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Condo Association help wanted: Violations, Board Harassment and Notifications

Posted on Thu, Jan 28, 2010 @ 06:27 AM

What is proper notification for Violations and Board harassment, as per Rules and Regulations. I cannot find what the proper notice requirements are for violations anywhere in our condo association's Rules & Regs, By-Laws or Declaration. This is an unbelievable story. I do see that certified, return receipt has proper notice for other items.

I also just received a Cease and Desist from an Attorney about two specific issues and the attorney sent it by Regular Mail and then Certified with Return Receipt. The issue is - The Oaks Board Secretary sent a nasty email at almost midnight screaming violations and fines. It was totally abusive and way out of line. As far as we know, it was not proper notice to us, nor are there any minutes saying that had a meeting and agreed to send this email that night - we put up our Christmas lights that same afternoon on or deck in the back of the building away from the street. Then a couple weeks later a letter was dropped in the hallway outside our door, not under it (normally they stuff papers underneath). This had 6 violation issues with only one stating a time or place (left door to the condo open). The rest were just as stupid. And if we ever do them again, we are doomed for life.... we might as well just seal ourselves in here. Again, no minutes from any Board meeting saying that The Oaks Board discussed or decided to do this. We are guessing due to the nature of the writing that both were actually written by the partner of the Secretary of the Board who is an part-time attorney who sometimes does free work for the Board - very verbal, nasty and basically ridiculous and out of control. The main violation we consider a Violation of our Constitutional Amendment to Freedom of Religion. Being able to celebrate the holiday with our lights, which we've done for 7 years here already. The Board made a new Rule so we couldn't have our colored Christmas lights on the deck - off the main street, looking into the trees. You guessed it, the President and another Board member are outwardly anti-Catholic. They call them seasonal decorations but this rule was made and directed at us in retaliation last year for calling in University City to cite code violations at The Oaks. This thrown down letter we do not consider proper notice, it also had all these "made up" fines which do not comply with the actual fines listed in the Rules and Regs at The Oaks. (By the way, this and the last Condo Board has voted after the fact to approve items when they have made decisions improperly). We then received a Cease and Desist Letter from an Attorney re contacting Property Management and the Insurance Company which happens to be the same one we use for our Condo Association Insurance. My agent advised me to contact the other agent who we also know personally.

Just this week, we find another "dropped in the hallway" piece of paper, page 2 not provided - Board Minutes from this past week - all about how we, have "recently been assessed fines related to our violation of the Rules and Regs, despite ample warnings". Here's the kicker now, The Oaks Rules and Regs also state that proper procedure to request a hearing is to notify the Property Manager but the attorney wrote in the Cease and Desist that we are not allowed to have any contact with the property manager. And the Rules and Regs require we request a hearing thru the Property Manager. This has really gotten out of hand -and it's all in retaliation for calling in University City for about 30 Code Violations which this and the last Board was cited for. That's a lot. And they were real issues, water leaking, black mold, sitting water, emergency lights not working at all, rotted wood, just to mention a few. We live one block from Clayon in a very nice neighborhood. The building is valued at over 5+ million and these Board have been negligent and the Boards over the past couple years have been negligent and breached their fiduciary duty until we were left with no choice after numerous ignored requests to fix broken or damaged items. And one prior Board member told me they just fixed the items to get it done by the date with no regard to the quality of work done. In this case, I believe the Oaks Board is trying to sidestep the critical issue of dangerous black mold growing in some of our storage lockers which are limited common areas via harassment of us thereby intimidating all other owners by putting half truths in the Board Minutes. The Board told us at the Annual meeting in December (but did not put in writing) that it is our responsibility to fix the drywall and mold issues. Funny, the last Board fixed the other lockers out of condo association funds. ANY HELP IS APPRECIATED. Any lawyers in Clayton or St. Louis who are "really" knowledgeable about these issues. I think the attorney hired to counsel the Condo Association Board used to be with the AG office and appears to be an expert in this area. Thanks.

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i feel as if i have to read read the info several times to get a "feel" for the attitudes of the respective parties. in the meantime i would suggest that you consider complying with the deed restrictions in order to keep the peace, and more importantly to stop being cited for violations.

posted @ Thursday, January 28, 2010 7:22 AM by brian

The board has the right to send out communication of violations at any time. As a condominium owner, one would expect the board to take action. If you/other owners wish to change the bylaws, bring your proposals to the board for a vote. The harsh reality is that you own condominium and if you don't follow the bylaws action should be taken.

