New Condo Rules In Conn Helps Owners Learn What Their Associations Are Up To

July 24, 2010
By

For an estimated 250,000 condominium owners in Connecticut, this month will be remembered as the watershed time when unprecedented legal protections went into effect.

Thanks to legislation adopted by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. M. Jodi Rell, the playing field – according to state Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell Jr. –  for condo boards and unit owners has been somewhat leveled.

While the traditional media has for the most part not picked up on this huge story, the unprecedented new rights for condo owners in Connecticut went into effect July 1. It gives them the right to know when their boards of associations meet, to attend the meetings, to be able to speak up and to get access to documents that before could simply be denied.

“It actually gives owners a leg up,” Farrell said. As an attorney who practiced real estate law prior to becoming consumer protection chief, Farrell spent many hours counseling potential condo owners about the risks they faced and their lack of rights.

William W. Ward, a Stamford attorney who specializes in condo law, agrees with Farrell that the updated condo act provides new protection to condo owners, but foresees more work and stress for condo associations that must abide by the rules, some of which will cost them money and some of which he says are not defined clearly.

As anyone who has ever purchased a condo knows, there is no such thing as “carefree” condo living.

While much of the work – especially outside jobs like the lawn care and plowing – is handled for condo owners, you give up many rights when you join an association.

I have had dozens of requests for help from condo owners who tell me that their boards are secretive, that they award contracts to friends and relatives of board members, arbitrarily enforce rules, refuse to provide financial documents, meet in secret, and harass those who oppose them.

Then there are the unit owners with too much time on their hands, or who hate animals, and enjoy making life miserable for those who violate the most meaningless rules. They are often referred to as “condo Nazis.”

The major changes in the condo laws were actually signed by Gov. Rell a year ago, but because there were so many new provisions, most only went into effect on July 1.

Besides requiring all boards to inform unit owners of all meetings, permit unit owners to speak at the meetings, and to provide financial or otherwise important documents, the legislation also makes it easier for associations to borrow money without having to track down every unit owner, and it makes it easier for associations at condos built before 1984 to borrow money based on future income.

One of the more interesting aspects of the amended Act is a requirement that all material provided to board members must be made “reasonably available” to unit owners, said Ward, who represents 120 condo associations in complexes ranging from four to 237 units.

In a lengthy analysis of the revisions (available in full on CtWatchdog.com), Ward notes that these board member packets normally contain sensitive and confidential information, which the act does not give specific guidance for.

For example, Ward said unit owners have a right to know that some other owners are behind on their monthly maintenance fees, but they don’t have a right to know the identities of those who are late payers.

There are also legal matters, complaints, and contract negotiations that the board would not want to be made public.

Then there is the question of how much to charge for making copies of documents and who would provide the documents, especially in the case of small associations.

But looking at the larger picture, Ward said the act is clear in its intent to require more transparency and give unit owners the right to know what is happening in their association.

And while the changes in this act will not solve all condo issues, the more information that an owner or prospective owner has available, the better decisions they can make.

FULL ANALYSIS OF CONDO ACT

ACKERLY & WARD

William W. Ward

July 1, 2010 Revisions to the Connecticut Condominium Statutes

On July 8, 2009 Governor Rell signed the most comprehensive amendments to the condominium statutes, since the statutes were originally enacted. The amendments affect everyone living in shared communities, condominiums, cooperatives, and planned unit developments. Due to the number of revisions, most were not effective until July 1, 2010.

Two provisions were effective upon passage. The first removed hurdles facing Associations seeking mortgagee approval for specific actions such as amending Bylaws and Declarations. If a mortgagee does not respond within forty-five (45) days after being notified of a proposed action in a record, the mortgagee’s consent is granted automatically.

The second change affected Associations created before 1984, which would not have the right to obtain a loan without first amending their documents. Pre-1984 Associations now have the right to pledge their future income to secure a loan unless the Declaration specifically prohibits such an assignment.

GOVERNANCE

The legislative intent behind many of the changes is to create transparency in the affairs of Associations. The legislature wants Unit Owners to be able to offer opinions as to issues facing their communities. Prior to the legislation, owners often were unable to obtain information concerning Association affairs either through uncertainty in their documents or under the applicable statutes.

The new amendments require that every Board meeting be “open”. Every Unit Owner is now allowed to attend every Board meeting. A Board meeting cannot be held without a

portion of the meeting being allocated for comments by Unit Owners on any issue affecting the community. The Board must send notice and an agenda for each Board meeting to all Unit Owners at least five (5) days prior to the meeting. A Unit Owner is allowed to send an agent or representative to attend the Board meeting in his place. During Unit Owner participation Unit Owners are allowed to speak “comment regarding any matter affecting the Common Interest Community and the Association.” Finally, all materials provided to Board members for the meeting must be made “reasonably available” to Unit Owners.

That last requirement will require significant changes in current practices since the management package often contains confidential information, which cannot be shared with Unit Owners. Therefore, two (2) different management packages will need to be prepared. One will be for Board members only and contain the confidential information. The second package – to be made reasonably available to Unit Owners – must be redacted to remove any confidential or private information such as Unit Owners delinquencies, information concerning on going litigation, negotiation of commercial contracts, or anything else to be reviewed in Executive Session. The record-keeping statute protects those records, which must be kept in confidence.

The list of items, which should be considered in an Executive Session include consultation with legal counsel concerning legal matters, discussion of existing litigation or potential litigation or mediation, arbitration, or administrative proceedings; labor or personnel matters; contracts, leases, or other commercial transactions being negotiated, including the review of bids or proposals, if premature general knowledge of these matters placed the Association at a disadvantage; and to prevent public knowledge of any matter that the Board or committee determines would violate the privacy of any person. My opinion is that this provision requires that all hearings for infractions or violations of the condominium documents should be held in Executive Session. No final vote or action may be taken during Executive Session; therefore, the Board must reconvene into open session and vote on the record.

The Board meetings may now be held by phone, video, or other electronic methods, however, Boards must ensure Unit Owners are able to participate, hear everything discussed, and have the ability to comment – at least during the public participation period.

The legislation also prevents Unit Owners from claiming a Board’s action was illegal unless the Unit Owner challenges the action in Court within sixty (60) days of the approved minutes of the Board meeting being distributed to Unit Owners.

The above does not change the Board’s ability to act by unanimous consent provided the consent is documented into a written record, authenticated by all members, and promptly provided to all Unit Owners. The above rules do apply, however, to any committee meeting if the committee is authorized to act on behalf of the Association.

