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Condo board is ignoring email requests and communications

Posted on Mon, Jul 02, 2012 @ 07:28 AM

Our condo board president asked unit owners not to send e-mails. In every memo the board sent, they asked us to contact via e-mail, phone or postal mail. I have sent many e-mails asking for some clarifications/answers etc.. They did not answer any of my e-mails. Now the president is asking not to send e-mails, just call him on the phone. I feel they can say anything on the phone including lies, false promises, threats etc.. They are afraid to answer my e-mails. How can I complain this to concerned government authorities or sue the board for ignoring my requests?



Record their responses IF they talk with you on the telephone! Be sure and put who you are calling and the date and question before you call him and record his response!

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 7:51 AM by Pat Williams

I would still send email. In that way, you will have a record of your attempts to contact them. Also, you can send certified mail with return receipt requested. Do they have an office? Go to the office; knock on the door.

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 7:59 AM by Christy Crum

Perhaps you are wearing out the board members with constant haranguing nonsense e-mails. I'll bet if you ask the board members they will confirm that your questions have been answered once but probably not to your liking. Maybe if you do some research on condo, state, and corporate law you will understand why they make decision the way they do. Remember, the board members are volunteers who put in 100s of hours free of charge to make your investment keep it's value. They don't have a lot of time to answer nonsense e-mails. If they truely are doing something that is counter to the law then consult a lawer (at your expense). If the lawyer agrees a letter can by sent to address your concerns to the board. Ask yourself this question also; Do I ever commend the board when they do something right? Do I ever volunteer my time and labor on community projects to help out? I'll bet you say no to both questions.

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 7:59 AM by Renee

Renee might have a minor point, but the tone of her post is a bit antagonistic. Try not to wear out your welcome or waste their time. 
Don t sweat the small stuff and try to avoid pestering people with petty complaints.  
But if there is something truly important, unlawfull or involving breaking a major bylaw, send certified mail and by email to get their attention and hint that you consider it a serious and actionable matter.

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 8:19 AM by john mastro

Get a new board

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 8:27 AM by Bob gross

Renee brings up some good points. Our President always brings up the fact that they are volunteering there time, and I've told him that they have "thankless jobs" and because nobody twisted there arms when they accepted the nominations, they should quit complaing or resign and let someone else do it. Please understand that our President runs our HOA in a "devious autocratic" way and has zero transparency for everything he does. He has agreed to request made at annual meetings, then does what he wants to do anyway by saying that "the day to day decisions of the HOA, are made by the BOD's. That being said, why did he agree at the meeting when the concern of a "conflict of interest" was brought up. I might add, that our last election was not held according to the by-laws, so in my opinion, we don't have a BOD's. We were not notified that there was going to be an election that night as our by-laws state. This is just a tip of the iceburg that we deal with. I'm sorry to horn in on someone elses parade, but our President doesn't answer e mails either and when he does, it's never in a timely fashion.

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 8:43 AM by Gary Simpson

The Chairman of our BoT does not own a computer. If I had something REALLY serious to relay to the entire Board, I would use Certified Mail - Return Receipt. 
I wold also be sure, absolutely sure tht I knew the By-Laws and State statutes inside out and backwards.

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 9:12 AM by Frank - MA

Maybe it isw just me, but when someone starts threatening me I tend to either shut dowwn or respond in kind. The tone of your complaint is off puttting. I have been on BOD in one of the two condoi I have lived in, rarely had anyone who was truly interested in the wellbeing of the TOTAL community whining, complaining & threatening. Others who disagree either work with the BOD or run for office themselves. 
Sorry I cannot be more sympathic to your note.

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 9:15 AM by Kate from haddonfield

Renee is rude and bossy as well as condescending.

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 10:24 AM by TINK

Rene, seems to be assuming things she has no way of knowing are true or not, and then voices an opinion based on what may well be a false assumption. She sounds like a property manager.

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 10:41 AM by lynn

I agree- and she obviously has NOT been on the other side of the fence.

