Your flower box looks really nice and safe but If they let you put up a flower box there will be the inevitable idiot who puts up a regular flower pot which puts the Association at risk to be sued.
If they only let you put put up a flower pot then some people around you might be pissed off at you and the board thinking they are granting you special privileges.
I would have to agree with the association on this one.
As much as I like the concept of community, most Associations and the prevailing mindset seems to be one of bland uniformity and excessive rules. Being micromanaged is too restrictive for me and it seems that the lowest common denominator and thus mediocre thinking,prevails. Board members often become bullies who wish to impose their limited world view upon others. It is rare to find board members who truly understand property maintenance or management and the structure of condo rules make it difficult to assure that the right people are elected and it is difficult to remove them since they control all aspects of communications and voting. I end up believing that self managed Associations are the worst culprits and Associations would be better off with professional management and the Board should simply be the mouthpiece and voice of the unit owners and mirror their concerns and interests. Petty rule enforcement destroys a sense of home and community. Neighbors should look out for each other, not snitch on each other over trivial matters. Love thy neighbor, not turn them in, makes for a place that feels like home.
I doubt I will ever buy in another Association even though I like the concept of "Community". True Community is probably made up of people who share similar values, beliefs and interests, not just people randomly located due to the ability to buy.
I agree Jim. We have a new rule re the flowers also. The Board sent out a reminder at the beginning of the summer - rewording the rule, interpreting it in an even stricter manner.
Funny how they will fine us for pretty flowers that are on or attached to the railing/deck - but do nothing about the brand new $60,000+ roof which has been lekaing since Memorial Day in the front hall and one of the new gutter screens has been sitting on the ground next to the building since then also.
The maintenance man, son in law of the Property Management company doesn't seem to notice on his twice a week PAID visits nor does the Board seem to see these items.
One of the owners has not paid their assessment and some of their dues for awhile.
And we get fined for flowers.
The board President lives on the first floor has junk on her deck that everyone can see from the street and she's allowed to keep it there.
We have two new owners and they have spent a fortune gutting and totally updating their condos. A couple more sales and we should have a majority of people who care and want to take care of this building. We live one street off of million dollar homes.
If someone can't afford to live here, sadly, they should move.
If we could sell, we'd be gone too.
Why not just buy a new flower box or two and mount it inside your railing? You would have your own beautiful private little arboretum to enjoy. Your deck sides look like metal to me. We have wooden deck railings, and pots sitting on them tend to rot the wood underneath because they never really dry out. When flower boxes overhang balconies, what happens when it rains a lot and the water overflows the pots? Does the muddy dirt end up, in part, on the balcony below?
WOW Maryann sound like you live in my neck of the woods!
Our V.P. and Sec Tres think they own all of our condos. I cannot wait for the management to take us over. Just a few more weeks and everything will be done. Then I can speak mt peace to the 2 bullies and tell them where to go.
As for the flower pots I agree put them on the inside of your railing and enjoy your flowers. Nobody needs to enjoy them except you, especially if you are on the second floor.
Jim I know I will never buy into a condo again without checking who the real bullies are. Some of the people here think they can use their patios for hanging wash and storing junk. I live in a nice neighborhood and they are the only 2 that break the rules. "Things will change real shortly, I cannot wait".
That being said, here's the deal where we live - please keep your eyes open going forward with the management company.
We could not understand why ours just kept letting things go over the years. Knowing things were broken, knowing people weren't paying up.
They were well aware of what was going on because we "all" kept emailing them since the board was doing nothing and the onsite guy maintenance guy wasn't help.
We finally got about 25+ citings that we were in violation of city code - that cleaned up the mess.
Here's the clincher. The management company was hired in a manner that it "only" does something if the board tells them to and only when the board wants it done. (We have at least 15,000+ slush in our budget). What we found out was the board was not letting them "manage" the building, just pay the bills and meet occassional contractors here. They weren't allowed to pay any bill over $750 without permission. Their hands are tied. They told us we are the only condominium that handles them this way.
So make sure that someone sees that contract and understands what the management company is actually doing for you.
Also, we reviewd the landscape contract and found out that the back of the building (where we spent thousands a couple years ago to re-landscape) was not done on a regular basis. So far this spring, I've only seen them in the back 2 times. May have been more, but the other day was the first time they did anything significant at all.
So it doesn't appear to be factored into the contract for regular upkeep. It looked so shabby and the front looks great.
