Two Laws To Benefit Ct Condo Owners

Theoretically owners of condos in Connecticut have several laws to help protect them against abusive acts from condo association boards and property managers.

But the reality is that there is no state agency that condo owners can turn to for help to enforce their rights.

The only real option in a serious dispute is for condo owner to hire an attorney and take legal action. The condo owner might or might not get reimbursed for his legal expense. It is up to the judge in the case to decide. And of course when the condo association hires a lawyer to defend itself, all unit owners share that expense, whether the board was right or wrong.

Two laws that went into effect Oct. 1 might help level the playing field.

The first law, that was passed last year but is only now in effect, requires property managers to not only register with the state Department of Consumer Protection, but to take educational courses and pass examinations.

The second law, passed this year, allows consumer protection officials to take action against property managers who knowingly violate state condo laws. Prior to passage of the bill consumer department officials were only permitted to take action against property managers who embezzle money from an association.

Richard Maloney, director of the consumer protection department’s trade practices division, says he is hopeful the two laws will result in improved management for condo owners.

“I think the industry is changing and I hope the new laws will increase the competency” of property managers, he said in an interview.

Maloney said his division has been cracking down on property managers who have not registered with the state and have so far fined seven of them $250 each.

The department is investigating 18 other cases. Connecticut has 322 registered property managers and property management firms.

As an officer in the volunteer group Connecticut Condo Owners Coalition I have a unique position to see the kinds of complaints condo owners have.

Based on the feedback from condo owners it seems that most larger associations with property managers from major management firms have few complaints.

Most of the issues are from smaller complexes – less than 25 units – without property managers or with property managers from small firms.

Complaints against property managers include failing to provide financial documents at unit owners request, or charging higher fees than allowed by state law for the documents, failing to provide complete and easy to understand financial reports, providing inaccurate information to condo owners or to real estate agents, and harassing condo owners who ask too many questions about the way their associations are run. Others have complained that property managers ignored their complaints of defects, structural damage, and mold issues.

One ongoing investigation by Maloney’s office involves a 16-unit complex in Fairfield County that is managed by a small management firm.

A group of seven of the unit owners last summer asked for the state investigation, claiming that the property manager’s sloppy accounting practices have resulted in hundreds of dollars in fees from banks for bounced checks, thousands of dollars intended to repair a leaky roof unaccounted for, and that the property manager had hired her husband to fix the roof. They also allege that the property manager paid herself more than what her contract allows.

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36 Comments on "Two Laws To Benefit Ct Condo Owners"

  1. cAN YOU TELL ME IF wESTFORD MANAGEMENT cOMPANY IN hARTFORD registered with the state Department of Consumer Protection and took these educational courses and passed the examinations.

    • George Gombossy | March 4, 2014 at 7:57 pm |

      You can check for yourself by going to the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection website and look under property managers.

  2. I am starting to think that the sit is a lot of hype. Is the Laws going to Benefit the Owners.
    At present, I have something personal along with other financial investors in Hartford. We want answers to money spent and we are just not getting anyone to talk.
    The small towns do not think they have to advise owners. Owners rent and leave the job to board members.

  3. E Mail Please – Was in contact with consumer protection. There was withdrawal of an amount of money for a personal matter. I am told to contact Common Interest Ownership Act. Is everything have to be an attorney involvement. Can we get answers.
    If we are strong please give me an answer.
    The unit is in New Milford just past Brookfield – near Roxbury.

  4. christine moretti | May 3, 2014 at 3:17 pm |

    there are no new laws to protect unit owners against their own executive condo board association who vote to self manage. Why not include the the condo owners who are under self management?