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 10:42 AM by tink

I agree with John, Tink and Lynn regarding Renee. What the Board might consider haranguing, might just be because the Board is not doing their job and de-valuing the property. So anyone who tries to make them accountable in legitimate ways is dismissed as being a complainer and a nuisance. I used to be on the Board and it ran smoothly and ethical with one president, then we got a president like Mr. Simpson's. The regulations are not be enforced, the common grounds are not being kept looking nice, the gardens and landscaping is not being addressed, the renters wants and needs, not the owners, are the focus, yet they keep raising our fees. And Mr. Simpson, I wonder if you might not be in my HOA because everything you say is what we are going through at ours. Sadly, it is hard to vote out corruption when many owners don't live on the property and those that do, don't care except for a few of us. The only thing I can do to save my sanity and stay healthy is to sell and move, and never move in to a place with more than 25% of the units rented out.

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 11:06 AM by tiny

I concur. There is really something wrong with Condo-owners VS. Board in every state. The Board has too much power. If I knew how to go about changing the dynamics I would. It seems like maybe a neutral mediator/ombudsman could help the Board and owners.

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 11:13 AM by tink

Many Associations prefer contact on a written form they provide. This is to make sure they have all the information. If there are important Legal or Safety issues, you may have to contact your state Regulatory Agency for help.  
Contacts should be polite and to the point. If none of this works, Keep in mind that you too can serve on the Board. Most owners act like tenants until there is an issue that concerns them.  
Be an active and informed owner. Protect your investment.

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 11:19 AM by L. Weiss, Realtor

I contacted the regulatory agency and BBB and neither offered help.

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 11:32 AM by tink

I tell anyone who asks that if they ever want to live in a condo be sure it is a new one (so fees will be unrealistically low to drag in more people before a reserve plan is adopted and the fees rise to where they should have been in the first place) and a large one (need lots of units so can find folks to be BOD members, volunteer ot do other tasks to save spending money - so you are not sucked in and end up doing too much because others do not care).  
My condo has 16 units. Half are owned by out of state folks who are here only occasionally (their primary concern is keeping fees low). Four others are owned by elderly folks who are just unable to participate. All encouragement to the contrary, the BOD seldom hears from anyone in writing and almost never by e-mail. Being a member of the BOD I'd LOVE to receive e-mails addressed to the BOD rather than one BOD member listening to oral beefs from someone who approached them on the street.  
I writing, e-mail or otherwise, I would state whatever portion of the bylaws that covers the perceived problem as being the basis for the request. That seems to work best.  
One condo I used to live in has a bylaw provision that says if an owner requests approval for something in writing, the BOD has 30 days to respond in writing. If not the request is automatically approved and if it involves a condo expense the association MUST pay for it. One would think that would encourage written reqjuests and/or complaints. Try asking for that!!! Be prepared to NEVER get a reply on that one.

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 11:53 AM by RPB

I am President of our Condo Association so I know first hand about communications to and from members. The key is to have every avenue of communications available for members. That said, we have a Community Manager and we continually remind everyone that the Community Manager is their best and should be their first point of contact as they should guarantee that the matter is brought to the Board's attention. 
The Board of Directors is made up of owners within a community, they are volunteers and they can have a bad day like everyone else. There is no formal training to be a Director, so you can expect a full spectrum of possible replies whenever you communicate with them directly. 
It is my understanding that the courts recognize first class mail as an appropriate means of communicating when they pass judgement. Should other forms of communication fail, send first class mail. Now who should you send the mail to? Your first choice should be the Community Manager if you have one. Should that choice fail, then mail the same document to each of the Directors. 
Should everything fail, you can petition other owners to call an association meeting, inviting the Directors, either to hear the complaints or to recall any or all the Directors and elect new. Your Bylaws or Covenants should specific what you can do in this regard. 
Legal action? That would be extreme and equivalent to suing yourself. Any financial judgement in your favor would mean that everyones assessment would go up.

