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Dealing with bad condo association politics and behavior

Posted on Mon, Apr 26, 2010 @ 08:00 AM
  
  
  
  

We have a small 9 unit condo association building. Three of the owners do not live in the condo building, which leaves six people actually available to serve on the Condo Association Board of Directors, and we have a five member board of directors.

The problem is the remaining association members. One is violently disruptive at all board meetings. He also holds the proxy of one of the non-residents, so it is hard to work around him. Another is also disruptive and rude, frequently supporting, then opposing, necessary work on the building such as roof repair and painting. She seems to enjoy creating cliques and pressure groups among the few people who do live here. It has become actually impossible to run condo association board meetings.

With such a small number of people to take part in condo association management, we have to work with these people. Usually, whoever is the president of the board quits after one year because they cannot stand the stress brought on by these people. Our condo building needs major work, yet due to the lack of concern of the live-away owners, and the childish nature of those who do, we cannot get any work done.

Does anybody have any suggestions about dealing with situations like this?

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COMMENTS

Follow Robert's Rules of Order and stick to the agenda. Adopt limits on speaking (time and number of times) and stick to them. 
 
I usually advise Boards who have had this problem to start the meeting off by saying that this is a Board meeting, the Board is here to conduct business all questions or comments should be held until it is time for the discussion on the matter. They usually add in that if an item is not on the agenda, they will not address it. This keeps the meeting on track and allows business to be handled. 
 
If the issue is not one which requires unit owner vote (usually upkeep, maintenance and repair), do not put the issue to unit owner vote. Check your condo docs for items which require unit owner vote. 
 
As for the person who is getting the other owners worked up, approach the individual and have a nice one on one with them.

posted @ Monday, April 26, 2010 9:40 AM by Joyce @ bestcondocomanager.com


We have a similiar problem. It is a small complex, 9 unit owners. A few people control the Board and continue to do whatever they please. Complaints have been filed against the Board through the State. The State found the Board was not following state law (and oh by the way the condo docs). The Board agreed to a State Consent order and paid a civil fine. But that has not changed a thing. The Board continues to do whatever they please.  
 
They avoid having discusions at Board meetings, by not holding Board meetings. All decisions are made in a "back room" meetings. 
 
 
 
I'd love to sell my condo, but we have the highest Association fees in our market. The Real Estate Agents are reluntant to show my unit. There have been several people who have seen and loved the unit. But, they found the fees painful and purchased units in complexes with lower fees. 
 
 
 
In your case, why not see if all sides would agree to work through medation. Maybe with a neutral party in the room all parties could reach an agreement. 
 

posted @ Monday, April 26, 2010 9:49 AM by Cheryl Gowin


I was planning to buy another condo but after the mess I have with one in Brunswick and the poor management of all condos I decided against it. No body want to live any more in condos because of poor management and disruptive owners

posted @ Monday, April 26, 2010 4:28 PM by Encarnacion Martinez


Granted there are bad managers out there, but not every manager out there is bad.  
 
Often it is unit owners who purchase condos not fully understanding the form of ownership or the requirements of living in a co-owned community. 
 
If Managers are enforcing the condo docs it doesn't make them bad managers. They are only doing as they are required to do and should not be penalized for it. Often times it is owners / residents who do not adequately understand the role of management and deem managers bad when in fact they truly don't know the role of managers and are only making assumptions.

posted @ Monday, April 26, 2010 5:07 PM by Joyce @ bestcondomanager.com


I SO sympathize! Mine is the same way and has been for 6 years. One person who just screams and has fits both in meetings, in emails, and with contractors! Drives me insane! My solution was to walk away from the BOD for several years. By the time I came back - same people, same problems - but I insisted that I be president if they wanted me on it. Much to my agony, I just have to set strict limits on agendas and times in meetings and force through votes when necessary. I found a couple of new folks to join and warned them of bad politics that they would have to endure. good news is the "crazies" have shown themselves to look so bad that the new folks are getting backbones and standing up for the communities needs. In the interm the community fell apart and now needs 1M in building repairs - but it got the communities attention that they shouldn't try to count on anyone to have their back on bod issues. it worked for me - but yes it's tough. but if you can change them walk away and make sure everyone in the community knows why.

