K.M. from Massachusetts writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I’m a Trustee in a 2-unit condo. The condo is self-managed and dysfunctional. No voting is occurring. The other Trustee is selling their unit, and has a buyer. There are some outstanding repair issues that I have tried to resolve with the other Trustee, but they have ignored all my attempts and my lawyer’s attempts to address these outstanding deferred maintenance issues (exterior paint, broken common area window, small common area equipment repair, and attic ventilation). The listing agent representing my neighbor is requesting a Condo budget from me, stating the buyers need it as part of the lending process. Is this correct? Wouldn’t the seller be responsible for this or is there a conflict of the interest with them doing so? The problem is that the only budget we ever had is from when the condo units were bought from the Declarant back in 2011 (when the condo was established). The listing agent stated if I send them our yearly income and expenses they will draft one for me for my approval. I don’t want the buyers to be misinformed and to think there’s enough money in the account to cover the exterior paint and other repairs. The other problem is that the common area equipment in need of repair, and attic is in a limited common area (only I have access) and I’m afraid that will be missed during the upcoming inspection. My neighbor is also blocking the broken basement window with a truck parked up against it, so I’m afraid that will be missed also. I have drafted a proposed budget, but my question is should the “assessments” (exterior paint, attic ventilation fan, and repairs) be included on the budget? My guess is yes they should be on the budget and I shouldn’t approve any budget which doesn’t include the outstanding repairs…
Mister Condo replies:
K.M., all I can say is “Wow”! I had to edit down your full question as you got in to tremendous detail. I commend your efforts at maintaining your property and fulfilling your duty as Trustee. 2-unit condos only “work” when the trustees are in agreement about how the condo (usually an older two-family home) will be maintained. Clearly, the current owner doesn’t share your desire to maintain the property, prompting legal action on your part. Within the law, that is about all you can do. The good news is that you will soon have a new trustee to deal with. Hopefully, this trustee will share your vision of how the property should be maintained. If not, more legal battles will likely ensue. Honestly, if the new unit owner isn’t more amiable and agreeable to proper maintenance and repair of the condo, I would strongly consider selling and moving out. All of the money and effort you are spending trying to get the other unit owner to agree to the needed repairs would be far better spent on the actual maintenance of the condo. You have already engaged the services of an attorney. If the attorney cannot suggest a legal remedy to this situation, that should be all you need to know about your likely future happiness at this condo. Good luck!