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 12:00 PM by Ron

Ron.........well said 
Renee........you do not know first hand what the true situation is, then you judge....be respectful of others questions. 
As for the question in hand I feel sorry for some of these associations. 
I do know what it was like to be put on the back burner with answers. 
What did I do? I got a petition of all other members and gave the former board 30 days to respond with a meeting. 
I won, and the bully that was running the board at that time was so angry with me the day of the meeting that she yelled, spit her words, and so so upset for me calling her out on some things she was not handling properly, that she got up a screamed "I quit".....needless to say that saved the rest of us from voting her. Made by day!  
So to the one in question. Get a petition and follow the rules on how to contact the board correctly and then send it certified return receipt requested and go from there. And p.s. when voting comes around get all the members to elect a new board and then you have the opportunity to change things around. I did just that and now we have a great board, and a great management service and a lot of happy people to live with, and the former board is happy also.t....good lucka

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 12:24 PM by S

I suggest first of all you attend meetings and quote all of the unanswered correspondence you've sent. Ask the board to explain why they do not return answers. Request the board enact a policy of answering all mail they receive from owners. Consider getting on the board, being active works. As far as making contact other than physical with the board in question, return receipt and email is the proper way.  
Sorry folks I happen to agree with Renee... I've been both, non-active owner, and also a board member. She made some assumptions, true, but it is probably coming from being a board member... I am assuming now! LOL Name calling her rude and bossy as one person here did is exactly what boards experience for simply telling it like it is. Of course there are problems between owners and boards... And misunderstandings become major. The biggest is owners rarely know their CC&R's/Rules and Regulations, and also many owners who rent their property out do not educate their renters on the rules. They some how think rules don't apply any more because they are no longer living there, and/or they simply don't care. I served on a board of very active members. They were always taking care of fix-it jobs around the complex at no expense to the owners. They kept the reserve up, fees down and were diligent with maintenance and accounting. The complex always looked well maintained, and we managed to have the lowest association fees around. We did not flaunt power as some suggested here... We had none other than CC&R's and Rules and Regulation enforcement. It is where power stopped! Enforcing the rules is not easy when some think they are above the law and that the board is out to get them personally. Most owners are reasonable but the few that aren't create havoc. The board I served on took unfair abuse over and over. It was so sad. I've seen owners sit in meetings making fun if anyone complimented the boards hard work. We were called crooks, thieves, yes power hungry... and you name it! Completely untrue of course.. All because some owners were forced to comply with various rules and attempting to argue down those rules that existed. They hated the board and encouraged that hate with other owners unfairly. Hate spreads like wildfire. I've seen anger beyond reason when exceptions were not made for that person. I could go on and on here but to say if board members can't handle it, they should remove themselves is ludicrous. Board members are owners as well and have an investment to concern themselves with just like you. If you as an owner go to an occasional meeting, fine, but try going month after month and you might get an idea of what boards put up with. No matter what you say, Renee does not have a minor point, she has a major point. I've seen too many times unfounded hateful complaints made by one person where it gets old, time consuming and quite clear that this person just wants a battle. I think Renee was pointing out the need to search your own rational for complaints. That is only fair. While I do not assume the writer is guilty of bad behavior at all, it sounded as though the writer does send a lot of emails for 'clarifications and answers.' I am wondering why the no more email request was made. This needs to be addressed at the board meeting.  

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 2:36 PM by Jackie

I have received lots of feed-back to my answer to the original poster. My answer was based on the premise that this person had "sent many e-mails for clarification". I can't believe that a board president would deny answering questions on the first few e-mails but I can believe it if he/she is barraged by them. That is what I based my answer upon and I have been a board treasurer for over 7 years and have had to read so many inane e-mails from homeowners who only want to complain and then do nothing to help out. The board and I do an excellent job as we have the nicest condo community in the city. We never get help from those who complain the most so, yes, I guess I have had too many useless e-mails to take the original poster seriously. 
Original Poster: If you truly do think the board is dodging a non-compliance issue then my original suggestion is the same. Get some legal help. My condo is my only investment and I would not rely upon a series of e-mails to protect its value. I would bring in legal help or run for the board, as I did 7 years ago. I am a property accountant and have lots of overtime work but I still feel it is extremely important to be on the board and keep the community running smoothly. 

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 2:51 PM by Renee

Use your powers of tongue and pen, wise, and knowlegably, and with good intentions. But protect your interests,,,and all will go well in time.

