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Following condo association bylaws regarding common area usage

Posted on Sat, Jul 02, 2011 @ 07:30 AM
We have been at our condo one year now. Last year our first year here we had a problem with children playing ball and riding bikes in the courtyard. Basically using this common area as their personal yard. We wrote more then one letter complaining about the bylaws being broken. We were told to deal with the families directly. That the boards job is not to police the condo. Is it not the boards job to enforce the bylaws? Skip to our second summer here. The ball players are out in full force again this year. The courtyard is full of children, they have used our fountain to fill water bottles and throw at each other, and have now started to ring the door bell and run off. So we have added on pranking this year. We really are not sure of our rights here. The bylaws state "Page 9, Article VI, Section 11 – Restriction on Use of Units. In order to provide for congenial occupancy of the property and for the protection of the values of the units, the use and the property shall be restricted to and shall be in accordance with the following provisions: “No nuisances, excessive noise, obnoxious objectionable conduct shall be allowed by a unit owner or owner guest, nor shall any use or practice be allowed which interferes with the peaceful possession or proper use by its residents. Page 17, Condominium Policies, Policies are binding on all unit owners - “#5 Common Elements: No common element may be used for playing, sports games, lounging, wheel toys, vehicles, benches, or lounge chairs. - Each unit owner must comply with any plan approved for the common and limited common elements. “ If anyone could help us in this matter it would be greatly appreciated. Are the bylaws enforceable? If so by who? Am I completely wrong I thought when we bought here that we had to follow the bylaws and other unit owners as well. We have gone to the board more then once and they will not do anything. We are not the only unit who thinks the kids are very annoying. There is a pool for the kids so it is not like they have nothing. The courtyard which is a common area is not supposed to be used as a yard. It is so noisy and upsetting we are in are mid thirties and just cannot take it. Bylaws are supposed to be followed?



IMO, a courtyard is for all, wether it be a couple of adults having a cup of coffee on a bench or children playing. Children play--that's what they do. However, it is certainly becoming a problem in your case. 
About your question. According to the bylaws that you have posted, there definitely seems to be some activity going on that is not acceptable. It's hard to say for sure without seeing your complete bylaws, but of your condo assn. is like most others, your Board has the responsibility to make sure the bylawsare enforced. In most cases, bylaws allow for the Board to assess fines as a means to enforce the bylaws. Letter 1 = 30 day notice; Letter 2 = fine assessed. 
My city does not allow parking on the street. I can't enforce it. The city does. I would think that your condo assn. should operate in a similar manner.

posted @ Saturday, July 02, 2011 8:00 AM by Troy

as a 72 year old who remembers when he was a boy I would say let the kids play. I'm amazed that they're not closeted in their homes on the internet or playing video games. Good for them. As for pranking my guess is that you've marked yourselves as cranks.

posted @ Saturday, July 02, 2011 8:09 AM by bruzza

The bylaws are enforceable. It is the Board's job to enforce the governing documents. Getting the Board or its managing agent to do its job is another story.  
I was unable to get our Board to do its job, so I recently filed suit. One of the five matters addressed in my suit addressed was the Board's failure to require a neighbor and her guests to park legally. They routinely park in ways that block my access to my garage, and as a result I cannot use it to park my car. (I never know if I will be able to get out of my garage if I park there, so I simply do not use the garage) Another aspect of the suit is that our Association received about $10,000 from the Association's insurance company for repairs to my unit that were necessitated by a burst common elements pipe in the attic above my unit, but rather than repair my unit the Board spent the money on other things. I paid for the repairs myself. And the list goes on. 
While lawsuits are an option that can work to get your Board to do its job, my legal fees to date are about $5,000 and that is just to determine the scope of the suit and to file it. That does not include the cost of defending the suit in court.  
The thing with condos is that often the most dysfunctional people get on the Board and they hire managing agents that are their dysfunctional match. You may want to consider getting on the Board. In reading your post it seems to me that you know what needs to be done. I wish you good luck. 

