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What happens when condo association doesn't follow own rules?

Posted on Wed, Jan 30, 2013 @ 07:30 AM
What can unit owners do about a board that does not follow the governing standards set up in the Declaration and the By-Laws? They are fully aware that they are in violation but refuse to change.



Sue if you have thousands and thousands of dollars. Otherwise remove the Board members from the Board.

posted @ Wednesday, January 30, 2013 7:50 AM by Lynn

There are always people who like to place principle above expediency. There are hundreds of rules and regulations and it is easy to find violations. In the meantime, the world doesn't have to stop if the Board finds it necessary to ignore one. People are are fond of making distinctions without differences.

posted @ Wednesday, January 30, 2013 7:58 AM by Michael E Katz

HA!! Rules! We don't need no stinking rules! 
The question is too broad, you should specify the state and the nature and number of alleged violations. 
It depends on state law, options allowed in your Declarations and by-laws, how egregious and numerous the violations, and how much money you have to blow on attorneys, 
how the other condominium unit owners feel about the violations. 
Communication options: Speak, email, write, write via certified letter to each administrator or director on the board your complaints.  
Political/networking options: Speak, email write your fellow unit owners. Campaign for reform and run for a position on the board of directors or administrators to enact reforms. 
Legal: Some states have offices or ombudsman. Some of the violations may be statutary violiations. 
Consult an attorney and litigation: Litigation is very slow, extremely expensive, cumbersome and risky if you lose (you will pay the your and their lawyer bill which can be 10s of thousands of dollars). 
Foggetta bout it! It the bills are paid, the assessments not to high and the association muddling along... just live with it. 
Or get involved on the board. 
My association board is ignorant of the laws, the declarations and the rules, but muddles along... In my state the legal option is litigation only. So Me Worry? only a little.

posted @ Wednesday, January 30, 2013 7:58 AM by john mastro

At my condo association the board is choosing to ignore the bylaws about how condo fees are assessed. They want to charge me more than the bylaws dictate. I have asked them how they come to their calculation and they have no explanation. It has now turned into a legal matter.

posted @ Wednesday, January 30, 2013 8:14 AM by AD

I moved into a condo three years ago to find out it had a very long,wide crack in foundation told the board in 16 ft snow with an estimate; ignored me; three years later I want to sell they decided it was their legal by law duty to fix it I WAS NOT ONLY IGNORED BUT HAVE LOST THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN TIME WAITING TO PUT A FLOOR DOWN AND TILL THIS DAY THEY HAVE NOT DONE RIGHT BY ME AND THE CRACK IS STILL NOT ADDRESSED AND NO FLOOR YET TO PUT DOWN.....AND OTHER REPAIRS HAVE NEVER BEEN ADDRESSED THREE YEARS FROM THEN

posted @ Wednesday, January 30, 2013 8:22 AM by diane stein

Usually, a developer will file a legal document with the Registrar of Deed for a county called 'Declaration of Condominium, Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions'. That document has nothing to do with the actual HOA government. 
The HOA will have to be incorporated with your state. That legal document is the 'Articles of Incorporation of ...'. Contained within that document, usually created by a law firm, are articles that describe the HOA and provide the basis for governing. In addition, the founding HOA Bylaws are usually included. 
Once the HOA has Board consists of just owners, then the Board can create a more refined Bylaw document which is subsequently approved by owners at a general or annual meeting. One would hope that the final Bylaws would be in line with Robert's Rules. Most Bylaws are not as complete as Robert's Rules, in fact a good practice in the HOA industry is to use Robert's Rules as the final arbitrator in any governing dispute. 
Should you find that your Board has violated the HOA Bylaws, it is your duty to inform them and request that they follow the Bylaws. Should the Board continue to violate the Bylaws, it is your right to petition other owners within the HOA to hold a meeting to discuss the violations and take appropriate action. One appropriate action would be to recall the Board and elect a new Board.