posted @ Tuesday, April 27, 2010 8:46 PM by LLH


Most Condo board meetings use "Roberts Rules of Order".These are rules which are almost universally used to guide Board meetings. It is perfectly legal under these rules to require any unit owner who wishes to speak at the meeting to enter his name, unit number and topic on a sign in sheet befiore the meeting starts. It is also the pererogative of a board,using Roberts rules to time limit speakers who signed in for example 3 minutes or 5 minutes. If the unit owner insists on more time suggest he file his comments in writing and address them to the board for consideration. Unless the board establishes controls you face excessively long meetings that benefit no one.

posted @ Friday, May 07, 2010 10:17 AM by Scott Adler


The manager of the building that I live has a very bad temper and treat the people very bad. I made the complaint to the Board of Director, but he is a friend of the director. I also make the complaint to the management company that hired the manager without result. I am thinking to sue him for Battery, What do you advise me to do it?.

posted @ Tuesday, May 11, 2010 11:14 PM by Ari


In Montgomer County,Maryland where my condo is located, the county has an office for Consumer Protection. While this board serves as an informed impartial mediator with no power to punish they carry a very inflential stick. If your county,city or state has a similar agency and you have unresolved issue with your board that's the place to go for help. They do have forms one has to complete and if thety feel the claim warrants an imnvestigation they will do so. Just the appearance of a government investigator may lead to a change in attitude by the board.

posted @ Wednesday, May 12, 2010 7:35 AM by Scott Adler


I live in 12 unit condo and the major problems are 1) Most of the owners do not understand the Condominium Regime or bylaws or care to understand them, 2) the Board of Directors and most of the owners ignore the Regime and bylaws and think I am a problem when I insist they follow the rules and the contract. 3) we have 3 out of 12 rented units 4) the state and municipality have no little in the way of regulatory bodies that would intervene.  
 
The only action is suing or withholding fee payments and forcing a suit or mediation.  
 
Despite language calling for review of the accounts annually, that has not been done ever, and the treasurer is becoming a sicker alcoholic.

posted @ Wednesday, December 29, 2010 10:06 AM by John Mastro


Joyced. If you follow Roberts Rules then the assembly (attendees) have the perogatiove to vote to adopt the agenda. The assembly may offer amendments to any proposed agenda,may add items to the agenda or may even remove items from the proposed agenda. ItAfter permissable discussion a majority vote of the attendees adopts the agenda that has been developed. You are quite correct that there shall be no discussion of iotems not on the agenda. This is to insure that the entire focus of the meeting is on the agenda and not other issues. Failure to strictly follow this rule usually leads to interminnable meetings during which the chair most likely loses control and ther resulting conversation becomes uncontrollable

posted @ Wednesday, December 29, 2010 11:27 AM by Scott


Under Florida law (of which I am always referring, if I forget to make that clear), the attendees (and board) do not have the right to act or discuss an item not on the agenda AND unit owners can only petition 60 days in advance of any meeting to have an item added to the agenda. I believe there is also a requirement for the non board member owner to have 20% of the members sign on the petition to have an item added.

posted @ Wednesday, December 29, 2010 11:55 AM by Joyce Nord @ bestcondomanager.com


Hello... I am in a difficult situation with my HOA and I don't know what to do. I think my only option left is to move. They do not hold board meetings. Ever. There is never a re-election. The same people have been the board members for years. They collect maintenance fee and do not give receipts. And as of recently, they sent a statement saying that I owe them for the last 8mths when I have carbon copies of my checks as proof that I have paid them. With the maintenance money, all that's payed is trash collection. They don't clean, cut grass, pick up trash, etc. A couple months ago, the treasurer of the HOA had a trailer stolen from the parking lot and they have accused my husband of stealing the trailer and have slandered his name throughout the neighborhood. We leaks in both of our bathrooms from inside the walls. As we were told by insurance it is the HOA's responsibility to fix that, they refuse to help us. We live in broward county Florida. Please, if anyone can help us, I would greatly appreciate it.

posted @ Tuesday, January 04, 2011 7:36 PM by Nikita b.