Many of the same changes apply to Unit Owner meetings. There must be a period for Unit Owner comment. Electronic notices for all meetings are now legal. The notice of a Unit Owner meeting must contain a statement of the general nature of any proposed amendments. Telephone, video, or any other conferencing processes are now allowed for owner meetings. Special meetings of the owners may now be called by the President, majority of the Executive Board, or Unit Owners having at least twenty percent (20%) of the voting right if the Association fails to call or notice a special meeting within fifteen (15) days after receipt of a petition by the secretary requesting the special meeting. The only business allowed to be transacted at the special meeting is business specified in the

notice.

The Amendment process has been modified slightly. Post-1984 condominiums are now allowed to reduce the vote required to amend its Declaration from the traditional two-thirds (2/3) to not less then a majority. It also allows specific amendments to be approved by vote of Unit Owners or Units in a specified group affected by the Amendment, rather than approval by the entire community. It also allows use restrictions to be approved by eighty percent (80%) of the affected Units rather than the entire community.

Two (2) significant changes involve removal of Board Members. A majority of Unit Owners at an Owner’s Meeting may now remove a member of the Board provided that the proposed removal was in the notice of the meeting. In addition, Robert’s Rules of Order apply to all owner’s meetings unless the Declaration or Bylaws provide otherwise or two-thirds (2/3) of the votes allocated to owners present at the meeting vote to suspend those rules.

VOTING

Directed or undirected proxy now allows balloting in person at a meeting, or. No owner may vote more then fifteen percent (15%) of the vote in the Association with undirected proxies. Voting is also allowed without a meeting either electronically or by paper ballot. If the voting is by ballot, the ballot must set forth each proposed action or office to be filled and provide an opportunity to vote for or against the action or the candidate for office. The ballots must also indicate the responses need to meet quorum requirements, state the percentage of votes necessary to approve each matter, specify the time and date which the ballot must be delivered to the Association to be counted, and a deadline for and manner by which Unit Owners wishing to deliver information to all Unit Owners regarding the subject of the vote may do so.

INSURANCE

Possibly the most controversial, and significant, changes to the act involve insurance. All Associations must now purchase fidelity insurance for members of the Board of Directors, which covers losses from theft, embezzlement, burglary, etc. The second major change makes it mandatory for the master policy to cover all improvements and betterments to the units rather than covering only the original developer-installed components of the Unit. Associations can “opt-out” from this provision, but it requires that the Association amend the Declaration, create an inventory of the developer-installed components, distribute that list annually to every Unit Owner, and include that list in all Resale Certificates. The third major insurance amendment allows the Association to assess the deductible, or any unreimbursed loss for damage, which occurs as a result of “willful misconduct”, gross negligence, or violation of written maintenance standards against the offending Unit Owner.

RULEMAKING AND ENFORCEMENT

The definition of a Rule is expanded to cover any policy, guideline, restriction, procedure, regulation, or maintenance standard. They must be consistent with the condominium documents and Connecticut Law. They cannot be arbitrary and capricious and must be within the scope of authority of the Board to adopt and must be adopted in conformity with Unit Owner’s right to Notice and Comment.

Boards will now have greater discretion in determining whether to enforce a specific Rule. The Board will not be guilty of selective enforcement or discriminatory enforcement if the Board determines that its legal position does not justify action, the covenant, restriction, or rule being violated is, or is likely to be, construed to be inconsistent with law; the violation is not so material that it is objectionable to a reasonable person, or to justify the cost of enforcement; or it is not in the best interest of the Association to pursue an enforcement action. This will allow Boards to make a case-by-case determination of the merits of enforcement regardless of past practices of the Board.

After Notice and Hearing the Board may suspend the rights or privilege of a Unit Owner, who fails to pay assessments to utilize Common Areas as recreational facilities. Prior to initiating a collection action against a delinquent Unit Owner, the Unit Owner must be delinquent in am amount equal to two (2) months of common charges, the Board must first make a demand in a record for payment, and foreclosure cannot be initiated unless the Board votes to approve the foreclosure or there is an adopted collection policy authorizing foreclosure upon the delinquency being an amount equal to two (2) months of common charges or more. The Association’s statutory lien was extended from two (2) to three (3) years, which allows the Board to delay foreclosure if so desired. Boards are now given much greater discretion in determining when, or if, it is appropriate to take enforcement action for violations.

RECORDKEEPING

The number of disputes between Unit Owners and the Board concerning inspection of records should be greatly reduced with the passage of these amendments. For the first time a detailed list of required records subject to inspection are included in the statute. The list includes detailed records of receipts and expenditures; other appropriate accounting records; approved minutes of all owner and Board meetings; a record of all actions taken without a Board meeting; a record of all actions taken by committees in lieu of Board action; names and addresses of all owners in alphabetical order along with the voting percentage each owner is entitled to cast; original or restated organizational documents; bylaws, amendments, and current rules; all financial statements and tax returns for three (3) years; names and addresses of Board members and officers; current annual report filed with the Secretary of State; financial and other records required to comply with the Resale Certificate requirements; all current contracts; records of approvals or denials for request for design or architectural approval from owners; and ballots, proxies, and other voting records for one (1) year.

All of these records can be copied or examined by either an owner or an agent upon five (5) days notice reasonably identifying the specific records requested. The Board may establish a policy requiring the Unit Owners to pay a reasonable charge for the copies and supervision of the inspection. The statute details, which must be withheld as confidential or privileged. It also specifically states the Association is not obligated to compile or synthesize the information that prohibits the use of the information for any commercial purposes.

RESALE CERTIFICATES

The legislation expanded the information now required to be included in the Resale Certificate. Court and administrative proceedings in which the Association is a party, other then non-foreclosure collections, must be disclosed. The Board must disclose pending suits, the number of the Units sixty (60) or more days delinquent on a specified date within sixty (60) days of the date of the certificate, the number of foreclosures brought against owners by the Association in the last twelve (12) months, number of foreclosures pending within sixty (60) days of the resale requirement, all maintenance standards, which an owner can be responsible for violating, and a list of original components if the master policy excludes improvements and betterments coverage. The fee for the Resale Certificate is now $125.00 plus either 0.05 cents per page for photocopies or $10.00 for an electronic copy.

DEVELOPER AMENDMENTS

Associations established after 1984 must now allow a “cooling off” period before suing for construction defects. Associations must give a forty-five (45) day notice to the developer. During that time the developer has the right to propose a repair plan before the Association can file a lawsuit. All applicable statutes of limitation are tolled during the opportunity to cure period as long as the plan is being implemented in good faith.