posted @ Thursday, January 28, 2010 9:00 AM by Danna

Wow, you have a lot of big issues there! 
First, I agree with the first poster. I would, even if you do not agree or think the process for notification of violations was not followed correctly, comply immediately with any of the alleged violations and note the date of correction. 
Since I manage in Michigan, I am not familiar with Missouri law or documents. I do know Michigan documents most often have a section called "Procedures" in how the violation process and notification is handled. It states that violation notices are to be delivered first class mail or personally delivered. If your documents are similar, while this is ridiculous, it may be allowed. However, if you were never given an opportunity for a hearing, that may be a sticking point. 
I would respond to the board via letter and send it certified with a return reciept. I would outline what has occurred and that you had not recieved notification, what you have done to comply and that you would like a hearing to discuss the matter and that you request (at your expense, and it shouldn't be much - you can even include a check to cover the costs) you be notified of the date and time of the meeting via certified mail. 
If you feel the need, I would inform the board if you plan to bring representation. While they have, from your telling, been unfair, it is prudent and best if you are above board and inform them, so if they feel the need to have representation, they will. If you do go this route, it may be informative to see what advice the board may be getting. If it is "free" advice, are they a qualified real estate attorney? In my opinion, you always get what you pay for. 
I would be very cautious in making claims or statements on abuse, harrassment or "payback", particularly in the meeting. Do not address these other items, only the issues that are particular to you. Give the board the chance to either vindicate or hang themselves. 
The other issues should be addressed separately and you may still need legal counsel for that. You may also consider running for the board or finding candidates who share your views/outlook that you can support for the board. The leadership of the Association is, per the documents, what determines when and how things are done as well as the application, enforcement and possible implementation of rules and regulations. 
The more you push, the more that the board as a group will push back. Give them as few reasons as you can to push back by acting reasonably and logically. I know it is difficult because it is an emotional issue and often it is difficult to keep your emotions out of it.

posted @ Thursday, January 28, 2010 9:02 AM by Joe Schuirmann

Hey sounds like you have your own dictators that have set up shop now that they are in control of the board of directors. I have seen this many, many times. I'm working with a cousin now who is dealing with the same kind of knuckleheads. In fact a board member called the police on him for taking pictures of trash! So you are not alone. First, google your state for condo rules, next look up your states attn General and see what they do for condo problems. Often they will look into things like this but you will need the details. Next if you want email me your condo rules and copies of the letters you have recieved and I'll run over them and have my friends help with a plan. Just dot out your private info. You can email them to me at barbirose@rocketmail.com. I've got off most of this week so I don't mind dealing with idiots like this, call it a hobby. Also, beware that going head to head can get ugly as these sort of idiots can get their minions on your case. Sometimes having a third party, me, lawyer, or friend (using your name as little and not at all if possible) to wage the fight is best, trust me I've seen it all and my volunteer friends have been , threatend, had the police called and had other neighbors get angry with them because the board set them after the percieved threat, you! 

posted @ Sunday, January 31, 2010 2:06 PM by Barbi Rose

Hi Barbie Rose, I have the same problem in my association. I got the certified letter today from USPS to summon me for the hearing next month. The reason that I violate the association law that my garbage can somehow they can see it in my courtyard- that's from their letter. I go around the neighborhood and took all of the garbage can pictures I view from the outside and found out the some of the people not hiding like me but put in public view, in plain sight and don't need to work hard to see their garbage can like the association have to work hard to see my garbage can. There are a lot of house that is where they hide their garbage can like where I hide mine and they even hide there for years. If the association don't enforce the rule they apply to me to other homeowners: is it discrimination against me? Do i have reasonable doubt that they discriminate against me? What should I do about this?  
The letters they sent me before warning me that I violate the law the garbage can only in public view not 12 hours before trash pickup but the date they cite their citation letter is on the date Waste management pick up the trash. Did I violate the law by put out my garbage can for waste management to pick up. Please help because I am so confused right now. If the association use the law in appropriately, the association promote the unrespectfulness to its law from the homeowners? or it will forfeit its right to enforce its law. Is that correct?  

posted @ Friday, February 04, 2011 11:17 PM by harrassed one also

I live in a 54 unit townhome community here in Atlanta, our normal fee was $300 monthly, about a year ago they made a special assesment of $1500 a year on top of the 300 which is close to a 50% increase. The special increase consisted of 3 $500 payments a year on top of our normal 3600. I fell behind and the association has blocked my driveway with construction cement blocks, blocking my garage and when i parked in visitor parking they towed my car away. I was going to pay the 1500 i owed but the lawyer they have retained added additional 1500 for his fee! My garage is blocked and i cannot park anywhere on the property after living here for 6 years. IS this legal?

posted @ Monday, June 06, 2011 9:33 PM by Chris R

I have lived in my condo about 20 years. I served on the board for 10 of those years. I resigned and voiced concerns for ill advised decisions by the new board and mentioned to management that one of the board members was keeping a table an chairs on the common area 24/7. They were asked to remove the furniture and now I have received three violation letters in the past three weeks. Prior to that I received one maybe two over the rest of the 20 years. The sister of the board member told me after the last meeting it was in retaliation and to expect it to continue. The violations were for halloween items out front (none there) overgrown plants in the common area (the associations responsiblity) and a free standing awning to sheild the sun that I have used every summer for years and was approved by the then board. I know the best bet is to replace them but until then any suggestions???

posted @ Monday, July 30, 2012 3:02 AM by Linda Gould

Yeah, yeah we're going through the same thing. We've looked into our finances and then the board started sending us violation letters too. What do we do about these out of control boards? Also our board just recently changed rules and regs without a meeting and didn't distribute new rules to residents.

posted @ Wednesday, August 01, 2012 7:51 PM by Maryjane

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