Now, all this being said, the new rule is that we get fined if we talk to the vendors. But the vendors we work with know this and think that's ridiculous. They want to do their job perfectly and not get a bad rap. They want us to refer them more business.
So now, when there's a real issue -ie sprinkler heads hitting the building, running down the foundation and leaking - we as owners jump in and show them the issues.
The other day they cut a tree branch that was laying flat on top of 4 azaleas for a couple years that couldn't bloom if they wanted to. Silly isn't it that it comes to that.
Today, they were checking sprinkler heads and we showed them the two that were creating a mess -they are installed against the foundation and were creating a massive puddle where water was then leaking down into the basement.
We saw the supervisor call it in - we'll see what happens next.
Hopefully, the workmen will do the right thing and move these two heads. They said it takes 10 minutes to dig them up and move them about a foot out, each.
Good luck, this site is fabulous and we've all helped each other. Missouri has no real case law on this but if I can figure out a way to make it happen someday, I will.
We did and they are beautiful.
But before that we went, found the paint, matched it and refinished the inside railings and railing itself so that it was sealed properly. Just in cases. We also use bottoms on all the plants so water isn't an issue.
We now have literally a bird sanctuary in our backyard. We have a beautiful sugar maple and the birds seem to migrate right thru the back on their daily pilgrimage looking for food. Cardinals, finches and more. It's beautiful. It doubles the size of our living room which is a glass wall.
Every couple years they seal the deck but we have it resealed regularly on our nickel so it isn't ruined like most of the other ones here.
We take so much pride in our place. Wish everyone would.
Maryann said, "We get fined if we talk to the vendors." You've got to be kidding! I think there is in the USA something called the Constitution which guarantees free speech.
My Board had a landscaping plan (blueprint) drawn up by a professional landscaping company. They never told the owners what the cost would be. I requested that they put this info in their monthly Board meetings twice, but they did not do so. I finally called the vendor. In the next meeting minutes I was chastised for contacting the vendor "as it only confuses them." If you can't get info from the Board, where are you supposed to get it? Our total yearly income from "dues" is $63,000. The cost of this landscaping plan was $46,000 which didn't even include the gazebo/barbecue area complete with a cement 3-leaf clover shaped base and three separate shelters over each "leaf."
I am the original poster and I wanted to clarify a few things. I have not supplied a photo with my question, so the photo you saw was a generic one. You can see my actual flower box here: http://www.thereness.com/flowers.jpg
I have five of them around the perimeter of my balcony. Although they are outside the railings they are within the footprint of the balcony (the railing is about a foot in).
Hanging the flower boxes on the inner side is not ideal because then the flowers would get even less light. My balcony faces North-West, so light is scarce, and the inner side of the railings is in the shade most of the time. I have not had any issues with water overflowing or dripping down-- both the floor and the ceiling are extended an extra foot beyond the railings (to the brick wall in the photo), so even if the pots were to drip, the mud would land on my balcony.
Jim: Well said!!
Maryann: We have a professional management company that does what the board tells it to. Funny thing is that the property manager seems to agree with me, but is stuck trying to please the Board.
Buffalo Grove, IL
Thankfully, you look at the internet.
I give you credit for that. Every comment I made is the truth. You, fortunately, have a bunch of unsophisticated owners who have limited critical thinking skills. Thus, whatever you convey, will be seen as truthfully, Pearls before swine will never give me any credibility. Perhaps for now, you have "won". I am moving on.
JR. Could be a character from the program Dallas. He was always manipulating outcomes and people for his benefit. Remember the "who shot JR" episode? People like this may be able to manipulate those on the inside who may not have the education, talent, or sophistication to see past what they perceive. In Illinois, many politicians operate like this. Politicians have lost all credibility as they are seen as hustlers and con men. It catches up with them. Many have been or will be indicted and many will serve time. They suffer from extreme narcissism and thus must maintain control. They lash out at others yet are extremely fragile if criticized. Perhaps I should feel bad for them. Many came from dysfunctional and abusive homes and they repeat the script. Recent studies have show very strong latent tendencies coupled with antisocial aspects of personality. Initially they succeed because they have learned how to charm and manipulate and get what they want. Then one day it all comes crashing down. They often suffer from many addictions. They are players. They really don't have relationships and at best, they take "prisoners". They have no real love or respect for anyone, including themselves behind their false bravado. Jim Jones syndrome.
I guess if I was willing to drink the Koolaide, to go along to get along, I would be fine.