posted @ Wednesday, January 30, 2013 8:45 AM by Ron - NC

The board members who do not follow rules and regs that are setup? Because the paying membership allows them to do it? That’s why. It is legal=no.  
Is the management company in place following the board members directions to allow this, apparently yes. Are the board members doing the best they can under the issues? That’s up to the paying members to hold them accountable - if the paying members don't care, except for you, it's an uphill battle unless you take legal means to stop it. Be sure if you do this and they resign, you will need to step up to take their place- being as a sitting board member I say if the members do not like what is being done, recall the board and elect new members to take their place as yourself - do not complain unless you are ready to take their place - you as a voting member have the power to take control if that’s what you want - good luck

posted @ Wednesday, January 30, 2013 9:12 AM by j

Ron - NC somes it more concisely and j has good points.  
The relationship between the unit owner and the association is one of rights and obligations on both parts, defined by federal, state law, contractual law (RYDF, Read Your Documents Firs), tort law.  
Learn your rights and obligations, and if your rights are violated and the other party is not performing its obligations, communicate and act. Do not do it alone, communicate with the unit owners.  

posted @ Wednesday, January 30, 2013 9:50 AM by john mastro

Your BoD is not following the bylaws. Jon says let it ride. Well that is exactly what we did and are now paying for it. Our reseve fund was used for operational funds to purchase costly items without owners vote. Our insurance deductible was changed without owners consent. We have more than one dog owned by owners and some large dogs--One we have to avoid because he is viscious and wants to bite everyone. Votes were counted last year in another room by prop. mgt. secretary and board pres. kept running in/out of room. The answer is not to muddle alone. The answer is to be proactive and run for the board as we are doing. We will make change and we have the support of many unit owners. We have studied all our condo docs, the statutes, etc. and also Board Certified. We will change things around and do it all legally. Don't muddle through. Read all you docs and condo law for your state and then go to friends and show and tell them the correct way things should be done. Good Luck! Randi

posted @ Wednesday, January 30, 2013 10:12 AM by Randi

See if your state has an Ombudsman office to investigate. Then Sue them. Spend the money. You'll usually get it back. Along with lots of bad feelings from your neighbors. Turnkey operation my derriere. Docs and Bylaws are useless in most states. Sue.

posted @ Wednesday, January 30, 2013 11:21 AM by

I have noticed over the past year that it's always the board that doesn't follow the rules. 
What about the homeowners/residents? the BOD are homeowners, just like us. Few are any more qualified than most homeowners.

posted @ Wednesday, January 30, 2013 11:30 AM by Mel

A police officer once told me "I only have time to arrest the worst speeders." That's the way it should be in life. Just because you have time to nitpic others doesn't mean everyone does. If what the Board is doing is very wrong, let them do their jov. Otherwise: shut the hell up.

posted @ Wednesday, January 30, 2013 11:51 AM by Jim

Man, this is a fair question, but one that has many correct answers. Randi says that Reserve Funds were used for Operational puirposes--that's serious. But then she says that they were used to purchase costly items. Could be serious. or could be nitpicking. Depends on what the items were. Then she says that the Board changed the insurance deductable. Unusally that is under the control of the Insurance cCompany not the Board.  
everyone, including the president is allowed to watch the count. Best is to have it in the same room, but as long as it is public it can be in any room. The biting dog is serious and the Board should address that to avoid future liablilty. Some rules have little effect on the HOA and other are major. Be able to pick which violations to fight. Otherwise, you are like a child. Be mature./

posted @ Wednesday, January 30, 2013 12:22 PM by Dead Eye Dick

AD writes:My "board is choosing to ignore the bylaws about how condo fees are assessed. They want to charge me more than the bylaws dictate. " Now, this is serious and should be taken care of. The Board cannot change assessment rates with getting a vote from 100% (one-hundred percent) of the Membership 9 in Florida.)  