BUDGETS AND ASSESSMENTS

All Association budgets now are subject to ratification. Thirty (30) days before adopting the annual budget the Board must give a summary to Unit Owners, which explains how reserves are calculated and funded, and setting a date within ten to sixty (10-60) days for approval. At the owner’s meeting the budget is approved unless a majority of the Association’s votes reject the budget. Please note it is a majority vote of the entire Association, not a majority at those present at the meeting. Special assessments follow the same ratification process if individually, or cumulatively, the special assessment exceeds fifteen (15%) percent of the budget within any budget year. It does allow emergency special assessments upon two-thirds (2/3) approval of the Board, but notice must be provided promptly to the Unit Owners and the funds are limited to use for the item approved.

The massive changes will affect every Community Association in Connecticut. All Associations must or should adopt a plan to educate themselves and implement the amendments. A Resale Certificate must be revised, collection and inspection policies should be established, maintenance standards need to be adopted, recordkeeping procedures should be reviewed, procedures should be adopted to ensure the confidentiality and privacy of the records due to the increase access given to Unit Owners, and meeting policies should be established to govern the method and conduct of Unit Owners in the open meetings.

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60 Responses to New Condo Rules In Conn Helps Owners Learn What Their Associations Are Up To

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by George Gombossy, PetsLately and Mark Davids, Paige Smith. Paige Smith said: RT @ctwatchdog: New Condo Rules In Conn Helps Owners Learn What Their Associations Are Up To http://bit.ly/8Y8bod via @AddToAny […]

    • Francis LaMorte on October 21, 2010 at 6:16 pm

      The part of the law letting a no-response vote be accepted as a “yes” is absolutely ridiculous.. No vote should be an automatic yes and this part must be repealed. Our budget at Heritage Village was passed because of this defect in the law. No other situation with a non-response is a yes automatically in any kind of election. Why is this in the law?

  2. Donna K on July 25, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    What is called “meaningless” rules in the article is absurd! When one buys a condo they are given by-laws. Those by-laws have to be given by law and by the banking industry. And it seems like no matter what people always break the by-laws. We are a small condo association and we have one unit that feels that they can do what they want and then turn around and say that the association is not doing its job. We are doing our job by trying to enforce the by-laws. Call us “condo Nazis’ if you want but when one’s property goes down in value then who do you blame.

    • George Gombossy on July 26, 2010 at 4:53 pm

      There are many sides to this issue and Donna yours is a legitimate one. I would not call your association any names, but I have lived in a condo complex where rules were enforced for one group and not for those who were friends of the board and the management firm acted like the SS. We now have new board members, a new management company, and things are working just fine. And I agree, there are no meaningless rules. People buying a condo should believe that every rule in the condo bylaws, whether presently enforced or not, can be enforced. Thanks for taking the time to post your thoughtful note Donna.

      • donna on July 28, 2010 at 8:04 pm

        Thank you for replying George. Just to let you know I’m the treasurer of my condo association. I was given the by-laws and so were everyone else. We are a very very small complex, and let me tell you, when we try to enforce the laws we have one unit that disapproves every time. But if they try to sell their unit its the association’s fault and that we need to clean up. They even feel that their neighbor’s property is their’s for the taking too. We even have a unit that is rented and one renter hasn’t even lived here in over a year and some of her personal belongings are still in the basement hallway blocking my back door. We can’t even locate her to send her a notice. So what do we do?

        • Kevin on August 1, 2010 at 3:18 pm

          Donna,
          I too am in a very small complex and form part of the board. Even when board members complain of the antics or lack of compliance of certain individuals and ask the management corporation to send letters and to fine certain individuals nothing is done or takes months. Even board members have waited as much as two years to have railings fixed or privacy fencing repaired. Some of it is from the tight finances. The number of individuals who maintain outstanding fees and assessments also contributes. We have begun proceedings for filing foreclosures, but that too is a long process.
          The board is often with hands tied as we depend on the management corporation to find lawn-care services, plowing contractors, etc. I often wonder how much kick back is involved on the management corporation’s part, and how one proves it.
          The board is elected by the owners and work gratis with the multiplicity of headaches owners do not often like. There also privacy issues as addressed by the new legislation. No matter what we do we cannot please all. Some one or small group is unhappy.
          After years of individuals having uneven parking spaces in our condos (some with 8′ wide & others with 13-14′ wides spaces) and some not having two spaces in front of their units, we made two uniform 9′ spaces in front of each unit. Now a few individuals are unhappy because they must parking in front of the entrance sidewalk. Special provisions must be made of course for the handicapped. They need the extra space in parking. Some people have always had to park in front of their sidewalk in order to enter their unit in these condos. Those individuals who are complaining want to take the second parking space away from the single owners because we have only one car and one person in the unit. BUT we all pay the same monthly fee for the same services. Well, no good deed goes unpunished.
          There are not just condo Nazis in such communities there are also the trouble makers who destroy other people’s property or steal things from porches, patios, and walls.
          A far more dangerous situation would be to have a neighbor who takes down firewalls or raises ceilings, or who breaks into your unit when you are not home. be grateful for that blessing.
          Ugh, who said condo living is easier than owning a home. I guess all the above could occur in a single unit home too.
          Well, damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

  3. POKERGUY on July 26, 2010 at 8:53 am

    STAY AWAY FROM CONDO’S! I LIVED IN COLEMEN COURT IN EAST HAVEN FOR A WHILE MOST PEOPLE THERE WHERE TOOTH FACE! THEY LOOKED OUT THE WINDOW ALL HOURS TO SEE IF MY DOG WAS OUT RUNNING AROUND, THEY WOULD SAY HELLO ACT NICE TO ME DAILY! THEN WHEN AT CONDO BOARD MEETING THEY WOULD ALL STICK TOGETHER AND START TROUBLE, THE MANAGEMENT COMPANY WAS A JOKE! WORK PERFORMED BY THERE FRIENDS AT A HIGH PRICES! CAN U SAY KICK BACK?? WE GOT ROBBED FOR SO MUCH MONEY! THANK GOD I SOLD THAT PLACE! DON’T BUY A CONDO!

  4. Jim on July 26, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    First read the rules before buying into a condo . Next be happy you have the so called Condo Nazis working as a volunteer to keep up the place you liked so muchthat you bought into . As for these new ct. rules , yes they are good for the condo owners to keep them informed . But now thats more work for the managers and of course more work for the volunteers who work the board . It makes a longer night of people coming into a meeting and interupting with there commenting

  5. Chloe's Mom on July 26, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    As a condominium owner for over 25 years, I have seen blatant mismanagement first hand. When these new laws became effective on July 1st I was rather excited that accountablility would be forthcoming for all unit owners. What a rude awakening I had! Do you realize that although these laws are on the books, a unit owner STILL has no recourse other than hiring their own attorney and filing suit against the complex? And those words are from my Senator in my district! I have them in an email. There is no one in Hartford to oversee these new laws. No one in Hartford to issue a fine to a complex for being non-compliant. No one in Hartford to even call and complain! Tell me, what has changed from 5 years ago, 10 years ago or even last year? It still sits squarely on the shoulders of a unit owner to bear the expense of hiring their own attorney to to bring suit for mismanagement. These new laws are nothing but words on paper. This whole process and hype is just a joke.