posted @ Saturday, July 02, 2011 8:21 AM by Lynn

Lynn touched on something, but on the wrong side. Risk and risk management needs to be explained to the Board. Since you've notified the Board of the violation(s) and the Board has taken no action, the Board (and therefore the HOA) is now potentially liable for injuries to children or others behaving in violation of the by laws. In other words, if someone gets hurt in the courtyard the parents CAN (and often do) bring suit against the HOA. The accident or incident may be their fault, but since the HOA was aware of the violations and took no action, the Board AND the HOA are potentially liable for injuries. If a child drowns in the pool and they were violating a rule (and the Board or a Board member was aware of the violation), the Board or HOA can be liable for wrongful death. The Board needs to be warned of this.

posted @ Saturday, July 02, 2011 8:44 AM by Ron Knight

When did we forget that we live in a community? When did we stop enjoying neighbors and their kids playing in yard and reminding us of life? When did we become so obsessed with the letter of the law that we forgot about its intent? 
This kids are not playing there at night or late in the evening. They are there during the day enjoying what your community has to offer. 
I would say this is great that they are playing and not on facebook wasting their time. 
Sure the board has a duty to enforce bylaws, but the board can also chose which battles to fight. Even cops will let some violations slide for being either minor or acceptable under the circumstances, and board is not cops. 
If you have a lot of neighbors complain about this the board will be forced to pay attention, but if it's just you - well you've just been added to their 'noise' list. 
Also you need to be careful with how far you push this because the board can write new bylaws and put it to the vote. It takes a simple majority to vote bylaws in (at least in California) 

posted @ Saturday, July 02, 2011 9:06 AM by Zhenya Rozinskiy

Possibly you can contact the Dept. of Community Affairs in your state as they are in charge of community living in our state and they may be able to help you when the bylaws are not being followed. 
Call the police if someone is ringing your door bell and running away as I believe if those children have a visit from the police informing them that they are not allowed to do that, they will think twice about ringing your door bell again. Because you live in a condo doesn't take away your rights to call the police when you are being harassed even when those doing it are children. If you don't take a stand and call the police, you will allowing these children to think it is okay to make a lot of noise and disturb others when it is not okay. You may even get some kid on the right track in life because the parents of these children probably do not even know how disturbing their children are. You are only calling the police because the board won't help you. Possibly you should put that in an email to the board telling them you will have to call the police if they are not going to enforce the bylaws and stop what is occuring that is against the bylaws.

posted @ Saturday, July 02, 2011 9:20 AM by Anna Wichel

Where do you live? Caprini Green? Just kidding. 
The Bylaws and restrictions are created so that you know what you are buying into, to protect property values, and provide as your bylaws state, a congenial community. Too often people with children allow them to overstep boundaries and offend those that don't with the sense of entitlement to make noise and with the reasoning that "oh, they're just children". Well, if your child doesn't know how to behave in a way that doesn't offend and anger others...how are they going to be when they grow up? They have no more right to overstep your rights, make you unable to enjoy your condo and push their noise upon you. Most condo docs also state that any time the children are using the common elements, they must be accompanied by an adult. 
What would happen if you threw a loud party in this area, invited everyone in the building, but when they didn't show up continued to make noise which bothered others? Probably the police would be called. The parents need to be called on their children's playing in these areas, and explained to. I am not a child hater, but I do think when you move children into a condo, the parents have to realize what they are moving into with children, realize there are restrictions, and take responsibility for their children's behavior. 
First step is to put your complaints in writing, send it certified, note the specific statutes, and DEMAND that the Board begin enforcing the restrictions, and also state the liability for not doing so.

posted @ Saturday, July 02, 2011 9:57 AM by Joyce @ BestCondoManager.com

I guess you don't have children or you would understand that they need somewhere to play. It's better that they're out in the sunshine and fresh air than being cooped up in the house on the internet. But, I wonder, where else in the condo can the children play -- is there a playground for them? If not, where else would you propose that they play. Don't you remember when you were a kid? Didn't you like to go outside and play with your friends. If the bylaws are being broken, I agree the board should be taking the proper steps. But, perhaps the best step to take would be to find a place w/i the condo complex that can be turned into a playground. 
Kids love to play pranks, especially on adults who are mean to them; perhaps that's why they delight in ringing your doorbell and running away. Why not try to get to know these kids. Go out and talk to them, make them see you're really a nice person. Then you can nicely ask them to try to be a little more quiet. You get a lot more with sugar than with vinegar.

