Community Living: Condo association meetings require proper notice

Q: I am a member of a condominium association. The notice for a board meeting recently was posted for approximately 28 hours, not 48 hours as required by statute. What is the recourse, if any, on the matters that were discussed and the voting that was done at this meeting? Since the meeting was in violation does the meeting and all that was discussed and voted on become null and void? Shouldn't management know the statutes? If so, they did not stop the meeting or challenge it. They took an active part in the meeting. Is there anyone that I could contact to file a complaint against this meeting? How would a complaint be filed?

A: You are correct that board meetings should be posted 48 hours in advance of the meeting. You have the right to report the matter to the state condominium division. However, it would be best to try to work with the board rather than try to find fault and make a written claim with the state. You did not say this is a common event that they post the notice incorrectly for all meetings but your question indicates this was a one-time event. I would send a letter to the board and remind them that they need a 48-hour notice for all board meetings. All the board needs to do is ratify all motions at the next meeting to make them legal. You need to be a watchdog but at the same time work with the board. As for the manager, they could have made an error or forgotten to post in time and thus would be disciplined by the board since they have duties for meeting procedures.

Rewards trump risk of using volunteers

Q: There are two vacant houses in our association, one with a swimming pool. Two owners are mowing the vacant properties. You have said that the fact that the landscaper is an owner creates no exemption if an injury or accident happens. The association will have to pay, and the association's insurance will not cover the loss. Further, the board is discussing having volunteer owners mulch the common areas. They are aware of the insurance requirement, but are trying to save some dollars. I have strongly advised against any owner doing any work for the association. Would you please address the situation?

A: Though the association will take a chance using uninsured volunteers, I have said that I understand that volunteers have value. Some communities have sizable numbers of members that want to do tasks. In the case of vacant homes, neighbors feel the need to protect their own property and do the work. Allowing the members to do volunteer tasks is a risk. In most situations, the risk is small and the rewards are high.

It should not be a situation for the total maintenance program but a time-to-time action. There are two basic problem areas for volunteer programs. The first is the liability and the second is the weakness of such cost-saving not properly recorded in the financial statements. In these hard times, I would say let them cut the grass.

Roof replacement plan raises questions

Q: I live in a homeowners association that consists of eight one-floor townhouse buildings. We have had leaks in various units that seem above what would be normal for a 10-year-old building. The board has repaired the leaks in a timely manner when notified. Our association has reserves but not enough to pay for new roofs. The board has decided to replace all the roofs on all the buildings with the same type roof, but will need to assess all owners. Can the board assess our association owners for new roofs when not all units or even a majority of all units have had leaks? Is this assessment considered a capital improvement requiring a vote of all members?

A: The roof replacement is a common area component and thus is required to be maintained by the board. Since you do not have sufficient reserves, the board can approve a special assessment to replace the roof. It would not be considered a capital improvement if the roof is replaced by a similar style and similar color roof. If, on the other hand, the roof's color or texture is changed, then you would need the members to vote on the change. You should read your documents concerning your question as sometimes the roof repairs can be paid by only the owners of the specific building.

Richard White is a licensed community associations manager. He can be reached at CAMquestions@cfl.rr.com. Please include your name and city. Personal replies are not possible. Online: talkwithcam.com.

Community Living: Condo association meetings require proper notice 11/28/08 [Last modified: Friday, November 28, 2008 3:30am]

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