    • George Gombossy on July 26, 2010 at 4:50 pm

      I can tell you that as an owner of three condos in West Hartford, one complex has already sent me new rules to comply with the Act. While there is no state enforcement, condo association members risk lawsuits from unit owners if they fail to abide by the act. So in a way, there is enforcement possibilities. Anyone who lives in a condo association that is not following the new act, please contact me and I can help you put some pressure on them. George

      • zzz on July 27, 2010 at 9:08 am

        Too many condo board members remain uneducated to the new laws and have no intention of following the rules. Why should they if we’re being told by our lawmakers in Hartford that the only recourse of board mismanagement we have is to hire a lawyer? Seems like our lawmakers are still wasting their time, and our money, on things that do not help out the “real” people. We should all be supporting the condo ombudsman bill that was tabled at the end of the legislative session.

        • George Gombossy on July 27, 2010 at 9:25 am

          Annemarie, thanks for taking the time to write us. I think its a little too early to say that many condo board members are uneducated or won’t follow the new law. Lawyers representing hundreds of boards are in the process of educating the boards about the new laws. Boards as well as management firms risk legal action if they fail to follow their lawyer’s advice. Being a condo owner doesn’t make life easier than owning your own home. You still have to be proactive. There is no state agency to enforce the laws because that would cost all of us money to administer it for the benefit of condo owners. That would not be fair, even though I own condos. I think the new laws will work at 95 percent of the condo associations and in the few that disregard it, i assure you someone will challenge the board and win, setting an example for others. Its not a perfect law, but a lot better than what we had.

        • Chloe's Mom on July 27, 2010 at 11:09 am

          I couldn’t agree with you more! Exactly what my point has been all along in this tread. The lawmakers did waste our time and money by passing all these new laws and dumped the compliance of these laws in the laps of every condo owner in this state. Tell me of a condo owner who has the resources to litigate against a condo complex on their own. The condo complex/board members will have their legal costs paid for by the CONDO ASSOCIATION yet the owner bringing suit gets to pay their own fees! I am in total support of the ombudsman bill. It appears that is the only reasonable light for any condo owner other than funding a lawsuit on their own.

      • Harry Ryan on October 4, 2010 at 2:21 am

        Is it legal for the association to demand a key from condo owners

        • Cat on November 2, 2010 at 8:08 pm

          Yes… read your by-laws.

      • Distressed! on March 16, 2012 at 3:29 pm

        I live at Queen Terrace Condos in Southinton CT and our Board of dictators…I mean directors, actions are having a very negative impact on our already financially unstable community. The very first action our Board took was to overturn a fine for the President and allow him to take over $2000 from the Association and put it back into his pocket. He incurred and paid for this fine last year and then spread lies and rumors to get himself and a few of his friends elected to the Board. Now he’s cutting things from the budget that we need so he can put a couple thousand dollars back in his pocket. He is also omitting entire conversations and topics from the meeting minutes so that the community doesn’t know what is going on. He actually admitted it at a board meeting. And worse still he just hired a property manager that was fired two years ago for completely mismanaging the property and now they are working together. Now we are being told that even our Association Attorneys are planning on resigning because they don’t want to work with this Board. Most of the residents can’t afford a lawyer…what do they do??

        • Dave on July 11, 2012 at 4:31 pm

          Call a special meeting (as provided for in the declaration and in the statutes) and vote the bums out.

    • George Gombossy on July 26, 2010 at 7:12 pm

      From: Sen. Slossberg, Gayle

      To: Geri

      Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 4:44 PM

      Subject: RE: PA09-225 Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act

      Dear Ms. Turecek,

      Thank you for taking the time to contact me about the new laws amending the Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act. I was pleased to support the legislation in 2009 that created these new protections because I believe that condo owners deserve to enjoy the full rights and privileges of homeownership. I am glad that you too view these changes as a welcome protection of your interest as a condo owner.

      Unfortunately, at the present time the State of Connecticut has not appointed any particular agency or office in charge of investigating complaints or performing enforcement of the new laws. There have been legislative proposals over the past two sessions which have attempted to assign these duties to a new office, but they have not succeeded due to fiscal considerations attached to them. It is my hope that in the next session there will be a proposal to incorporate these duties into a state office without incurring additional costs to condo owners or taxpayers.

      In the meantime, most conscientious condo boards and their lawyers are taking the opportunity to make sure they are in compliance with the new laws through resources available in the private sector. The CT Chapter of the Community Associations Institute is one such resource which you can check out at:

      http://www.caict.org/LAC_CIOAChanges.html

      Lastly, I should mention that if you or members of your condo association are facing a serious problem to which your Board has been unreceptive, you now have the power of the law on your side and can exercise it by seeking the advice of an attorney. I hope that this has been helpful. Please do not hesitate to follow up if you have additional thoughts or questions on this, or any other matter.

      With Warm Regards,

      Senator Gayle Slossberg

  6. Catherine on July 29, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    This year’s legislative assembly seems to think that modifying the Common Interest Ownership Act, will somehow resolve the issue of untrained, unqualified, arbitrary, capricious and subjective behavior by members of Condo Association Boards. Excuse me, but that is magical thinking. If it were possible to change a few words and eradicate the problem without the weight of proactive oversight to offset the imbalance between legal defense insurance-funded Boards and self-funded individual condo owners, the Attorney General’s Office would not be testifying on the behalf of CT condo residents for three successive years that this situation is intolerable.

    The objective of this year’s legislation was only transparency, it did nothing to establish an accountability structure for Association Boards or provide for enforcement. Opening Association meetings to the condo owner does nothing to ensure that an Association Board will act responsibly, reduce the expense of hiring outside legal counsel or expose unethical Management company practices — this is why and Ombudsman is critical.

    It is telling that an attorney whose firm represents “nearly 400 condominium and home owner associations around the state” testified against this year’s Ombudsman bill saying it would “open the floodgates” for litigation. Who better to acknowledge, even against his own interests, that there is obviously a need for an Ombudsman process? Isn’t the attorney admitting that his livelihood would suffer?

    On the plus side, if Connecticut had an Ombudsman for common interest communities wouldn’t it be a selling feature that would attract new residents to Connecticut which would benefit Connecticut’s tax rolls? I have lobbiedmy regional legislative delegation to support an Ombudsman bill during the past three sessions.

    I would like to see Board members trained and attorneys handling arbitration:

    Similar to this year’s Ombudsman legislation, the funding would be user fee based, but the staffing could be on a more functional model that privatizes delivery.

