As a condominium owner living in a community controlled by an association, you may sometimes feel frustration or even anger at the way the board of directors or management company treats you. Associations are powerful, often operate arbitrarily, and may act beyond their rights to harass and threaten residents. However, that does not mean you are helpless or do not have rights of your own. Read on for five of the most important statutory rights that many condo owners do not know they have. There are many more that are not part of this article. If you feel any of your rights have been violated, you should contact an attorney immediately.
- You have the right to at least 48 hours notice of board and committee meetings. The notice must be posted in an obvious place on the association’s property. However, if there is a valid emergency, the board or committee may meet without notice.
- You are permitted to attend all board and committee meetings. This includes the right to speak about items that are designated on the agenda and tape record or videotape the meeting. There is an exception for meetings with the association’s attorney in very specific circumstances.
- If the board is considering a special assessment or changes to rules affecting condominium use, notice must be given at least 14 days before the meeting. This is to ensure all residents have the opportunity to respond regarding any such proposed change. Notice must be by mail, electronically, or personal delivery, and must also be posted on the property.
- You may look at the association’s financial records. This is one of the most important rights that you have to keep tabs on your association. The association may adapt “reasonable rules” regarding record keeping, but it must make the records available within five business days of a written request. Additionally, you may make copies of any records at your expense.
- If the association or another party claims that you violated the condominium’s documents, no fine or suspension of rights can occur unless you were given proper notice and a hearing before a committee of unit owners. This helps to ensure that rules are not applied arbitrarily or selectively to certain residents.
Junilla Sledziewski, Esq. © 2013