Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Home and Garden

Community Living: Money comes out of the same pockets one way or another

Money to pay is in the same pockets

Q: We have a director who recently sent an email to some of our owners. She is opposed to upcoming amendments to our documents that would transfer repairs and replacements for the condominium to each owner. She reported how she would vote and recommended that the owners vote the same. The email advised selective owners how to vote on the upcoming issues. She did not send the email to those board members who disagree with her. Is this grounds for removal from the board?

A: I do not see that she violated any laws by informing the owners how she felt about the proposed amendments that would be voted at the members meeting. I would wish that our political members would do the same for our citizens. Do you remember the statement recently, "You must pass the bill to see what is in it!"? The amendment addresses who pays for windows. If you think about it, the money to pay comes from the same pockets. Either the owners pay for the windows or they pay the association in their fees to pay for the windows. In that sense, there is no savings. The board and association may face a different problem when the owners begin replacing the windows on their own. Chances are that one owner will use one company and the second owner will use another company. This can result in some windows that are inconsistent with other windows such as maybe a different color or style. There can be another situation in the cost of replacement. That is if the association contracts to replace the windows in bulk, it more than likely will be at a lower price per unit than each owner contracting on their own.

Leverage against owner, not renter

Q: One of our condominium directors rented her unit. Neither the renter nor the owner submitted the screening package to the board as required in our documents. Neither the owner nor the renters respond to our letters. Since she has rented the unit, does she not relinquish her rights to use the common areas? Does the forfeiture of the common elements also extend to the right to serve on the board of directors? What action would you advise to remove the tenant?

A: Let me first address the director's position. Occupancy and ownership are not limited by the statutes to serve on the board. That means that almost any person can be elected as a director. Your documents may have other requirements. That means if the owner is on the board, then the members, not the directors, can recall her or vote her out at the next annual meeting. As to the unapproved rental, that is another situation. The board (less this owner) must send her notices of the violation of renting without approval. If she does not answer the letters, then the matter must be turned over to the association attorney for advice and recommendations. It may mean that the board must approve court action. Remember that you have limited rights to enforce the renter as you are a third party. You do have enforcement powers against the owner, and the attorney will provide that alternative.