    One full time employee (an attorney) plus use of a staff person, housed in the Dept of Consumer Protection, responsible for contracting with independent attorneys as project contractors who would work out of their own offices in a region, in effect, privatize the delivery. The field attorneys would follow statewide uniform guidelines and payment would be disbursed from the Dept of Consumer Protection’s attorney from the user fees upon presentation of a bill. The advantage is the field representatives would be “in place” in a region that is familiar to them; they would not be a burden to the State’s payroll; limited bureaucratic infrastructure to be sustained and payment would be “as needed” rather than for salaried personnel.

    This is an economical implementation, a creative way to respond to the potential inconsistent level of demand, the majority of money goes directly to a region based on complaints/requests for mediation, and it supports private enterprise.

    I further believe that all Board members must attend training sessions, whether the local Real Estate Board, a community college or nonprofit delivers the training, the curriculum would have to be uniform and probably should be jointly written by a Real Estate academic, two attorneys (one who represents Boards and one who represents owners) and it should be approved by the Secretary of State’s Office and the Dept of Consumer Affairs.

    Thank you.

    • George Gombossy on July 29, 2010 at 3:16 pm

      Sometimes half a loaf is better than nothing.

  7. Allen Palmer on August 2, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Dear George:

    I am writing in response to the article which you wrote about Connecticut’s newly revised condo law which appeared in Business Section of The Day newspaper on Sunday, August 1st. I was a strong supporter of SB129 – An Act to Establish an Office of Condominium Ombudsman. I felt that it would have provided a low cost way of resolving unit owner/association disputes in a fair, impartial setting through the Department of Consumer Protection, without hiring lawyers and going through the courts, and for a reasonable a $35 filing fee; and it provided power to a State ombudsman to dismiss frivolous complaints. Similar programs in the states of Florida and Nevada have shown that this is an effective resolution mechanism, which does not result in large costs for associations as the opposition claims. Unfortunately, SB 129 was not passed, but Connecticut’s condo laws were strengthened by revisions which went into effect on July 1st. Although on the surface the new laws look like they will help the condo owner to have more control over their associations, but in fact, the new laws still require the owners to take very expensive and lengthy legal action to make sure the laws are being enforced. Perhaps by learning about some of the problems with our association’s board (discussed below), you may be able to understand our continuing problem, despite the revised law.

    I have been a condominium owner at Eden Harbour Condominiums (an “Active Adult Community”) in Old Saybrook for over two years now and have clearly seen a need for an impartial State ombudsman. Although our neighborhood is small (22 units of a planned 32 unit complex have been completed ), our association operates in secrecy like a dictatorship. Without unit owner approval, the association has engaged in a lawsuit with the developer, the builder, and the Town of Old Saybrook. The suit claims a litany of problems and is seeking $1.3M in damages. (See CT Superior Court Docket No. MMX-CV09-4010447-S.) As with all new construction, there were some initial construction problems, including some with the design of second story balconies, but both the developer and builder were more than willing to correct them at their expense, and to extend the new construction warranty period. They hired an architect to investigate the design problems and to recommend design changes and repairs. But, because of the Board’s personal hatred for the developer, the builder, and the Town’s first selectman, it chose to take this legal action. This lawsuit was filed over a year ago and the association president reported at our last annual meeting that he has spent over $250,000 of his personal money proceeding with this suit. Even after a Superior Court judge ruled against the association, the Board filed an appeal in the Appellate Court, which was denied this week. We now await to see if our Board appeals this decision in the Supreme Court, as stated at our annual meeting. In the meantime, a court injunction has prevented the builder from performing any repairs, which include water leakage into some of the units with second story balconies. I have been without my balcony for over a year since it had be removed and was in the pocess of being replaced when the injunction was issued. How do you fight a Board which has a president willing to pony up $250K of his own money in a lawsuit?

    In addition, the developer offered to contribute $24,000/year to the operating budget of the association to offset its operating expenses until the final 10 units were built, but the association’s board rejected this contribution without a vote by the unit owners. This would have reduced our monthly maintenance fee by $91/month (a 20% reduction per unit). The developer will not build any additional units until the lawsuit is settled which keeps our monthly fees higher that it will be when all the units are completed. Again, who can we turn to challenge this financial decision made by our board without the expense of hiring a lawyer and going through the courts?

    In another, but related matter, the Board has filled a permit application, again without unit owner approval, with the CTDEP to convert our sate-of-the-art on-site advanced treatment sewer plant into a conventional septic system. Their rationale is that a conventional septic system is considerably less expensive to operate and will reduce our monthly maintenance fees. They also claim a sewer treatment plant was unnecessary in the first place, despite the fact that both the Town of Old Saybrook WPCA and CTDEP required the developer to build the advanced treatment plant in order to obtain the permits for the construction of the condominium complex. Since our complex sits on the edge of a saltwater marsh, at least half the residents are opposed to the conversion because a convention septic system will discharge more than twice the amount of nitrogen into the ground water, which could potentially adversely affect the marine environment and ecology. Again, the Board president spent his own money ($48K) to perform the engineering study and file the DEP permit application. The Board has included in its lawsuit (above) a count that the developer built the advanced treatment plant unnecessarily, and is seeking $208K in damages, the cost to convert our plant to a conventional septic system! Again, who can we turn to challenge this environmental policy decision made by our board without the expense of hiring a lawyer and going through the courts?

    I could present a number of other examples where major policy and financial decisions were made secretly and autonomously by our board, but I wish to keep this initial message short. The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection provides no-cost advice and assistance to other consumers, including protecting the public from unscrupulous auto dealers, repair shops, and contractors (of all types), and even protection during the sale of real estate (including condominiums), but provides no advice or assistance in protection from condo associations. I hope you will now have a better understanding of the need for an ombudsman under the Department of Consumer Protection and that, in fact, under the newly revised condo laws, I believe it will still be business as usual.

    At last count, the are 11 of the 22 unit owners in our complex who feel our board in not acting in our best interest, but it takes a 2/3 vote to remove board members once elected.

