J.F. from Macomb County, Michigan writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
How, after decades of living here, can the condo association require me to be responsible for weeding? After years of the landscaping being done by the association, out of the blue, I get an email stating that if I don’t weed I’ll be fined. Can they just do this? What next, complete responsibility for the exterior? When will it stop and do I have any recourse?
Mister Condo replies:
J.F., your Board of Directors or Trustees makes decisions like this. Condo associations are largely autonomous to decide how they will be run. You have governing documents to guide you and the Board but things can change. The good news is you and your fellow unit owners have the ability to make change as well. Board members are democratically elected by the membership so use your vote to elect Board members that will properly manage the common areas. Forcing condo unit owners to maintain their limited common areas is unusual and, as you have demonstrated, typically unpopular. The decision usually comes from a misguided notion that the association must cut corners to keep costs down. The cost of landscaping is negligible in the overall picture and there are better ways to control costs. Ultimately, the cost of maintaining the common areas is covered by the common fees. If those fees need to be raised to cover the cost, so be it. Clearly, you have no problem paying for the landscaping and weed control as part of your fees. I am sure most of your neighbors would agree. Let the Board know your displeasure and ask them to restore the weed control to association responsibility. OIf they don’t, you have your reason to campaign against them. All the best!