Fair or unfair, fees set by documents
Q: Included in our budget are two line items that seem to be unfair. One is our lawn service and another is the painting reserve. Since the homes are different sizes from a small two-bedroom to a large four-bedroom, two-story home, the expenses should be different to maintain. However, we pay the same for the services. Is this fair and are there violations of laws for these unfair charges?
Living in a small home seems that we are paying for services for other homes.
A: Over the past few years the word "fair" seems to come up more and more in the questions sent to me. I grew up being told that life is not fair and you must make the best decision when you are confronted with a problem. Events in life and opportunities presented and how we deal with these situations will be determined by what we know and believe.
Are you aware that each association has a set of document that defines how the association operates and what rights, obligations, and duties the members have? When you purchased your home, you agreed to comply within these document boundaries. That was the time to ask the questions and you then had the choice to say I will agree with these rules and operations or say I do not agree and will not purchase the home.
My guess is that well over 75 percent of new purchasers never read these documents and the rules and regulations. That is a huge error on their part as they are bound by these documents.
Someplace in these documents, it defines how the fees are to be divided and charged. My guess is that your documents define that all expenses shall be divided equally or at a certain percentage.
If that is true, then you accepted that requirement when you purchased your home.
Think of it this way: The equal charges may require you to pay the same for unequal services but that was the way your association was created.
The final answer is that there is no fair way or unfair way for the association to operate and it is the purpose of the documents to establish the policies and operations.
Quorum makes it a board meeting
Q: During a board workshop, they established that Robert's Rules of Order would be used. During the meeting, they voted and approved a motion with no input from the members present. They allow any discussion only after the meeting. I would appreciate your recommendations on this circumstance.
A: While the board is allowed to set meeting policies, and Robert's is one of the options, they needed to follow their own policies.
However, if they called it a workshop, in the eyes of the state statutes, it was an illegal meeting. If a quorum of directors is meeting to discuss association business, it was a board meeting. If less than a quorum of the directors is meeting, it could be considered a committee meeting. Usually, committees do not make final decisions or take final votes.