Just like Jonestown, others are often looking into these insular communities who believe they are above the law, condo rules and regulations, and apply double standards in all that they do. One set of rules for them, and another for you. I was recently fined for having a guest over, which is within the rules. Their car was left with a note that threatened to tow it. This is why we have no parking program or rules implemented. This allows for a random and spiteful application of non-existent rules. Of course, we have no methods of communications. No bulletin boards, newsletters, e-mail, and heaven forbid, a website. Doesn't it sound like a third world dictatorship ? I would say so. Of course, the Board President sticks notes on doors with letters designed to create monsters out of those who have dared speak out. These letters are filled with lies and are designed to mislead, instill fear, and create resentment and enemies. It is designed to maintain control of the property via the utilization of fear and to cast this person in the false Messiah position. I am here to save you from the big bad wolf and the forces of evil. I admit, it works, at least for now. I write these commentaries as a way to expose this type of behavior and cast light on this. Recently the elevator was down for several days. This required many elderly people to walk up and down many floors. No note was placed on the elevators so owners and guests waited endlessly for elevators that would never arrive. Why did this happen? Because our board lacked the foresight to have crucial backup parts in stock. They had to be ordered. Oh well, tough luck. Of course, our "smooth operator" Board president once again cast himself in a positive light by saying how terrible it was and he was going to deal with it. A day late and a dollar short, as usual. A leader anticipates the future and does not operate via crisis thinking. Crisis is more exciting though and feeds the addictive need for thrills and heroic measures. Reactive verses proactive. Our elevator is dated and potentially very unsafe. He warned the Seniors of all of the large expenditures looming in the not so distant future. Two roofs, elevators, fire alarm system. He failed to mention antiquated plumbing, a bad driveway, and an extremely dated interior of the building. We are stuck in time. We have continuously squandered our cash reserves. How? Most places hire a janitor who shovels the snow, cuts the grass, paints, makes as many repairs as possible, and does the janitorial. I know, I grew up in this industry and continue to be involved in it. Our janitor acts more like a public relations arm of the Board President. Lonely Seniors need someone to talk with. The Board President has a contract to cut the grass. Perfect! He gets the credit for being so involved. People forget that he is being paid. He has had other contracts also. He has a contract in perpetuity I guess. He also uses our dumpster for his little landscaping business. he also uses a garage on our property for his business which clearly violates our rules and insurance regulations. Oh, I forgot, this is his place and I am just an unwelcome intruder who he has promised to drive out via fines and legal fee's. yesterday I received four letters with fines imposed. One was for talking to a neighbor about a Board meeting. They "impeached" the old Board President who inadvertently ended up in this position. The only problem was he started asking the wrong questions such as where is your business insurance, where has all the money gone, why is their no available and itemized budget. etc. This created problems so a poison letter went out, those who do not understand but represent the small minority of true believers "impeached" our old but inconvenient President. Not by a vote of 66 2/3 % of unit owners (about 50 people) but by 20 of the true believers) Thus, our President was illegally kicked out and he made himself President. He could now control the new election, which he did. The old President could have and should have challenged this but he was sickened by the whole event and the obvious manipulation. Another "Devil" was created and vanquished. Just like he is trying to do with me. Unfortunately, the truth is on my side and I do not run away. My knowledge of this industry is huge and my knowledge of personality types is even better. I have true facts, not made up stories. I have no financial interest or contracts although my property values continue to decline. This property looks ancient, realtors do not like to show because of problems dealing with the Board, and huge expenditures are looming. No creative approach is thought of such as selling vacant land, building and selling garages, conversion of unused space to produce income, renting of our "Clubhouse", vending machines, etc. Just spend our limited and squandered reserves. Then what? Wait until the plumbing starts going as it already has. It is 40 plus years old galvanized. We also do not have any emergency protocol in place. No publicized contact information, nothing. An answering machine that gets answered the next day. if a massive plumbing leak occurs, no process is in place to deal with it. Electrical closets in the hallways are locked an no key is available at all times. if your circuit breaker pops, oh well. Eventually it will be taken care of but there goes the food. We are in the dark ages, controlled by a one man Dictatorship. One who will smile at you while he stabs you in the back. Pal, this is my home as much as it is yours. Actually more so. Mine costs twice as much, has twice the space, I pay twice the property taxes, and twice the assessment. For this all I get is grief and false fines.
Do you share a similar problem? I would like to hear about it.
I truly believe in the sense of community but I do not embrace the trailer park (not all) mentality.
