1. Life & Culture

Community Living: New policy could resolve parking issue

New policy could solve parking issue

Q: Our townhome development has an active board that does a good job of enforcing the rules and regulations except for one issue. Our documents restrict overnight parking at the clubhouse parking lot. Enforcing this admittedly impractical rule was abandoned many years ago. I asked the board why the documents have not been amended. The answer was that it would take 75 percent of the members' approval, and many of our members are scattered world-wide. It seems that we are setting a bad precedent by enforcing some rules and winking at others. What is your thought on what we should do?

A: Your point is well taken about nonenforcement of some rules. There is a way to seek approval of a document requirement by limited proxy. Anytime you amend the documents, you should engage an attorney to help. That will involve a legal expense and much work and effort. However, I suggest an alternate method that may help. The board can adopt a rules enforcement policy, and in that policy it can exempt the enforcement of the parking violation described. The interesting thing about policies is that they can be changed or modified at future meetings by a simple board vote. While the parking restriction is on the books, the policy would only alter the rule but could at a future date reinstate the rule with a simple vote, if necessary.

Getting involved beats complaining

Q: We have a master board that does not comply with the condominium act. What can we do to force it to comply with the laws? To whom can we report the problems to correct the situation?

A: If you are disturbed by the actions of the board, then you must take the first steps to correct the inaccuracies that upset you. Have you written to the board about the mistakes that concern you? Did you provide the sections of the statutes or the source you want them to correct? Maybe you should ask for a meeting to talk to the directors to explain the issue.

Too many citizens look to others to do the work. If you are unhappy about the way things are accomplished or not accomplished, then it is your responsibility to act.

There are two agencies in the state that may help condominiums: the Office of the Condominium Ombudsman at (850) 922-7671 and the Division of Condominiums at (850) 488-1122. Here is one of the problems if you use these state agencies: You will have to sign a complaint and it will take time. Not only may your condominium face a fine, but it will put you in an adversarial situation with the board and members.

My feeling is that you should volunteer to be a committee member or volunteer to be a candidate before the next annual election. Convince others of the mistakes of the current board and that you will correct the errors. Once on the board, you can fix the mistakes of the previous board. Not only will it be faster than signing a complaint form and sending it to the state, but you will also be more respected by the members.