posted @ Wednesday, January 30, 2013 12:27 PM by Dead Eye Dick

The Legislative body of our government never thought that the Board of Directors of a Condo would ever want to do anything against the condo owners that were their neighbors, therefore, no laws were made to throw the greedy board members in jail for cheating their fellow condo owners.  
A normal honest condo mgm. co. & board of directors of a condo would not think this could be possible but please keep on reading as this is how it happened. The management company our community had gave free maintenance and assessments to the board members plus extras because board members allowed the management co. to do as they pleased replacing items that didn't even need to be replaced just to profit from the job. Doing replacements made the most for the board and mgm. co. so they replaced more items than needed to be replaced and profited nicely from those replacements since no one checked the price of the jobs. This was tax free money for the board and the mgm. co. It was a win/win thing. I happened to be one person who had things done that didn't need to be done to my condo and the replacements went against the bylaws which were never followed by the board involved with this mgm. co Our horrible board members involved never even thought that the projects could be defective & they were. The board & management co. refused to make repairs on my 82 year old neighbor 
s condo & she had to have the repairs made herself and pay for them. The contractor made a big mistake and I am worried that this can happen to me since my condo was done right after my neighbors whose condo was done incorrectly. As of today, the board has refused to make repairs to my condo and I cannot afford to pay to have my condo repaired on my own. The board doesn't want to make repairs that had to be made because of a mistake made by the contractor and the board members involved w/the management co. have made up so many horrible lies about me to other condo owners that I don't know if can get condo owners to believe me.  
I saw that Randi mentioned that the board changed the insurance deductible. Honestly, that happened to our community also without our knowledge and it was changed from $1,000 to $2,500 but this wasn't bad compared to the other insurance fraud I believe the mgm. co. along with the corrupt board members did. I had an insurance claim for a whole lot of damage done and it was weeks since it was submitted so I called the mgm. co to see about the claim and was told that the claim was refused. I then called the insurance co. to find out that the mgm. co. employee put in a claim that wasn't submitted 2 years earlier and it was too late for it to be considered. I had a witness at my home when the mgm. co. employee & the adjustor was there but nothing seems to scare the mgm. co. as they just have the condo attorney at our expense lie for them to get whatever they want done. I tried my best to get the payment for my insurance claim and I think because the 2nd set of adjustors sent to me condo wouldn't lie for those involved because I knew who the adjustors were as they tried to keep their idenity a secret but I found their name mentioned called them and only then did the mgm. co. offer me about 1/4 of the claim. The money paid to me came from the mgm. co's account and when the check was written the condo attorney wrote on the back of the check that if I cashed the check it would mean I was satisfied with the amount received as payment in full. The board members were not smart enough to know that I could still sue them for fraud if I find out the amount I received wasn't payment in full and I know it wasn't because of the unsigned estimate that was from the first adjustor who came to my condo when the mgm. co. employee told me the claim was refused when she submitted the wrong claim. See, she also submitted the right claim and these horrible people got away with keeping 3/4's of the amount paid. They harass anyone proactive and last year took me to court at the condo owner's expense and they lost but it didn't matter I'm sure because they probably padded the legal fees and the board and mgm. co. made a profit off an untrue summons against my daughter and myself. This is what can happen with a very corrupt mgm. co. along with some members of the board who just can't do the best for their neighbors as they promised and instead think it is okay to make money by allowing bills to be padded. I kinow for sure a $2,500 charge was submitted at $17,500 and that I lost excellent items from my condo so that the mgm. co. & board members involved could profit $15,000.  
Randi, if you read this, I would like to know how your community was changed because even though we got a new management company, I believe we will still be taken advantage of with the 2 corrupt board members who already profited from the condo owners. Once given perks like free maintenance and free assessments plus more it is hard for non successful men to settle for being honest and ethical.  
I hope our current president's and his other corrupt board member's happiness comes from all the happiness they gave me. If I could get a wish from God that is what it would be. May their happiness depend on how happy their being on the board made me.  
This is too long...thanks for reading and have a wonderful new year and hope you all have a much better board president than our community has.

posted @ Wednesday, January 30, 2013 3:30 PM by Evelyn A. Doyle

Evelyn A. Doyle: 
Get your medication adjusted lady!

posted @ Wednesday, January 30, 2013 4:33 PM by john_mastro

Ok time for the blog moderator to step in and delete this and the last two threads. 
Show some mercy on our eyes!

posted @ Wednesday, January 30, 2013 4:35 PM by john_mastro@hotmail.com

These decs/docs are there for a reason, it helps to protect your investment in your property, its maintenance, and finances. Many states have an agency to which you can report serious malfeasance of the bod. Penalties can include, placing an over seer in charge of the property, and decertification, until the offences are ammended.  
Acting alone can put you in a difficult and precarious position, as well as subjection to intimidation and harrassment. 
Any refussal to follow the standards is a red flag that could endanger your investment and be very costly in the end. You have the right to be concerned. 
Make sure that any interactions with the bod about this is in letter to each bod member. Do not threaten, seek to get the facts, so that you will know how to deal with this situation. The bod is not a dictator ship, nor a private club, it is either for the whole ownership's benefit, or it is only looiking out for itself, which will lead to disaster for owners.