Just received another warning letter stating that "If this violation is not corrected by Moday, July 12th, 2010 the Board has directed us to assess a fine of $50.00 and then additional $100.00/month until the ciolation has been corrected." It says if I choose to dispute these fines, I should do this in writing within 14 days of the date of this letter and that I will be provided with a hearing at the next opportunity.
Wow Jim. Sounds like my buiilding for sure. But I'm going to err that it sounds like sociopathic versus narcissistic behavior. Read the book "The Sociopath Next Door". It's a real shocker.
This site is so fabulous - we have learned so much from it on how others handle problems.
One owner here got a letter re a $1000 fine for holiday lights - they could be seen from the street (that is the street that is the one parallel behind us a full block away and if you really looked you might just see the hint of a white light between the houses - you've got to be kidding).
She paid a lawyer who sent the Board a cease and desist note. We just paid the 200 fine and got rid of them off of our backs. This Christmas we will not put up a tree, but white lights in the shape of a tree against the wall where you can't see a think from the street at all. I believe this issues is a religious issue for two of the Board members, not a light issue.
The insurance issue is huge, ours was changed and the Board lied when they signed off on the app per one of the owners who is also an attorney. I believe someone else signed the President's signature since she said she was out of town when it was dated. Thank God we didn't have an earthquake in the meantime. And you ask - who is the new agent. A long time friend and drinking buddy of one of our board members.
I am trying to get thru the summer so we all can have our flowers before I ask to see the insurance policy. But will ask soon because they will stall for weeks and I already have an real estate attorney lined up in case it's an issue like last year.
Pathetic use of my limited time, but I've been accumulating pictures of the Board members decks so that when they choose to harass us - they will have to answer to an attorney who will have the pictures of their decks and holiday lights (they don't fine themselves).
We need to review the new insurance policy information as we have new condo insurance and the agent wants to review it to makes sure we are covered correctly. As they go as cheap as possible - he is concerned and wants to confirm the definitions of what a Unit is -Declaration versus what the building is actually insured for. But we will be fined if we talk to the agent. Believe me, they all get certified letters now.
Does anyone know where "within" the master insurance policy I might find this info to see if drywall is actually covered. I know it's at least a couple inches thick and have no idea what part of the policy I need to review.
Let's all stick together, continue to help each other out and print all the news that we can learn from each other.
Have a nice day to all that have answered. I too wondered who JR was.
You are absolutely right, it is sociopathic behavior. I have read the book and actually showed it to people but this is not the most educated place. The bulk of the units are small 350 square foot units purchased by people who never probably had much. Why? I will let you draw your own conclusions. You are obviously a well read and intelligent person and I have deep admiration for education as well as outstanding character.
I have contacted a law firm to see if this is something I can fight. Will keep you updated.
This may be a loosing battle since the rule was there when I moved in, thereby agreeing to it. The flip side, of course, is that I have lived here for three years and had my flower boxes up the entire time. Can laches be invoked in this situation?
The arbitrary nature of the fines bothers me, too. The Board basically raised my monthly assessment 20% because I grow flowers on my balcony and want them to be in the sun rather than in the shade.
Is there anything to stop the Board from increasing the monthly fine if I decide to keep the flowers?
Hi - don't give up yet. Go thru your Rules and Regs & By Laws and see what it takes for this Board to actually pass rules and regs/what notice they have to give you etc.
Also, see what is the required Notice in the Declaration and ByLaws - ours is Certified Mail and they violated it by throwing the letters re the fines at our front door on the ground. So it wasn't proper notice anyway.
I can't imagine you will lose in the long run and get fined.
Keep us posted - we've had the same "grandfathered" in stuff happen here.
Maryann, for your question about drywall... don't know if this will help or not, but here goes:
In my Bylaws the beginning is the Declaration. It is my understanding that the "Declarant" is the person(s) that have put the beginning legal documents and actions in motion. My first part is
1. DEFINITIONS - such as Board of Directors, By-Laws, First Mortgagee, Floor Plans, etc.
Part II. THE UNITS, COMMON ELEMENTS, AND LIMITED COMMON ELEMENTS.
Mine reads: "Each residential unit or garage unit as shown on the Floor Plans, shall be bounded by its perimeter walls, ceilings, and floor and shall include those portions thereof as provided in the Act.
In addition, each residential unit shall also include all air conditioning and heating units, if any, and components serving only such residential unit boundaries and the exterior doors and windows, including the frames thereof, serving or allowing access solely to such residential unit.