    Sincerely,
    Allen Palmer

  8. Linda on August 3, 2010 at 9:11 am

    George, I sent you a letter when you where working for the courant and you posted my story about the problems I was having at Cold Springs in Rocky Hill. Well we are still having problems with the association and I did hire a lawyer regarding the things that where not disclosed to us to try and mediate, because our assocation lawyer is a friend of the AG (Matt Perlstein) I thought they would mediate since the Ag and Matt have been preaching about it in their articles. It did not work they told us to sue. Well, I put toghter a notebook with all the problems with the associtaion. (lies,selective reinforcement,,bullying,not abiding by the by-laws and refusing to disclosed inportant information when we bought the place) Dropped this off at the AG’s office and the day after it was delivered by mail to my house with a letter stating I would have to sue. I wrote in my letter I cannot afford to sue. That is why I was asking him for help.I still am paying for 5 sumppumps in my basement. I feel he threw me under a bus because of his lawyer friend and sided with the association. He quoted all kinds of legislation, but that is not going to help me know. I am disabled, I am a veteran,my husband is a vietnam war veteran and my son came back from the Iraq war third time 80% disabled and this is how we are treated. I live in a communist association. We are not free. Only board members and friends of the board are free. I am highly allergic to mold and it is affecting my kidneys and I have asked them since 4/11 to fix the mold and put the lid on my chimeney. Neither has been done by the management company. I had to ask someone who was on the roof the other day looking at the roof to put the chimeney back on. Now I have to fix the water that leaked in my attic and the bugs it brought in. This is the problem when you complain. I also mentioned this to the AG, but like I said he could not be bothered. A lot of you do not get it. Unless it serves a purpose for that person. No one really gives a nickel about you.

  9. Karen J on August 17, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    I live in Hickory Hill, Seymour, CT. First time condo only warning DON’T MOVE INTO THIS PLACE! We have board members who think this place is their personal compound. It’s not living it’s agony.

  10. Anne on August 25, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Hi George, Here’s an interesting condo story for you to decipher. Our board president recently had a flood (a pipe burst) in his unit while he was away on vacation. Our master policy and his home owner’s policy kicked in and his unit is pretty much brand new. However, he (president) recently called me (I am the treasurer) and said that me and the other board member (we have a total of 3 members, including the president) must sign a release in order for him (president) to be reimbursed for dumpster charges (800.00) that were already paid by insurance companies! I’m fairly new to this whole condo living as well as being a board member, but even a person with half a brain serving on a condo board would think that this is totally ridiculous! My question is, since I’m an honest, trusting person, are there other “ways” that a board president can get his hands on our association’s monies? What should I be aware of? He also made it known to me that the unit owner’s did not have to know about this request. Of course, this president is no longer speaking to me because I refused to sign anything regarding this matter, which speaks volumes to me about his character. I love being on the board and representing our association, but I’m “torn” now because of this. Any helpful suggestions?

  11. New State Condo Law | Highland Woods on March 18, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    […] CT has required all condo associations to review and update their rules and bylaws to agree with a newly enacted state law. A nice on-line review of this is available here. […]

  12. Mia, Stamford CT on June 28, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    My husband and I are fed up we live in a four unit complex and the bank owns one unit which is the same size as mine and the treasurer owns the biggest unit with a two car garage and one extra outside space. The President owns the second largest unit which is only 3 feet larger than mine and the bank owned unit. The man died and he was single no one in his family wanted to pay the mortgage even though he had a lot of equity in his place. So the bank is trying to sell it but the market is very bad right now. The question I have is the treasurer and president were paying the same amount of common charges as our unit and the banks and still are even thought the bylaws say it is by percentage. We found out about it only when they hired a management Co in February 2011 otherwise we would not have known. We told the mgt. Co. and they finally had a meeting behind our backs to make rules and regulations with the treasurer and president without my husband or me I am supposedly the VP but resigned because it does not matter in this complex I was always left out my husband told them he wants to be VP and they just looked at him at this last meeting. Well the point I want to make is the President was under paying in common charges and the Treasurer was grossly underpaying by 55 dollars and 30 dollars since just before hiring the mgt. Co. She raised hers 25 dollars just before they hired the mgt. co. the owner of the company told me she told him that when she first met him before we hired him. The management Company had received several emails from me stating I wanted the percentages to be fixed and that we felt it was fraudulent of the President and Treasurer to be underpaying and we were overpaying. They finally did change it to the correct amount when we were handed rules and regulations from a secret meeting they all had without us. They told us what the new rates would be starting in August 1, 2011. WHY ARE THEY GETTING AWAY WITH THIS EVEN THE MANAGEMENT CO. GOES ALONG WITH THERE BEHAVIOR. WOULD WE HAVE TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY TO GET THAT MONEY TO BE PAID BACK RETROACTIVELY HOW DO WE PROVE IT BEFORE WE HIRED THE CO. THE TREASURER WOULD DEPOSITED THE CASH FROM THE WASHER AND DRYER WITH HER ONLY KNOWING THE AMOUNTS WITH ALL OTHER MONIES. THE ONLY THING WE HAVE IS THAT SINCE THE MANAGEMENT CO. SHE WAS UNDERPAYING BUT NOT BY AS MUCH BY 30 DOLLARS WHICH STONEHENGE WAS AWARE OF AND THAT THE PRESIDENT WAS UNDERPAYING BY 11 DOLLARS AND WE WERE OVERPAYING BY 6 DOLLARS. BUT IN ACTUALLY SHE WAS UNDERPAYING FOR PROBABLY A YEAR OR MORE BY 55 DOLLARS UNTIL SHE HIRED THE MANAGEMENT CO. BUT THAT IS HARD TO PROVE UNLESS THE OWNER OF THE CO. WOULD TELL THE TRUTH AS FAR AS WHAT SHE CONFIDED IN HIM. AND EVEN IF NOT WHAT ABOUT SINCE FEBRUARY 2011 AND HER UNDER PAYING BY 30 DOLLARS WHICH CAN BE PROVED AND SHE WAS TOLD BY THE MANAGEMENT CO THAT WE SAID SOMETHING ABOUT BACK IN FEBRUARY AND IT WON’T BE CHANGED TIL AUGUST 1ST. WHAT ARE OUR RIGHTS. WE CAN’T AFFORD AN ATTORNEY. MY HUSBAND WORKS TWO FULLTIME JOBS AND IS THE KINDEST MOST COMPASSIONATE PERSON IN THE WORLD AND WE HAVE BEEN TOTALLY MISTREATED BY THE PRESIDENT AND TREASURER AND NOW THEY HAVE THE MGT. CO. BACKING THEM UP. WE ARE SOOOO UPSET.

  13. elsie watts on July 24, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    as a condo unit owner have the right to run a photography business in basement? I have a weird odor in my unit.

  14. Peter on December 1, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    As a unit owner what is the process for getting advice/assistance when one believes that there is clearly a non-compliance of the recent laws. Specifically where the Condo Association Board is not in compliance with regards to providing timely notice of Board meetings and agendas at least 5 days in advance which are not presently being issued to unit owners and have not been issued for all of 2011.

    What is the penalty or actions taken against a Board when there is a non-compliance issue?

    Do unit owners have a right to approach the Associations attorneys to intercede or do we have to get an attorney?