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 3:15 PM by john mastro

It is too bad the BOARD is barraged by emails.Each and every e-mail should be read and responded to in a timely matter. This original poster has a valid complaint and has rights. You are only adding fuel to the fire.Many of these association Board members are corrupt,CATTY and downright ignorant. They bully and fine people they don't like and overlook violations on people they do like and have no accountability. I hope this original poster finds some free legal aid society and gets due process.

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 6:18 PM by tink

TOO BAD JACKIE.......this forum is not a sounding board for your problems with your board. That is your problem...We know the bylaws etc........This is not about planting flowers where u want this is outright negligence. You think you deserve chocolates and wine for your service. GET OFF YOUR throne. Look at ROD Blagojevich. COMMON SENSE goes a long way.

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 6:28 PM by tink

WOW. People who may actually care.  
I'm on the Board of a 260 unit condo. We have maybe 2 people who constantly "pester" the manager. Neither one understands what owning a condo means. They are not apartments!! 
As Board members, we do volunteer our time, in addition to doing our full time jobs. At my job, I easily get 100 emails a day. Do I have time to IMMEDIATELY respond to someone who isn't going to like my answer anyway? 
We set up a Board email at GMail. We take turns looking and responding. However, that's what we have a manager for. That's their job.  
For example, I get a monthly financial report from the management company. We have a couple extra copies at our Board meetings if someone wants to look at it. Of course, out of the 260 units, we are lucky to get 5 people to a meeting. The ones who don't come are usually the ones who complain that they don't know what's going on.

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 7:00 PM by Don

The manager needs to do his job in this case. He or She needs to answer the emails. NOT IMMEDIATELY but in a timely manner. If a board member cant do his job and do it with dignity and respect then RESIGN. You BOARD members do the POOR PITIFUL ME act. CHECK YOUR ETHIC CODE @www.gmalaw.ca/documents/articles/condolaw_directorcodeofethics.pdf ·

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 7:11 PM by mary

Hello tinker...Well maybe you should also be addressing Renee because that is who I was responding to with some of my comments. And who are you to tell me what I can or cannot discuss here? It is people like you whom I was referring to...Some must go on the attack just to be attacking! Further, you do not listen... I didn't, as you claim, talk about problems with my board, I have none!  
There was no throne I put myself on as you accuse! Again, you do not listen! I had no intention of using this forum as a sounding board as you say, only to share experiences. I simply told it like it is. As I said, it seems with some people they must go on the attack the minute you try to educate them right or wrong no matter what. You most certainly proved my point! Renee obviously shared experiences and got attacked as well. I do not recall mentioning flowers and I fully know what negligence is, although landscaping can most certainly be a big issue, a negligence issue at that. May I say, you Tinker, do not know the full story do you and how do you know what all of her emails were about for you to claim outright negligence?? Your so called 'common sense' is assuming an awful lot. She was requested to make a phone call which she chose not to do. That may have resolved the issue she had. She will never know will she? And as I suggested, attending meetings surely would not hurt in her case to help clarify why she was not being answered by the board!! 'Common sense' would tell one that it would be the next step!!! It is time you get off your pedestal and listen for a change before you go around attacking. By the way this is not youtube for you to go on your nasty attacks. Please learn to be more civil.

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 8:18 PM by Jackie

Performance of Duties – I will commit the necessary efforts, will exercise the appropriate leadership and will assume such duties as may reasonably be required to fulfill my role as a Director or Officer. I will participate in conducting the Board’s business in the form of resolutions, policies, rules or by-laws as the circumstances require. I will comply with principles of good governance and procedural rules of order. I will become wellinformed on issues and agenda items in advance of meetings. I will assist the Board to supervise, monitor and direct the on-going daily management of the Corporation by the property manager. I will duly consider the information and advice provided by the property manager and others and will seek opinions, when appropriate,  
from experienced professionals when necessary to reach a proper decision. I will follow the precept: “Directors direct; managers manage.