posted @ Saturday, July 02, 2011 10:26 AM by mary

We had very similar issues and I want to point out to "bruzza" - yes, children do like to run and play and shout and play ball and play tricks. HOWEVER - a condominium is not the place for it. Maybe their "parent(s) should have thought that one through before they moved here AND signed and "agreed to abide by" the R&R. Really, some people just don't do well living in a condominium community. I myself would love to restore old trucks, but a condominium parking lot is not the place for it, so "maybe" I should get a SFH with a garage. It is totally not right for people to be irresponsible BAD NEIGHBORS. The Board "should" do something, but after years serving on our Board, I finally moved away, and turned my unit into a rental.

posted @ Saturday, July 02, 2011 10:30 AM by JIMMY DAY

You can send the board a notice  
(demanding to have an informal meet and confer under CCP 1363,840 if you live in California) saying it is their responsibility to enforce bylaws that members have no ability to enforce. 
If you do not live in California, consider asking the board to take pictures when those things are happening and call the police for private and public nuisance complaint.

posted @ Saturday, July 02, 2011 3:28 PM by betp inc.

I agree with Joyce... 
I do disagree with a few of the  
other remarks however. First of all the courtyard was not designed as a childrens play area. The original poster here is not against children and bought into a condo wanting quiet as the CC&R's spells out. It quite obviously did not spell out the courtyard as a play area, or entertainment area. 
This is not anything to do with being anti-children so that is unfair to use that on them. 
They are entitled to what they bought as spelled out in those CC&R's. 
Yes, children play but it is up to  
parents to get them to a park. When they decided to live a condo life they should have picked one that had certain facilities for kids. It is not the responsibility of those neighbors who have a right to their peace and quiet to have to tolerate 
the noise just as their CC&R's agree to. 
As a former Board member for  
over 150 units, it is the responsibility of that Board to enforce their rules. It is that simple. It is what they are  
are there for, it is their job. 
If all else fails, letters, certified letters, to stating 
your concerns at a board meeting, 
then it might be worth your while to ask an attorney to send the board a letter holding them responsible for enforcement of their CC&R's. Cite articles and sections you have included here. 
Also request the specific article stating that you, the homeowner must deal with this yourself, as they claim. 

posted @ Saturday, July 02, 2011 3:38 PM by Jackie

Wow lots of comments! Thank you everyone. Yes we do not have children but I work with children all day. That is why I would like to come home and have some peace and quiet.  
There is a pool so the children do have that. But there is no play area or swing set. The courtyard is NOT for that it is a common area not anyone's yard. 
We have done the whole letter thing.We also are installing a video camera. As well as contacting are lawyer as we have tried everything else to no avail. 
We bought here thinking one thing not that we were moving next to a playground!

posted @ Saturday, July 02, 2011 11:12 PM by Michelle Kraft

You should definately file a grievance with the Board and include photographs if possible. Since many parents refuse to admit that their child is capable of doing any mischief the photograph helps to ID their child. Our community ran into a problem with several incidences of vandalism (mostly done by the same kids). we had to involve the police and have the HOA send letters of warning about the kids to the property owners. We realized that many of the families were tenants, so when we involved the actual property owners they made their people restrain their kids. Everybody has a right to enjoy their homes and no one has the right to disrupt others.

