Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Home and Garden

Community Living: Basic rights for co-op shareholders, condo renovations

Q: If the board of a condominium decides to do renovations and does not conduct a vote for approval by the owners, are the owners, by law, obligated to pay the assessment?

A: The condominium act requires a board to maintain the property. This is their primary responsibility. If the renovations only replace aging or depreciated items by like kind repairs, that is the board's responsibility. If the replacements are similar in nature to the items being repaired or renovated, the board can take action without a unit member's vote. I cannot tell you the degree of change renovated except to only say it must be similar.

If your building needs to be painted, then the board can vote to paint the building in similar colors. All should know that property depreciates, furniture, fixtures equipment and systems also wear out and they need to be replaced every few years.

If the board wants to make radical changes, the members should vote on the changes. Any board wanting to change or replace a common element that could be in question as to the degree of change should seek legal guidance.

You do have some rights, but not all

Q: Would you identify the basic rights of shareholders in a resident-owned cooperative 55-plus mobile home park? We are suffering from a scary board of directors. Between now and election time can we canvass shareholders, distribute information and have meetings in order to help facilitate not electing most of these members/

A: Let me paraphrase a brochure created by the condominium division titled "Condominium Unit Owner Rights And Responsibilities." While you're referring to cooperatives, this brochure applies to homeowner associations as well as co-ops.

Your rights include notices of meetings, the right to attend meetings, receive notice of any legal action, the limited right to speak at meetings, record meetings, receive notice of budget or special assessments, vote at collections to select directors, and vote for motions and amendments. You have a right to financial information and administrative documents upon written request to the board. You have a right to use association properties and common elements and a duty to respect these properties through proper usage.

As a member you have responsibilities. They include paying your fair share of the common expense as required. Your responsibilities include the use of your private area and common areas not to hinder or infringe on the rights of other owners. You have a responsibility to know the rules, documents, and statues. As to your second part involving your right to talk to other owners, have meetings, or publish information; you have that right.

You cannot publish or communicate incorrect information. Use positive statements rather than negative or slanderous remarks.

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