  5. NEED HELP AND Advice!!!!!!!!!!!
    my condo managers are misusing the money that the unit is brining in. they raise the condo fee like every year and I don’t know what to do! need help . email me:
    if anyone who can give me a lawyer or in contact with who can help I would appreciate it. My condo has 60 units

  6. For 2100 Stanley st condominiums association. I need to file a complaint about them. Where I have to call please. Need the phone No. and address and to who to sent it. Thank you,
    Marlene Beltran

  7. Joel Dongallo | February 25, 2015 at 9:24 am |

    Good Morning. I am having an issues during the snow storm the Visitor Parking was the dumping ground for the snow and it’s almost a month now and the snow is still there and not being removed. My issue is with Plaza Realty Management I requested the management to remove the snow and I even vote for it because I was in the board but you need all the rest of the board to approve in order for the snow to be removed. The snow was dumped in the Visitor Parking which is near my Unit and now almost blocking my garage also sometimes people park there and the inconvenience alone cars blocking my car calling the Tow Truck and knocking people’s door for their car to be removed is a pain. Please advised me what to do also the rest of the board are also white and I am a Asian American which I also feel I am being racially profile because my complaints are being ignored and nothing is being done and every time I make a complained the management treats me differently than the rest of the board and sometimes mentioned my name which is a big no no which in turn complications with other unit owners. Please advised me what to do. Thank You.

  8. Hello Mr. Gombossy,
    Can a property manager refuse to address a problem on the outside of a condo in a common area? The problem affects one unit.
    To stop soil erosion on a hill, the association laid rip-rap style rocks against the foundation of my end unit condo. Over the years, the rocks (covered in leaves) has become a perfect breeding ground for centipedes. As a result, my unit gets infested with them every spring and lasts until the first snow. I have asked many times over several years that the rocks be removed, pest control done, and grass seed put down, but each time they decline to address the problem. Is this legal? It is an outside issue that was caused by an act of the association. Do I have any recourse? Thank you!

  9. i would like to redo my current patio, my son in law is very handy, Our Rules say we must use a licensed insured builder. Is there any way I can have my relative do the work, he certainly will conform to all rules and regulations of our complex..

    • George Gombossy | May 6, 2015 at 10:00 am |

      Unless you get a waiver from the board, no. This is a downside to owning a condo.

  10. Our condo President won’t allow owners to have a key to our front gate. This President is out of control in a lot of other areas. What can we do to get him under control?

  11. My property manager will not give me the check from the master insurance policy. i put in a claim after the roof caused interior damage to my home from ice damming. we are currently paying a special assessment for the roof on the neighboring bldg also part of our complex. We had a choice to pay the full fee up front on Jan 2015 or make monthly payments for 1 year. I chose to make payments which are current. he is telling me I cannot have the Insurance check because I have a balance.Is this to his discetion? He has also deducted the deductible from the portion stating i have to pay it. Is this true? thanks cathy

  12. Can you tell me if the CCOC is and advocate resource for the rights of condominium owners, or the Association?

    • George Gombossy | June 27, 2015 at 3:11 pm |

      Speaking only for myself and not for the CCOC I advocate for unit owners who RUN the associations. If you mean by association the board of directors there is a more nuanced answer. The board of directors are supposed to work for unit owners- who elect them – so theoretically whatever benefits unit owners benefit associations and benefit board of directors. When there is a divergence between the interest of unit owners and board of directors I try to decide on what is best long term for unit owners as well is what is best for THE MAJORITY of unit owners not just a vocal minority. My belief is that no matter what potential condo owners were told about how condo living is carefree, it is not and condo owners need to participate in condo association matters. If more people did that the CCOC would have little to do. After all it is a representative democracy. All too often the people who have complained have never attended a condo board meeting or only after something happened that they don’t like.

      • Stephen Rosenblatt | December 7, 2015 at 10:58 am |

        The By-Laws of our 54 unit condo community states in the CONFLICTS section that any conflict between the By-Laws and the Declaration, the provisions of the Declaration shall control. The Declaration requires a 70% vote of all the homeowners to defeat a proposed annual budget. Homeowners are asking for a simple majority to do so. Can the board vote to change this requirement or does the provision of the Declaration supercede any change the board and homeowners desire?