Condos are among the worst form of housing. Lawyers and those who make money from this type of housing claim most boards are good. This is just not true. These boards sit on a pile of money, and slyly use it for their own ends. The condo board are legalized robbery, leaving owners with little to show for their ownership.

posted @ Thursday, March 31, 2011 11:19 AM by sera


Mr. Martinez-you only read on this board aboutsociations that are mismanaged. Those that manage and satify their owners don't p[ost here. There are many time more happy condos than there are unhappy ones.

posted @ Thursday, March 31, 2011 6:13 PM by Scott


I think the best option is to bar the individual from the meetings as best as possible. If this cannot stand as an association vote then it is advised to have meetings at individual's houses and have that person refuse to have the person come into their house, but they are allowed ot have someone hold a proxy vote for them if anything is to be voted. We've been successful with the earlier advice of using Robert's Rules of Order combined with a vote at the beginning of the meeting to fine someone $100 for any disruption.

posted @ Thursday, May 26, 2011 8:08 PM by Bob Fannin


Welcome to the land of make believe! If you own a condo and are under the direction of a board, hopefully you have a group of homeowners with common sense, a moral compass and some business acumen.  
 
Most likely, this is not the case. 
 
Our "little slice of heaven" is a shambles. The same property manager and landscaper (married) have had "control" of the community for over 20 years.  
 
Although they own property within the PUD, these contractors pay no water or garbage for their privately owned and operated RV lot located within the PUD, they pay nothing into the common fund to provide their "fair share" of the common expenses either!  
 
This fact came out in a recent deposition...as well as the fact the property manager failed to include the golf and country club financials in the resale certificates! She did not feel new homeowners needed to have that information...so people who purchased had no idea they would be funding a business that operates with a deficit budget and does not follow GAAP. (The golf and country club and the golf course are loosing money...and have not been sustainable without a steady influx of cash from the homeowners for DECADES. In fact, they have less than 1/3rd the golfing memberships they had in 2000 and ZERO reserves!)  
 
Want to play golf? As a homeowner, even though you are assessed for the G&CC expenses and you DO NOT OWN any part of this business or the property, in order to play golf you have to pay an additional monthly fee! 
 
The property manager is the bookkeeper and President of her husband's business...which states that the community mangers office is his "official place of business" ....on his landscaping business license! 
 
The property manager writes the invoices for her husband's landscaping business...and sends those invoices to herself. She has sole control over the financials...she gets the bank statements, reconciles the ledger and writes the checks! Do not ask to see the records. The records policy states you can't see them unless she decides you can. LMAO 
 
When she writes the checks (Homeowners recently discovered that the communities 7 unincorporated condo associations, the non-profit corporation and the golf and country club's corporate business accounts and some of the reserve accounts are commingled in 1 bank account under the sole oversight of the property manager)....the 1st 2 checks she writes are to herself and to her husband...while vendors, staff and utilities go unpaid...and late fees are added to these invoices month after month! 
 
These 2 contractors have never had a competitive bid submitted against their services...and we are GROSSLY overpaying them.  
 
Recently, when the property manager was asked to provide details of her husband's contracted work...she stated: "Why would I do that? So you can bid against my husband? Not going to happen!" She said this at a Trustee meeting...and guess what? Although her husband is charging twice as much....the board isn't going to consider competitive bids at this time! 
 
Why? 
 
The people on the board want nothing to change and believe that "most homeowners will just write a check".  
 
This woman, she will go to great lengths to circumvent any interference of her power...it's a small community...in the past, most people could just sell and get out...now the skeletons are getting dug up and it is a freaking mess.  
 
The lawsuit the Trustee's began against 3 homeowners who refused to pay for something they did not own blew up in their face! The court has ORDERED that the 8 "entities" that exist must have separate bank accounts, in their own respective names. COMMINGLING of FUNDS was ordered by the court to end in April 201. Here it is mid August and nothing has been done to rectify the situation. 
 
The financial audits were performed by the same person at the same accounting firm for over a decade! GAAP was not followed at all....records are missing. 
 
Guess what? The Trustees have turned over the accounting of the G&CC to....the property manger! 
 
Honestly, what a bunch of fools...the woman should be fired at the very least! She keeps the financial records of the 8 "entities" on an excel spreadsheet! 
 
In court, the Judge couldn't figure out how money could be directed from one column that had a NEGATIVE BALANCE to the G&CC column.....it was hilarious to watch unfold. She quickly and decisively determined the funds were being COMMINGLED. 
 
The property manager's supporters still do not understand the gravity of this situation. Is it any wonder they can't split up the money into separate accounts? I wonder if they will ever be able to figure it out. 
 
The lawsuit? It pointed out the glaring, gaping holes that exist within the current set(s) of governing documents. JUST WRITE A CHECK...has new meaning in this community.  
 
Try to "sell" your property with that mess to disclose to new buyers and monthly dues that are 3 times what they should be. 
 