posted @ Wednesday, January 30, 2013 6:25 PM by serola

Fl statutes state that reserve funds cannot be used for anything other than intended purposes without the advanced majority vote of unit owners. Also, Fl statutes state that a BoD cannot raise the insurance deductable more than 5% of what it has been without majority owner vote. Right now, we have a vote on waiving the reserves or not for the upcoming year that is a combined sheet for the voting proxy /voting certificate / waiving of audit with a financial sheet. The sheet states the secretary will be your listed proxy unless you assign it to someone else. Also, your signature gives prpt. mgt. permission to count the votes where he designates. No where on the form does it state the paragraph as required by Statutes for waiving reserves. We have never had an audit and it is required every 4 yrs by state of Florida--we are going on 7 yrs. If this board somehow remains in office after our Feb. election there are a majority of us that will do an official recall and a complaint will be filed with the Division of FL. Condo, TimeShares, and Mobile Homes. Even if they do not remain in office and we review the financials, we may have to get the Ombudsman office to investigate anyway. This is too nice a place with too many nice people to let a pres. / puppet board rule in terror.

posted @ Wednesday, January 30, 2013 6:48 PM by Randi


posted @ Thursday, January 31, 2013 10:44 AM by Linda M. Genco

LINDA M.G. Do you actually believe that your life is in danger? Is the Board really the source of that danger? 

posted @ Thursday, January 31, 2013 11:18 AM by Sally Santiago

Sally Santiago,  
When you are a Disabled Senior who was President for 8 years & is now in a wheelchair they kick you to the curb because you cannot go downtown to get you name off papers legally. I don't know what area of chicago you live in but when you have people living under you for 3+ years who do not work and you have proof that their income is ilegal police & board members ignore & say it is a Federal case. All I can say is you must be one of them ! Go back where you came from . In AMERICA WE CARE. 

posted @ Thursday, January 31, 2013 11:59 AM by Linda m.Genco

I am of the mind that board members who wish to serve should understand that they are supposed to be role models for owners. If they break rules, what's to keep owners from doing the same? 
Our board is very strict about holding owners accountable. The owner of a sixpound dog who urinates on the way to the pet area receives a violation notice. That's how bad they are . On a first offense! We finally banded together and asked for more reasonableness. Our board sent a notice to an owner who had a towel on a railing in the rear of the condos while a board member was drying mattress protectors, rugs, afghans etc. You bet we hold them accountable when they break the rules. Owners have to band together or it will get worse. Your silence is your consent!

posted @ Thursday, January 31, 2013 4:22 PM by Vall Vonn

As an exercise, I will try to list rules our condo association does not follow: 
1) fails to designate an office 
2) fails to provide access to meeting minutes, executive and regular and he financial records 
3) fails to keep proper financial records (ledger) 
4) fails to keep a certified list of voters for each unit.  
5) Voted a non-qualifed person to be an officer (relative of owner) 
6) allows multipler persons to vote per unit 
7) fails to have the minimum of two executive meetings per year 
8) fails to enforce 2 signatory rule on checkes and contracts 
9) fails to provide notice of meetings in person on via mail 
10) Paid a large portion of our funds to a master association , in my opinion , not a common expense. 
11) failed to maintain the minimum number of BOD members (3 ) for a year. 
12) failed to have financeds reviewed by accountant 
13) allowed a coowner to perform construction removing interior walls without the required permission and without a building permit. 
14) no rules and regulations 
15) no coherant collection policy (the one they have conflicts with the by-laws 
16) fails to provide a budget for several 
17) fails to have the annual meeting at the date in the bylaws. 
etc, etc etc...

posted @ Saturday, February 02, 2013 11:38 AM by john mastro

John, Can you get others interested in making a change? You have done some homework. With all the things you researched, just copy/paste the particular statutes, bylaw, etc. and zip it out in an email to friends and others who share your concern. Do not name names or make this a personal vendetta. Attack situations not people. Do not state it as a definate law broken but title it something like, "Are these a concern for you?" Good Luck!

posted @ Wednesday, February 06, 2013 6:45 PM by Randi

You said: " including the president is allowed to watch the count. Best is to have it in the same room, but as long as it is public it can be in any room." Excuse me, but if you are following Robert's Rules, the board should have nothing to do with counting the ballots. I would assume this to mean even as a supervisor. Was anyone allowed to count the votes if they so pleased?