  13. diane marangelo | July 4, 2015 at 3:13 am |

    My condominium association will not ix a year long water issue due to the pitch in my driveway. As a result I have water of 2 inches or more over a 12 foot area every time it rains.
    they have removed sheetrock and now the water may pour in tomorrow. they will not put in a drain.
    I need an attorney who can assist me with this issue. I am worried about mold

  14. I have a question,I have been trying to sell my condo,I had a buyer with a chfa loan,one week before
    the closing I’m told the poa was at 18%,and it should be at 15% and lost the sale/80 % of poa are being paid at this condo,and 18% are late,so we have
    lost the sale due to this per centage issue,we went through all the hoops for chfa and in the end,we were prevented because of this condos rating,we are now at the mercy to this condo association,what can we do,how are we going to sell,and to who,if these loan are being denied for silly reasons.Who’s helping who here? Thank You Fran Gerent

  15. Can an association reassign an insurance deductible back to a unit owner for damages caused by ice damming? In other words, is it legal to require unit owners to pay the deductible of claims for ice damming damages?

  16. Is it legal for condo associations to charge both the tenant and the condo owner Move-in as well as Move-out fees?

  17. And when the management company owns 50% of the units and stacks the board, would this be described as being up a creek without a paddle?

    They are removing the board because the sitting board wants to go with a different management company. They will then award the contracts to themselves.

  18. How soon after an annual meeting to the minutes from the meeting have to be distributed to owners?

  19. Does Consumer Price Index control how much the HOA can be increased each year?

  20. Can someone on here please help us! We have been victimized for years in our condo association and need legal help. We have been denied the same privileges that others have received who live here regarding repairs and replacements covered in our bylaws pertaining to common elements. Can you please let us know what type of recourse actions we need to take? Most importantly, we need to find an attorney who can represent us in a gross abuse and damages case against both the Condo Board and the Managing Agent. We are located in Fairfield a county but will gladly take an attorney from anywhere in the state to represent us. We have a very strong case but so far we have not found an attorney willing to either work pro bono or for a reduced cost or on contingency. Any recommendations for good attorney litigators willing to work in this monumental land mark case that represents nearly 20 years of abuse and misconduct but a Board. Our Condo Insurance policy is well over $20 million and we have years of detailed documentated abuse that violates many CT Condo laws. We just need an excellent attorney to represent us. Please if you have any referrals or recommendations to give us can you list them here with contact info too? Many thanks!!

    • George Gombossy | May 21, 2016 at 12:21 pm |

      I need to be frank with you. No attorney will take a condo case for free or on a contingency basis. In condo legal actions the boards have the cards stacked against condo owners. Your choice is basically hire an attorney, organize to replace board members or sell and move.

    • Try picking away with Connecticut Department Consumer Protection.

  21. I love the response “vote your board member out” unfortunately that is not the answer for my condos. The board members make up majority rules. 3 out of the 4 members own multiple units. 2 of the board members are father and son who between them own 30 + units and 3 of the board members do not even live in the condos. This is just their business. It’s a money making business for them. So now what? What kind of resource do the actual unit owners that live here that have a vested interest have? Because we have tried to go up against them and as they say “majority votes win” I myself have called them out by not standing by the bylaws. They are just on the board to control anything that works in their favor.

  22. several unit owners are requesting repairs to the inside of their unit claiming water damage from roofs. But the damage was clearly caused by faulty skylights. Unit owners are responsible for any window damage including damage from skylights. Does the property manager need to hire a professional to determine the actual cause of damage?? FYI all the unit owners claiming damage are on the board with the exception of one who was recently the president

  23. My condo manager is allowing another condo association to use our office, on a daily basis, for their manager and there is no accounting that shows that this other association is paying for its share of the usage of the building, such as heat and electricity. As a condo owner I want to make sure we are not subsidizing another association. Even the annual auditor’s report doesn’t show anything other than a comment that another association uses our building. The BBB says they can’t help because I as an individual cannot make a complaint that involves the association. The DCP says there is nothing worth investigating. What else can I do? Thank you.

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