The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

June 24, 2013

Real estate Q&A: Condo board may have exceeded authority

QUESTION: I live in a condominium for seniors, and the building needs repairs. The board has decided to hire workers for the job without consulting the unit owners, who would prefer to put the project out for bids. What are our rights?

-Nora

Q: My condo board approved an assessment of more than $1.2 million in one building and $650,000 in another for a gated parking lot that the unit owners don’t want and didn’t vote on. Our bylaws say any special assessments for alterations or improvements to the common areas must be approved by 75 percent of the unit owners.

-Natalie

ANSWER: Natalie, because the board appears to have broken the rules, I recommend speaking to an attorney about suing the association and/or filing a complaint with the state.

Nora, your situation is more difficult because the board likely can take this action. Unless there is some sort of kickback or insider relationship, you probably will have to persuade the board to your way of thinking.

In this column, I’ve recommended that unit owners who want to make real change need to run for the board and work from the inside. I realize this may not be possible due to time constraints or other reasons.

At the very least, show up at the board meetings and politely voice your concerns. Get your neighbors involved by educating them on the issues that they might not even know about. Some residents have properly posted notices or created newsletters that led to great success in getting things fixed.

The relationship between the condo board and its members is often contentious, and there may be no way around that. It’s difficult for the board to juggle the many priorities of the community, the limitations of the budget and the wants and needs of unit owners.

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