Special assessments? In 7 years we had 8 special assessments, in addition to the absurd monthly dues...and we still can't tell where the money went. 
 
LMAO.

posted @ Friday, August 19, 2011 9:15 AM by Condo Nightmare101


OH! We had no less than 8 different accounting firms, CPA's and independent's try to reconcile the G&CC financial records. 
 
Since 2006, the Finance Committee members are still waiting for an accounting where the figures "add up" and/or the funds coming in and the funds going out can be properly identified and tracked. 
 
The most recent financial statements are over 6 months old...and the G&CC operation is losing $7-15,000 a month (NO reserves...and everything needs fixing and repair).

posted @ Friday, August 19, 2011 9:22 AM by Condo Nightmare101


Our condo association is rife with politics. When we wanted stuff on the outside fixed, they ignored us and thought we would go away because we were new to the condo assn. They refuse to do an audit because they told us it costs too much and why would someone want to to an audit to such an honest association (Major red flag). When we started demanding our issues to be addressed by way of lawyers/reporting to the BBB, the board members started conspiring and spreading lies against us to ostracize us from the rest of the community. The board members are constantly doing each other favors and they recycle the same group of people to positions on the board. The other problem is that quite a few of the owners are senior citizens who would rather get screwed over by the board than have to deal with making things right at this point in their lives. The votings are very shady and most of the stuff discussed at meetings is utter bullshit to sway people from the real problems.  
Has anyone had any success by not paying association dues? I think sooner or later it is going to come down to this. It is amazing that there are no state or federal laws which would help condo owners from tyrants and bullies which huddle in groups. I think they get away with what they do because there are no laws to protect us.

posted @ Sunday, April 22, 2012 6:07 PM by Essemme


Hello, 
I live in a 41 unit condo in N.J. I purchased the unit in December 2012. Ever since I moved in, I noticed that there was very little to no heat in my unit and the unit downstairs. While all other condos around me have heat in the mid 70 to 80 degrees, the heat in my unit is between 59 to 63 in the living room and 65 to 68 in the bedroom. My downstairs neighbor has her unit cold but a bit warmer than my unit. The heat is not warm enough to the point that one can comfortably hold on the pipe without getting burned. 
 
Both my neighbor and I reported the lack of heat to the condo association as well as management. Management, sent a plumber who tried to convince me that a heater that does not emit heat is normal in a building that was built in 1965. However, the plumber did not offer any explanation as to why everybody else has it really warm inside their units except my unit and the unit down stairs. He indicated that my unit is at the end of the pipeline and therefore I get less heat than other units. Now I pay the same HOA fees like everybody else and I expect to have the same service. Neither the association nor property management are dealing with the problem. 
 
 
I am not sure as to what I should do. I have complained to management on several occasions but nothing is done. Management insists that 65-68 is in accordance with NJ code. However, everybody else has their heat closer to 80 degrees. What can I do? How to deal with such management who wants to single me and my downstairs neighbor out because they do not want to fix the problem and seems to be afraid to face extra expenses ? 
 
What can I do in this situation? I am constantly getting sick due to the lack of heat inside the apartment. 
 
 
Thanks,

posted @ Saturday, January 26, 2013 8:33 PM by Ron


It sounds like small condos have just as many problems (if not more) than large ones do. In my area, our biggest problem was in how people were disposing of garbage. It became a huge fight over who had to pay fees for the trash maintenance. We eventually figured it out by resorting to a lawyer and actually enforcing our bylaws with fines. Maybe the same would work for you. 
 
Jenn | http://www.betterhomesappliance.com

posted @ Tuesday, July 22, 2014 5:10 PM by Jennifer Davies


After years of dealing with a self serving, morally corrupt Condo Board, my advice is sell. 
Someone gave me that advice years ago and I regret not following it. 
I have wasted years of my life and tens of thousands of dollars. 
Sell and Move. 
"You can not make a good business deal with bad people" -Warren Buffett 
These units maybe our homes, but part of the reason we are owners is for the equity. 
Save yourselves!

posted @ Thursday, August 28, 2014 3:57 PM by SheilaM


When my wife and I first bought a condo, it was filled with mold. When we tried to bring it to the managements attention, they blew us off for over a month. Finally they came and fixed the problem. When dealing with bad condo management, persistence is the key. http://fsrkc.com

posted @ Wednesday, September 17, 2014 8:24 PM by Kyle McDonald


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