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 8:49 PM by Shardae

Tink Wow, gee I was on message, it was your attacks I was responding to, which I might say you were totally off subject and off base on! So you can kick and scream at me but I am not to respond or else I am the 'Idiot?' My comments were not even directed at you in the first place. You are a sad case indeed! You most certainly have anger issues don't you? By the way no where does the orginal poster say that she phoned a board member. Did you even read her post? And again I think you are attacking me just to be attacking. Why do you find it so necessary to be in such a rage??capitalizing your rage makes it quite clear. I never said this person did not deserve answers, I think I made that clear. Calm down and read what was posted.

posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 10:16 PM by Jackie

I served on our condo board as tresurer for 3 years and president for over 3 years, until my health acted up. I believe that a realistic self assessment and a list of the characteristics of a good board member should be sent to all residents running for the board. The #1 job of the board is to protect and serve the community. No personal agendas. I certainly was not a perfect president but some things I did worked. Involve as many residents as you can on committees and listen to them. Answer every phone call with "How may I help you", mean it and LISTEN. At board meetings ask the groups opinion, even though it is not an official vote. For big issues we had pro and con discussions and everyone spoke that wanted to. Issues did not come off the board agendas until they were resolved so nothing fell through the cracks. I have be off the board for 4 years now and I still get phone calls from residents. Maybe this will help someone. I hope so. These measures really got the residents involved and they were truly appreciated for their efforts.

posted @ Tuesday, July 03, 2012 1:52 AM by Kris

Sorry about your situation. I wish I knew a bit more about the nature of the problem(s) that your emails concerned. You state that your board president told ALL the unit owners not to send emails, not just you, but on paper at least lists emails as a viable bod contact. 
You appear to be trying to get some answers that are important to you. You say that they are afraid to answer you, but did not say why. The bod failure to respond to your emails, have you so concerned that you might like to sue, or look to some governmental agency for help. It seems that what ever answer they have for you, they will not put it in writing-only by telephone. That does not sound quite right to me. You have got some good advice to know your decs; bylaws; and state laws. 
I have been on both sides of the fence, and observed a mix of good directors, and those that were inappropriate, and corrupt. 
You got some good advice on what to do and to continue to send emails, certified mail, fax.  
There could be a lot of laws on the books that will be helpful to you. Legitimate requests should be answered. Those that are otherwise the bod should say so appropriately.

posted @ Tuesday, July 03, 2012 3:10 AM by serola

Please keep in mind to all condo or HOA owners. 
You are the one that is suppose to be in control of your own unit and interest. 
So please please read your documents and and Decl. and rules of your state. Everything is in there that you want to know. 
If you don't know how to go about doing this, then seek help.  
Also you are the ones that vote these BOD bullys in and you can vote them out just as well. Go to your meetings and care about your interest. When people don't care, then the BOD will not care either. 
Your board is not compliying with the rules of your state and someone needs to step up and start to change things around. 
I posted my original message to you. Now it is up to you to grab the bully by the horns and fight back. To many condo owners always lets it up to others to take care of business and then what do you have? Learn to fight back with the proper tools and you will win. 
I did just that and now serve on my board and I have a good board going. All it takes is time and a little patience and you will have followers that will respect you in the long run.  
We are doing great right now, and I get Thank Yous along with my Great V.P who works along with me. The Pres.'s head is in the clouds so usually it is just us 2 that does the work. We have an excellent management service (The girl) is the best. And open communication, emails and trust is the key. Now get to work and go find your crew to work with you and get that petiotion going. Good Luck!!!!!

posted @ Tuesday, July 03, 2012 10:03 AM by s

I completely agree with the complaint about owners not knowing their CC&Rs, bylaws and laws. However, unless you are an attorney, this is a daunting task for many people. And not every document is easily accessable or on record. I have pretty good reading comprehension, but some the the legalese is difficult to understand for this BS,MS and PhD trained and practiced in technical writing (with an emphasis on simple declarative sentences). Legalese is full of the passive voice, complex structure and unclear references to obscure laws that an real estate attorney expert have difficulty verifying. 
I suppose that is why they bill 150-400 dollars an hour.

posted @ Wednesday, July 04, 2012 7:43 PM by john mastro

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