, it is a great example of democracy in action. All the best!