posted @ Sunday, July 03, 2011 12:28 PM by LB

Look these Associations are breaking the Civil Rights Laws and the Fair Housing Act of 88. These CC&R's and the HOA By-laws may NOT discriminate against children. Some of you people sound like CHILD HATERS. If you don't want to abide by the REAL laws there are plenty of Countries you can move to that don't even allow woman any rights. Or if your 55+, there are special communities protected by the government just for you. There has to be a safety or health concern in order to keep children from playing outside in these Associations. If you don't like children move somewhere else. You have the right to do that. That is why Associations CANNOT enforce a NO PLAY law. IT IS AGAINST THEIR CIVIL RIGHTS. If the Association enforces their by-law they are opeing themselves up for discrimination and a law suit with the State and Federal government and an investigation and fines and punitive damages against them. Family is a protected class under the civil laws. So if you don't like living there find somewhere else to live. You CANNOT infringe upon others CIVIL RIGHTS and neither can an ASSOCIATION ! That CC&R and By-Laws have clauses in them which state that if anything written is against any Federal, State or local law is considered VOID. So don't count on what you signed, because if it is against ANY law it is null and void. If you had a problem with children in the first place you should have gone to an Attorney with your paperwork first before you signed them to insure your rights. The attorney would have told you that these restrictions are against family and their civil rights and are unenforceable. Then you could have made your decision on purchasing based on sound legal advice. If your over 55+ and dont like children you should NOT have bought a Condo there you should have checked out the 55+ communities. NO person has the rights to decline a family from the enjoyment of the outdoors. If you still feel YOUR being discrimnated against I suggest you try and file a complaint with your State. When they here why your trying to file, they will tell you straight out you have NO CASE. But it is your rights to try and file a case or you can pay an Attorney and sue the Association, either way your going to loose. If there are problem children you need to bring it up at the next meeting about restrictions of play....but your not going to get anywhere because you would be again going against the civil rights laws. You can call the police if your being harassed, that is your right to file a complaint with them. You can talk to the parents also. I find that the cowards that cannot go directly to their own neighbor about a complaint are just that a coward. Stop using your Board as a complaint department and talk to the parents of these kids. Your story and actions sound worse than the kids your complaining about. This is my opinion and I am not a lawyer. I am however a Mother of 4. So anyone complaining about this CLAUSE in there CC&R or By-laws need to look deeper and find that no matter what, the Association cannot enfringe on the Civil Rights of others. People saying parents are enfringing on single people's rights is ridiculous and simply NOT the LAW. What laws are any of you stating this applies? I'd really like to know. There isn't one. So quit acting like there is, with your ridiculous comments. It simply makes you all look like selfish children haters.

posted @ Tuesday, July 12, 2011 10:05 AM by LadyLK

LadyLK, did you forget your medication this morning? 
Their bylaws don't discriminate against kids. The prohibit play for anyone of any age. 
Also children don't fall into the protected age category.

posted @ Tuesday, July 12, 2011 10:15 AM by KateK

LadyK, First, I suggest you go read the Civil Rights Laws passed (1865 - 1991) and the entire fair housing act. 
A condo association isn't "discriminating" against children by limiting the purpose of common elements. 
stating that there are laws that don't protect the original poster is a farse. Particularly in Florida, under Florida Statutes, 718, each member has the right to peaceful enjoyment of their unit. Most states have similar laws. 
Yes, children do need to play, but it is up to the parents would brought them into this world to make sure they get somewhere they can play (such as the park, after school or summer camps, etc) and follow the restrictions set forth in the condo docs. 
I think we can all say that at one point or another when we were children there were places we weren't allowed to play. When you choose to live in a house, you have less limitations. When you choose a condo, you have more. 

posted @ Tuesday, July 12, 2011 10:39 AM by Joyce Nord @ thecondocommando.com

LadyK, You have missed the point completely! Your tirade is misplaced. Accusing people of child hating and using your rage toward those who rightfully expect CC&R's to be upheld is unimpressive. From your spewing here I take it you have no time for those above 55. In your ramblings about civil rights, you forget everyone has civil rights, not just those with children. Did you not read what has been written here by others who clearly do not have a dislike for children but understand CC&R's should be followed? Again, it is not the responsibility of the complex to provide entertainment for children, but it is the parents. Why on earth do people with children move to a place that has no play yard, or facilities for children in the first place, then expect that there should be no limits to where they are allowed to play without regard for others. Their civil rights are that they can live there, which does not include the right to distrub the peace and quiet of others. That is what this is all about, not interepreting rules to suit your own personal needs. No my dear, it is you who should move if you do not like the rules. Calling people names does not change anything. I raised three sons, and made sure they had a place to play that was safe and wasn't disturbing to others. You might try turning your rage off by facing personal responsibility to your children and not make it someones elses. I bet you also find nothing wrong with allowing children to run loose in restaurants interpreting the right to eat there as their civil right to play and disturb others. I suppose anyone who complains would be a child hater too. Most of us here are parents, so quit using the child hater stuff please. 