  15. peter 2 on December 3, 2011 at 11:57 am

    We are living in a condo that is still under control of the declarant. After 3 years, we do not have enough units (about 25 units) to get unit owner control of the association. The builder is the director and his partner is the declarant (real estate broker with exclusive sales). We have not had any meetings in 3 years. Next week, the first meeting is scheduled. They are proposing an $80/month increase for 2012. Items in the budget summary look outrageous. We want to get advice or links on how to proceed since we do not control the association.

  16. livvy on January 28, 2012 at 2:48 am

    Hi George!I really need help ASAP.I missed a condo fee for a month due to oversight last April 2010.Now,a new management company took over last Aug.2011 I received a delinquent notice for different months with added late payments.I sent them copies of my cancelled checks from my bank to proved them that it was paid.The next letter I got was from the condo maintenance company lawyer stating I have to pay $875.00 total including $150.00 Attorney’s fee.I haven’t met the new condo maintenance manager yet since she took over. It was the condo asso. board members(homeowners board) decided without other homeowners approval or knowledge to dissmissed the previous one,is that legal to do?changing condo maintenance manager or company without other homeowners votes?or how about a meeting first?or at least inform us by mail that they are deciding to change.On the contrary,we got mails informing us that they took over already.So,I sent her a letter asking for a meeting to discuss some issues not to mention that we never had one for 2 years(yes,the previous condo manager was hidious too.you woudn’t believe if you see some pictures we took)She didn’t response,instead her lawyer demanded immediately remit payments and informing me that they will issue a foreclosure and I will be responsible for the fees for that including the title search.Now,the payment went up high and the lawyer’s fee went from $150 to $250 I asked for negotiation but unfortunately the lawyer emailed me and demanded that in within 2 days I have to remit $1,525.00 and they have to return my January 2012 payment.I can’t afford to provide that huge amount, I coudn’t afford to hire a lawyer of my own but I got scared about foreclosure so,immediately using my credit card hire a lawyer from yellow pages just to negotiate with their demands.My lawyer told me she will try to negotiate a $1,000.00 payment Which she wasn’t sure if that is negotiable not until she speak with the other lawyer.On top of that burden I never heard from my lawyer since Tuesday(our first meeting)I understand that lawyers are busy people and always in the court for hearing,litigation etc.I tried to contact her the next day which was wednesday but I was told by her secretary that She will call me end of the day because she (my lawyer)is going to talk to the other lawyer.I waited but no calls.I tried the next day,no answer.I waited today,still didn’t hear from her.I tried to call same thing no answer,I just left a message on her machine to call me back,unfortunately,no calls.Wednesday was their demand to pay and today is Friday,so I didn’t have a clue what’s gonna happen to this issue.George I only missed April payment due to oversight,please tell me, is this fair for me to go through with this kind of situation?I pay my monthly obligations and I’m willing to pay the month that I missed and the late payment charges. (acrue)Also,I found out that one of the homeowners missed 3 months condo fees but she was able to make a payment arrangement without being harrassed by a lawyer.How unfair is that?Please,tell me what to do.

  17. Michele Cormier on February 13, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    I live in Valley Village in Windsor, CT. It is, in my opinion one of the most poorly managed and run developments in the United States. Our Property Manager is G&W Management. They stink too. We have a total of 2 executive board members. How do you get a 2/3rds vote on 2 people when voting on community matters. When there is a vote, it is a sham. The same with the meetings. Now they want to assess a 53% special assessment for a loan to buy us insurance because our carrier dropped us for too many claims in a short period of time. I am researching the recent change to the law but feel like I am missing something. Since I am disabled, I can’t hire a lawyer. What can I do?

  18. Kathleen Crowley on September 22, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Is there a rule concerning how many rentals are allowed in a complex ? Thanks

    • George Gombossy on September 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm

      Depends by who. The condo association can have a rule limiting the number of rentals and banks can refuse to provide mortgages where there are too many renter occupied units.

  19. Marsha on November 29, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    I sent in a formal complaint to the board regarding removal of a tree that poses a severe safety hazard. In the monthly meeting agenda, the board listed on the agenda and acknowledged several different letters of correspondence they received but chose not to include this letter. Are they able to do this?

  20. steve coleman on February 12, 2013 at 9:16 am

    can you provide a small list of condo communities in the state of Connecticut where leasing is restricted to a certain number of units?

    Thank you.

    • George Gombossy on February 12, 2013 at 10:52 am

      I am sorry but I don’t have a list. Maybe others can help.

  21. Barbara on February 15, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Who enforces these new rules and regulations? Do you have to sue your own association?

    • George Gombossy on February 15, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      Unfortunatly no one enforces the laws.

  22. Bob Hopper on March 12, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    What do you recommend an owner to do when of the 9 units in the complex only 4 paythe dues? The board doesn’t seem to care and are not foreclosingon the deadbeats, the president is a contractor and seems to hire buddies for maintaining the basics only, snow removal , no cosmetic maintenance was done in years, we maintain our own grass,sweep,ext. And even clean up around the non paying units so the place doesn’t go totally to wasteland look. The complex owes the town for water, they pay the insurance it seems to be the only thing ever paid, besides the non existent landscape work fee. So how can a unit owner get this mess under investigation? Can I sue for gross negligence? Can I get the board voted out alone? Forced out? If the only ones paying any dues are the 2 board members, myself and one other owner, it seems the non payers are happy, and the 2 board members are effectively living free while using my and the other owners monthly due!!!! This is atrocious and unbelievably corrupt please help us

  23. Steve Klein on March 21, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    Does the law also include a requirement for condominium association boards to reply to tenant written/verbal requests? I’m having a very hard time getting my board to answer me!

    • George Gombossy on March 22, 2013 at 9:21 am

      No it doesn’t. You should go through your landlord Steve.

  24. BHL on March 25, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    hello George
    question: there was an investigation of our President by the treasurer ( her good friend and neighbor) & the vice president reccommended by nit owners and an attorney they hired. They asked for letters from unit owner about the abused powers she used with contractors for special treatments. The contractor told the vice president, unit owners and workers confirmed this also. The treasurer gave the President ( his friend) all our letters we sent to the board for this investigation, but we were not allowed to receive the presidents letter to the board. No meeting with the contractor and the two board members and unit owners were held. There was no investigation what- so-ever and then a letter was sent around she didn’t abuse her powers. The contactor would not get involved for fear of him being blackballed from this town. The board member was so mean and rude to the contractor he asked to get out of his contract as they hoped he would do. How can we gets this contractor to tell the truth so she can be kicked off the board. this voting someone off with percentage is ridiculous. People are told to retire, asked to step down all the time. They do something abusive with their powers, it should be automatic firing off the board! Yes she is still President. We all know she is a liar and only a select few of her friends believe her but everyone else believes the contractors and the unit owners statements of special favors given by the contractor. What would you do? They make up all the or own rules for themselves and their friends.They just hired our builders landscaper who is a friend of the board. The board has too much control. Unit owner should habe the right to vote on all contracts to avoid getting their friends in here and ones who will perform what they want.