"All the fixtures and improvements within the boundaries of a residential unit or a garage unit are a part of the Unit.
"Except as provided in Paragraph 1 above, if any chute, flue, duct, pipe, wire, conduit, bearing wall, bearing column or any other fixture lies partially in and partially outside of the designated boundaries of a Unit, any portion thereof serving only that Unit is a Limited Common Element allocated solely to that Unit, and any portion thereof serving more than one Unit or any portion of the Common Elements is a part of the Common Elements.
"The common Elements mean and include all portions of the property other than the Units.
"The following portions of the Common Elements are hereby designated as limited Common Elements are are allocated to the respective Units for the exclusive use of the Unit Owners and Occupants of said Units as follows: All shutters, awnings, fireplace chimneys, window boxes, door steps, stoops, porches, balconies, patios and its pipes, conduits and connections or other fixtures designed to serve a single Unit, but located outside the Unit's boundaries, are Limited Common Elements allocated exclusively to that Unit."
Sorry, no mention of drywall, but your docs might have something similar.
A portion of the Declarant document also defines what has to be covered by the association insurance.
We have State Farm. Our deductible went from $1,000 per building per incident to $5,000 this year. We each are responsible for our own internal unit insurance; however, our State Farm policy covers all appliances, all cupboards and vanities, all doors and door frames, anything that is connected or glued down such as carpeting, other flooring, wallpaper and murals (not painted walls), permanently attached mirrors, bathtubs, showers, light fixtures. Our agent says, "If it doesn't move, it's covered." Apparently this is rather remarkable to have all of this covered.
You should be able to talk to your association insurance agent in order to determine how much coverage you need inside of your own unit - that is, what do they cover in order for you to determine how much coverage you need on your personal policy.
Several years ago four of us owners formed a Bylaws Committee, and we went through every single darn page of our documents in order to understand them. It took us forever. Portions of the Bylaws and portions of the rules and regulations are the same. We even made up an alphabetical index of the rules and regs and what pages they were on. However, because there were five different sections of the Bylaws that started with Page 1 and on up, such as Section 1 pages 1-5, then Section 2 pages 1 -11, the page numbers didn't mean anything, so we added page numbers in the right lower corner from beginning to end starting from 1 - 71. So, for instance, if someone wanted to know about rules about garages, we could say it is on page 64 and 67. We made a copy of this for each owner, and they also got the alphabetical index. That's the good news.
The bad news is that our Board doesn't pay the least bit of attention to the Bylaws nor have they ever read them.
Can you have them in containers that sit on your deck or patio.
I love the book called "Freedom Road". It describes the advantages of living in an RV. No associations, bad neighbors, code enforcement, or property tax increases. New vistas whenever you want. No declining real estate market that you have no control over. What takes place at many Associations ( I like that the first three letters define much about the people who get on Boards for all of the wrong reasons) is enough to make you sick. You pay money but have no control over your life. What do you get? A bad investment, controlled by others. You pay to have your grass cut, snow removed, and roof and exterior attended to. For that, you give up so much. People turn each other in, capricious Board members turn into bullies, and real community is destroyed. I have had enough of this lifestyle. If I wanted to live in a prison, i might like it but it is not for me.
Laws must be changed that limit the power of Boards. Anybody have an RV for sale? I am not kidding.
Just heard back from the lawyer, here goes:
"Unfortunately, I think the Board has the right to enforce a rule and failure to have enforced it previously does not invalidate the rule. If other owners had flower boxes or similar attachments on the outside of their railings and they were only enforcing it against you, you might have a case. The only way you will win this is if you run for the Board and get like-minded owners to also run and then change the rule. However, while your balcony may not overhang a sidewalk, there might be other balconies that do and the Board rules generally need to apply to everyone."
"If you wanted to fight it, it would be difficult to find an attorney who specializes in condo law to represent you. The attorneys who specialize in condo law generally don't represent individual owners because they don't want to be conflicted out of representing Associations. Sorry that I couldn't give you a more favorable opinion, but I am pretty certain that the case law weighs against you."
Jim: I can have planters on my balcony, but it's really a shame because there is no sun there. Sounds like I may just have to run for the Board at the next opportunity. Every resident I spoke to so far had nothing against my flowers.
It also looks great putting flowers on the floor. I do that just to hide my laminate flooring in Calgary
and it works great. There are many options for flower pots.