posted @ Tuesday, July 12, 2011 12:11 PM by Jackie

LIKE I SAID I AM NOT A LAWYER IT WAS MY OPINION. If anyone here needs medication it is the people who responded with their negativity. If you all think you know, why don't you look it up for yourselves. Why do you think the Association ISNT doing anything? It's because there have been lawsuits in State and Federal courts and their cases are on file. Look them up! I really dont care if you believe me or not. The Fair Housing Act of 88 includes any statements, paperwork or anything associated with a rental or sale of a property with the use of discrimintory language. The CC&R's cannot discriminate as well. There cannot be a restriction of use unless there is a health or safety concern. My god people before you jump all over me, look it up for yourselves! The ONLY place there are conditions for no children and peace and quiet it is at a 55+ community. Geez dont be ignorant, educate yourselves. Has anyone heard of the case at a mobile park recently? Type in your search HOA discrimination against children, when you've done that then comment.

posted @ Tuesday, July 12, 2011 7:47 PM by LadyLK

First it is your opinion then you insist what you are saying is fact and law... Which is it?? Oh yes there most certainly can be restrictions of use. When you buy into a complex or rent you are agreeing to their CC&R's. There are protections against noise and disturbances, you look it up!! While you claim kids can play where ever they want, owners are in fact entitled to peace and quiet Period!!! You are wrong about the only place entitled to peace and quiet are 55+. I was on a Board and if police were called due to disturbances, no matter who was doing the disturbances, those people were in fact cited. And puleeez spare us of "us needing medication," and the "before we jump all over you", crap...you are the one who came in kicking and screaming with your negativity not the rest of us. Mellow out lady! I think you need to read Joyce Nords comment here, I don't think you did. She is correct.

posted @ Tuesday, July 12, 2011 10:00 PM by Jackie

Forget about noise in the common areas. Since March 2011 I have had to live with multiple children of varying ages playing football in the common area adjacent to my townhouse. The aluminum siding of the house has been ruined and will be extremely expensive to replace. The common area is not officially a "playground" and, in fact, the community does not have an official playground. Unfortunately, this is the largest common area in the community but is adjacent to my home and one other townhome. I have explained to the children that they are doing damage to my home's siding by hitting the house with their footballs, huddling up against the siding. and have explained how expensive ($7,000) it will be to replace just this one portion of the siding, the condition of which the HOA can violate me on at any time. Because the kids are coming from the row of townhomes across the common area, HOA has sent warning letters to the tenants and/or owners of those homes. I have posted No Trespassing and Private Property signs along my property line. The kids continue to ignore the warning letters and/or the signs and, in fact, the issue in itself obviously has become another "game" to them. We are not talking about damage being done to the common area. I am the one whose property is vandalized (yes, vandalized). HOA and the Sheriff's Dept. has left it up to me to identify the vandals (that's right, vandals) which is an impossibility considering there are so many adolescents and teenagers gathering and I do not know their names or their parents' names. When they hit the house and realize I see them, they run. This is not right. I am the one paying the mortgage. I am entitled to not have my property vandalized. Forget about trying to talk to the parents. I tried and they are in total denial, belligerent and have developed a pack mentality. The only solution I have is to install date and time surveillance cameras and go myself to the magistrate's office and obtain warrants against the guilty parties when I have undeniable proof identifying the vandals. There is no doubt in my mind when I do install cameras (which I will), the offenders will be deliberately throwing their balls and anything else they can in attempts to damage the cameras. That is exactly what they have done to the No Trespassing signs that I had to special order at greater expense to be in compliance with HOA guidelines. I am semi-retired and am limited financially. These are unnecessary expenses I should not have to incur. My particular situation has nothing to do with children not being allowed to play. It has to do with property rights being respected. My HOA is useless. The first time I officially brought this to the Board’s attention, a board member who was an initial buyer when the townhomes were built (at least 25 years ago) announced to me that he personally directs the children to play in this particular common area and asked me if I expected them to play in the streets. In other words, the “kid hater” sentiment was very clearly being directed at me. Quite frankly, anyone who knows me knows that’s not true. In fact, I have a nephew’s two toddlers (2 yrs/3 yrs) on a daily basis during the week and cannot even let them play in MY yard because of these hoodlums for fear that the toddlers will either be hit by a flying football or run over by a pack chasing a ball up to my house. It is a crock. Plain and simple.

