B.S. from Texas writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I live in a 118-unit condo consisting of numerous townhouses. Recently, our president struck parking restrictions, unilaterally. They were allowing one car on street, the rest in your double garage. Worked well for 15+ yrs. Within 1 year, our landlord properties went from 8 to 25 because of his restriction removal. The net effect of enforcing the prior restriction was to preclude the dormitory style rental units we now have. Occupancy allowable 3 or more folks per bedroom. 3X3 bedrooms means a lot more cars are now on the property. When I challenged this change, he responded that the prior restriction was “unconstitutional”. Given the fact that this is all private property and governed by 118 homeowners/Board, how could that be? Who or what is being discriminated against?
Mister Condo replies:
B.S., I am not an attorney nor I am an expert in Texas community association law. Please consider my advice as friendly. You may require a legal opinion and I encourage you to seek the assistance of a qualified attorney to give you legal advice. For starters, no one Board member, not even the president, can unilaterally strike any rule, including your parking restrictions that were in place for 15 years. Go back and look at the Minutes from the meeting where this was done and see if a proper vote was taken. If not, you should ask that the old restrictions be restored immediately. That will create a problem for the landlords in your association but should alleviate the parking problem you are describing. As far as violating anyone’s constitutional rights, I am at a complete loss as to what your president is referring to. Folks who purchase condo units with the intention of renting them out have rights as outlined in the association’s governing documents. They have the same constitutional rights as do you and me but they have no other constitutional rights with regards to condo ownership that I am aware of. Their tenants need to follow the rules of the HOA, including parking restriction or the landlord is subject to fine and further actions as outlined in your governance documents. I am thinking that based on your comments, your condo board president may be misinformed about what is and isn’t allowable or enforceable at your condo. The president could likely use some training and maybe even some legal guidance before he/she makes any more unilateral decisions that could have major legal consequences for the association. Good luck!