Friday, May 31, 2013

Condo Commandos

Is your condo board of directors acting within the law? Or are they making it up as they go and potentially exposing themselves and the association to lawsuits? I can say with certainty that there is more than one board of cowboy directors in Cocoa Beach that fits in the latter category. It's not uncommon to find condo associations enforcing rules that are in contradiction to the condo docs or enforcing legitimate rules unequally. I've had a condo director tell me that he knew the pet rule he was enforcing was different than the policy spelled out in the docs but that he was doing it for the good of the owners. This same board is also rigidly enforcing occupancy limits that are in contradiction to the docs. No one has challenged so it goes on.

Can't the Board just add a rule changing the pet restrictions in the docs? How about a new rule limiting the number of units one person or entity can own? We must go to the original docs to answer that. "The authority for the board to enact a given rule or regulation must be either expressly authorized in the governing documents or Declaration of Condominium or be reasonably inferred therefrom."

If your board has adopted a new rule prohibiting pets in contradiction to the docs you are under no obligation to find a new home for Spot. The law is specific about a board's authority and the process for limiting uses and rights. Merely adding a new rule to the old rules and backdating the document does not make that rule enforceable and it might expose the directors to liability. Targeting a specific owner through such methods is doubly dangerous. Cowboy directors, if you're reading this, you are encouraged to shape up and follow the rules. If you're in an association with a renegade board, you may want to point them to this post and to this one by Jean Winters, Esq.

"If honesty is the best policy, then is dishonesty the 
second best policy?"  _____Grant Williams