posted @ Tuesday, October 18, 2011 11:31 AM by Lee

Assuming the children have caused 7K worth of damage in your siding, the cost of the a 4 or 8 camera system DVR is obviously worth the cost. A typical camera system can be picked up at Costco for between 400 - 600. Once you install the cameras, facts cannot be rebutted. You can provide the parents and the courts and the parents with PROOF that their children are doing what you say they are, and hopefully eliminate the situation. 
If the Association complains about the cameras, state you asked them to act they did nothing and you were strapped to prove your point because of their inaction. However, most associations won't complain because it's free security they don't have to pay for.

posted @ Tuesday, October 18, 2011 12:29 PM by joyce @ thecondocommando.com

Thank you for this posting. I found it when googling differences between common areas and common "public" areas. I live in an HOA community that specifically prohibits fencing and formal hedges, preferring to maintain an open, woodland environment. While its beautiful, this also means that we have lots of open areas not regulated, not weeded, etc. But we *do* have a lovely park - big - with a playground for small children and a half-court basketball area, along with a big, lovely lawn and a few picnic tables. Further up, we also have a public path that goes through a gazebo and is surrounded by lawn. So, there are two very "public" areas of common area for children to play in. Nevertheless, they like to play right behind my house. I find baseballs on my back patio quite frequently. A couple of times I've nearly given myself a heart attack when I walk out of my shower, naked, and see a young boy mere inches from my bedroom window. My glass-top table on the back patio was shattered one day, a baseball sitting on top/in the middle of the broken glass. It was an expensive table top to replace - and only a month old. I've asked the parents of the boys I know to have the kids play elsewhere. The parents were polite, but the kids are still back there. The problem is that my property line probably only extends about 10-15 feet beyond the back wall of my house -- so all the lovely open space and meadow and canyon beyond are "common area." When I asked the board to formally ask parents to keep kids from playing in "my" back yard, I was told that this place "was built for children" and that it was "common area" and that they could "have a picnic" if they wanted to. I checked, and our rules specifically address food - that it can only be served in the park or gazebo! So-clearly the writers of our rules saw a difference between common area and public common areas. In any event, the kids are still right in my backyard. I don't want to be perceived as the childless "child hater" (thanks Linda for making anyone who wants parents to teach their children how to love their neighbors as themselves "child haters" and monsters), but I do think I have a right to some privacy and peace and quiet. Incidentally, the boys don't play in their own yard because the parents are avid gardners and have made such a dense jungle of vegetation in what would be their own private space, that there is no real yard of their own to play in - still -- they *do* have two parks. So - no help from board, no help from parents -- I don't want to hire a lawyer (lots of time and money I don't have). What should I do?

posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 2:50 AM by DYinCA

The bottom line is if you want your children to have unsupervised play areas you probably should have purchased a single family home. I'm all about children playing outside, my siblings and I played outside yet we lived in a single family home with a yard. Living in a Condominium is much different and just as parents feel their little ones have a right to be outside, the homeowners who typically pay alot in HOA fees to live there also deserve respect and have a right. We live 5 minutes from a huge park, it's the parents' responsibility to schedule play dates and play times and that does not mean the small space next to 15 other dwellings gives their kids free reign. Nor does it mean their allowed to infringe on grown ups space who do pay a hefty price to live there. Even at a park the rules state children must be supervised. Dog owners must abide by these laws and so should parents of children period.

posted @ Wednesday, July 17, 2013 10:55 AM by Sydney

outdoor garden water fountains

posted @ Monday, September 15, 2014 5:26 PM by Max Koenig

That sounds really frustrating. I had a similar situation at my condo. We had kids playing ball there and they would bounce the ball off the side of our house which damaged the siding. We ended up having to replace it because of how bad it got. Luckily the condo association was able to find and fine the responsible parties so the repairs didn't have to come out of my wallet. 

posted @ Wednesday, December 03, 2014 9:24 PM by Casey Jones

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