posted @ Saturday, February 09, 2013 3:09 PM by Dianne

@Randi... I have written to the Board , with various renditions of the laundry list of possible deficiencies, rules violations, and law violations. I am not sure that everyone in the condominium cares. One of the board members asked me to advise him on agenda items for a forthcoming executive meeting of the board. In a series of emails and letters I made suggestions but I also asked that the Board hire a real estate attorney and get a consultation on their obligations to follow the documents and statutes. The steps they would have to take to be more in compliance are not that hard to do, but just take more organization and a willingness to make a little effort. A few of the 12 unit owners dont care for laws or rules and are actively hostile to my suggestions that any changes be made. They prefer laize faire, live in the moment, no planning or preparation or presentation of the numbers or any records.

posted @ Monday, February 11, 2013 2:53 PM by john mastro

You are in a nasty situation, it will NOT get better if you leave it alone. your fellow owners do not seem supported or much involved. Nevertheless at some point you may all pay dearly. 
I think you are going to have to pick your fight very carefully as a lot has gone haywire here, and you will face much hostility. 
Best bet-follow the money. The bod may have no records, but there would certainly be bank account records. Your keen interest in this area may help the bod to start addressing this area. Look to see what laws are open to you in this matter.  

posted @ Tuesday, February 12, 2013 3:22 AM by serola

I appreciate your comments. I was the president until Aug 2013. I have plenty of info I have given to Alderman concerning our renters who are destroying our bldg. I have told them they will pay down the road but they still won't get involved. I was told by Chicago Bar to try and take legal action myself. 
I had a nice condo Attorney who would have made the slum owner give the tenants a 10 day notice for $175.00 dollars. Our new President called the Attorney & I am now accussed of impersonating the president! After 8 years of being what your blog calls Sucker! He & the other owners all have their own agenda like renting to tenants who refuse to work for long enough to know they never will & don't want to drugs & crime are easier. We have a really nice street here with people who care about their property except for our bldg. 
anyway we will see what our Alderman says about this situation. 
Linda& Pepper (the Cat) I was told it would cost me 10's of thousands to hire a condo attorney to make owners follow our Rules & Regulation.

posted @ Tuesday, February 12, 2013 10:09 AM by Linda GTenco

if you are capable enough, on your own you can petition a court to tell the association to follow the declarations and bylaws... maybe you can find a legal clinic to help you .

posted @ Saturday, February 16, 2013 8:08 PM by john mastro

John Mastro and Condo Blog, 
Thank you for taking the time to answer my blog. I am hoping it won't come to that because I am A Disabled Senior & like other owners in some condos that do want to get involved cannot afford a Condo Attorney. Some one else on your blog has advised me to first contact local authorities which I have done last week. Alderman Ray Suarez Vice Mayor in Chicago. I have already been warned by a friend that you cannot always depend on the law.  
Thank you 
Linda Genco 
I am sure if condo owners take a stand & force our local officials to take action someone will listen. 
To anyone trying to email me I don't always get my messages due to cables,computer&phones going dead because of tenants who think I might just give up & move out. which would be alot easier than submitting a lease for some reason? 
Have a nice weekend 
Keep the Faith 

posted @ Sunday, February 17, 2013 12:07 PM by Linda Genco

Fl statues now state that if you have a medical excuse you can now have a Pet in a Condo that does not allow pets. 
A board member got an excuse and now has a huge pet in their condo. Members of the community are asking the other board members why this is allowed. How do I handle this?

posted @ Saturday, March 16, 2013 2:22 PM by Pat

Pat some things come into play here. Read carefully the law that gives medical reasons to have a pet. It might read not pet but an animal that provides a specific service to its ill owner.  
If the pet is a legitimate service animal under your states law, it trumps your decs/docs. I suspect that it bothers you and perhaps other owners too that a member of the bod might be putting one over on owners to get a pet, not allowed by your docs. No one likes to be fooled.

posted @ Sunday, March 17, 2013 1:44 PM by serola

Our Declaration and By-Laws are legally registered in the Register of Deeds in our county courthouse. No changes/amendments have been made since 1992. 
The Board in many instances does not follow the By-Laws. They have a meeting, take a vote and make changes which they want. Then when we question this activity they say that Robert's Rules of Order allows them to do so.......My thinking is that Robert's rules of Order can't change one word of that legally fashioned and registered document.

posted @ Monday, July 15, 2013 10:13 PM by Jo Ann

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