L.C. from outside of Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
The Board was notified of a non-compliance issue by a unit owner regarding another unit owner. Since we don’t have a management company & the Board doesn’t police the area, are we able to address this one complaint even if other owners are also in non-compliance?
Mister Condo replies:
L.C., a Board that takes selective action against single unit owners who are not in compliance with association rules and regulations while allowing other unit owners to behave in the same manner is playing with fire, in my opinion, as they are very likely going to be sued for discrimination by the unit owners they take action against. The Board may selectively choose not to enforce each and every rule of an association but they must do so in uniform fashion. For instance, if two unit owners decide to install hot tubs and the association doesn’t all hot tubs, both unit owners should be pursued to remove their hot tubs. If only one unit owner is pursued while the other unit owner is not pursued, discrimination has occurred and the unit owner could sue. More commonly, I see Boards go after pet owners who violate the one or two pet policy rule. They can enforce their rules but they must do so unilaterally so that all unit owners are treated equally.
The Board does not need to police an area of the condo to enforce the rules. If rules violations are reported the Board should take action. That action may include a walk-through and inspection of the area in questions where more violations may be noticed. Again, once the violations are noticed, they should be acted upon (or not) in a unilateral method. You can’t go after one unit owner for a ripped awning when the neighboring unit also has a ripped awning but is not cited for it. It really is as simple as treating all unit owners in the same manner. Good luck!