Thursday, May 24, 2018
Home and Garden

Community Living: Return of ousted bad director

Q: Our documents allow the members to recall a bad director. What is not in the documents is the restriction on the same person from becoming a candidate at the next election. It makes sense that if a director was bad, he would not be wanted on future boards. But who knows how the next election will come out?

A: Yes, it would be possible for an individual to volunteer to be a candidate in a future election. Just because a few owners were able to recall the director does not take away his right to be a candidate in future elections. If there was cause and he is elected, then you need to address the problem with the members who voted for him. Part of the problem with elections today is that too many members do not know the issues and just vote because they like the name or he was first on the list. Even more often, the candidate says the things that people want to hear and gets elected. When the members cast their vote and do not know the issues, then they get what they deserve. If there is a candidate that you do not like, then it is up to you to volunteer your time to see that he is not elected.

Accommodating the disabled owner

Q: A member of our condominium was permitted to install a small wooden ramp to allow the handicapped member to enter his unit. Directors approved the addition. Another director is complaining that the documents specify that no changes to the exterior and common elements can be added. He wants the wood ramp removed. The director is threatening to sue the board if the ramp is not removed. We realize that the Americans with Disabilities Act requires reasonable accommodations for disabled members. What is the best way to handle this?

A: A request to install an elevator outside the building to allow the handicapped owner to escape without using stairs may be unreasonable because it would alter the exterior of the building. A small ramp that does not create a blockage or trip hazard is reasonable, and should be allowed. It should be at the handicapped owner's expense and removed if the owner sells his unit or no longer needs the ramp, again at his expense.

An attorney advised me many years back that if a handicapped owner makes a request, the board should approve it as soon as possible if it did not create a hazard or defaced the property. In addition, he advised me that any expense to install the apparatus would be at the disabled resident's expense. However, if a request to install a device or safety item involved a limited expense, and other members of the community would have use of the addition, the board should approve the request and pay with the association's expense. An example is a handrail at the swimming pool or a safety rail at steps where the cost is no more than a couple of hundred dollars. When modification or repairs are made to the building, disability issues should be considered. Seek advice from the association attorney and even the fire inspector if a ramp might block the walk.