  25. Richard on May 6, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    We live in own a condo in Ct there is no condo association or board. We pay a condo fee. The manager is the sole coordinator of the outside lawn an maintenance of the area. He does not do the job. He owns the land. What resources do we have to make him get the work done?

  26. Denise on May 15, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    My question to you is, does the condo association have a legal right to put video camera’s on the front of my building, facing the parking area. ( I live next door to the President of the association, and we aren’t on friendly terms. our condo is a duplex. We also noticed a camera in the back facing our deck, which by the way we are responsible for all maintenance and repairs. There aren’t any camera’s on any other buildings, do we have any rights regarding this invasive situation.

    • George Gombossy on May 16, 2013 at 12:23 pm

      Does your bylaws address the issue of cameras?

      • Denise on May 16, 2013 at 3:54 pm

        No…..

  27. Richard on May 23, 2013 at 10:51 am

    I have a question about assessments. We pay a yearly assessment, which covers the cost of material, and the members do what work they can. The problem is some of the owners are not willing to work, so we would like to either up the yearly assessment and return a portion based of the amount based on the amount of hours worked or assess an about at the end of the year if you do not work. Right now only a few work and the others do not. Can we legally do this?
    There is nothing in our rules covering this.

    • George Gombossy on May 23, 2013 at 11:28 am

      That would be a nearly impossible task to do it fairly.

  28. Carmen russo on June 12, 2013 at 6:00 am

    Just received a letter from an attorney for common charges that had been paid to him seven years ago and the Management Office still charging me. I just lost my job and cannot effort to pay ant attorney fees, what can I do? Will I have to abandon this place to save my sanity? I have been paying my charges every month on time and if I have been late, I include the late fees. I will be 68 years and I am having a difficulty time in obtaining a job. I am really considering the idea of abandoning ship before iI get deeper in to debts.

    Thank you for hearing me out and if there is a chance of offering any advice I will appreciate it.

    Thank you,

    , Carmen

  29. Donna L. Hunt on September 8, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    I own a condo/co-op in a campground in CT. The management company reads our individual meters then raises the rates, so we end up paying almost 50% more than we pay at our other condo. My question is: can we either join one of those lower cost companies on our own, or insist on a more reasonable rate? I also wonder if the management company is charging themselves the higher rate for common areas, and unsold sites.

    Thanks.

  30. Michael on March 6, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Why would the Queen Terrace Condo Association not want to file a claim with the insurance company after many units have experienced major damage (Hardwood floors, ceilings, walls, etc.)to the interior of their homes due to Ice Dams!

  31. Georgia Alexander on April 26, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    For George Combossy

    Dear George,

    Is it legal for our Management Company to hire and receive bids from a Unit Owner for a particular project? Isn’t this a conflict of interest issue?

    Many thanks for your reply as well as all of the good work that you are doing for all of us.

    • George Gombossy on April 27, 2014 at 9:31 am

      It may well be if the bylaws don’t forbid it.

  32. JEAN D on May 23, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Is there a rule to have an audit of our condo’s books yearly? All we find out is a 2 sentence blurb from an accountant that states everything looks fine. Also, we have a woman who does the management of monies, dealings with vendors (lawn people, etc).
    I have asked for details on bids from paving companies concerning our large driveway and the potholes from the winter. She won’t release the info and keeps giving the job to our lawn company for temporarily fixing the potholes. The last time this was done, the job was so bad it only lasted a month before the potholes were back. Then I find out (since my sister’in’law is president)that this secretary put up her own money to have this done and now we have to pay her back. She is only a renter not even an owner. She has too much authority. What can be done?

    • George Gombossy on May 23, 2014 at 6:27 pm

      Jean
      First, there are no state requirement for audits. But it is a good idea. As to your other concerns it is up to unit owners to decide how they want their complexes to run.

  33. brian on July 20, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    Can anyone comment please on the following. During the terrible winter of 2010/2011 we had significant ice damming and resultant water leaks into 70 units.
    The claim was 1.8 million dollars for repairs. Our managment co. has a maintenance division which it beefed up to deal with the repairs. It was a project that went from March – August of 2011.

    One unit owner refused to have the management co’s
    sub chapter S corp do the work in their unit and wanted the insurance adjusters allocated amount for repair to their unit made known to them and they wanted a check for that amount so they could hire their own contractor/repair people. After many months the management co. gave them the appraisal and
    the board ordered the management co. to cut a check to them for $10,000 (which by the way was already in the hands of the management co’s owner from insurance proceeds).
    The agreement with the unit owners was that they would provide documentation of invoices, bills paid
    through cancelled checks or copies of credit card statements providing proof of payment. The unit owner is now president of the association
    and he has refused to provide documentation (however he claimed he left everything in the treasurers’ mailbox ( which of course is untrue)

    He is still being asked to provide this information and he bristles. Any thoughts? Our audit had to be aborted because the CPA’s said they needed to record all incoming insurance monies to
    the association and where it was paid out to. and the records of those receiving monies.

  34. brian on July 20, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    Our condo units were built in 1971. Documents are old and havent been updated. Currently, Board meetings are held 10 miles away in Hartford at our current management co’s offices. They are held at 6pm, so travel to the meetings is in rush hour traffic going West on I-84.

    Isnt there something in the new laws which applies
    to ALL condos, regardless of when they were built,
    that all meetings must be held on the premises (in our case it would have to be a unit owners residence)
    or must be convenient to unit owners? And by that I mean the local library or rented school room.

    I dont think 10 miles away is considered convenient by any standards when reasonable access
    can be provided locally. The president refuses to change and was provided back up by his 2 “in my pocket votes)giving him a simple majority of 3 out of 5. I dont think this is following the current law
    nor is it unit owner friendly (the intent of the new law)

  35. George on September 26, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    My neighbor’s condo was infested with bed bugs. MY condo now has the same problem.I approached the agency that manages the property for a resolution, with no results.I Was informed that i would half to pay for a exterminator because its within my unit and i cant prove the problem originated from my neighbor(who is a board member).What recource do i have?

    • George Gombossy on September 27, 2014 at 10:21 am

      I don’t think you have any recourse. They are right, unfortunately, you can’t prove where the bedbugs originated from.

  36. Randy Norman on November 13, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    What is the code or statue that explains a condo owner can not sue the condo association while in the owner is in collections?

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