Beth Grimm in Co-op/Condo Buyers on June 15, 2012
June 15, 2012 — Co-op shareholders and condo unit-owners sometimes have reason to get upset with their co-op board or condominium association. It might be about assessments, madcap spending, meanness or rudeness, unreasonable behavior, playing favorites, and directors doing things owners are not allowed to do, such breaking the rules. What can a co-op / condo homeowner do? Or to put it another way, should a homeowner not do?
Do not act rashly. The squeaky wheel may get the grease in some instances but here, you will just be declared by the board a "disgruntled owner."
Do not get abusive with anyone. People respond in like behavior.
Do not respond by breaking more rules or withholding assessments. This just gets you into more hot water and more frustration.
Do not raise a ruckus. This just turns people against you and makes it harder to get allies when you need them.
Do not threaten a lawsuit unless you know you are right on your position and it is supported by law; you are prepared to push the board to meet in secret or hire an attorney; and you have the overall ultimate goal of selling your unit.
What should you do? Seek advice from someone who knows the law, knows what kind of things happen, and knows how to solve problems and find solutions. If you speak with an attorney, make sure it's someone who specializes in co-ops and condos.
There are ways of approaching a problematic board: Be firm but polite and respectful; make sure your position has solid documentation; seek consensus from like-minded fellow homeowners, so that the board fully understands your position is reasonable and supported; and, again, seek knowledgeable advice from a legal expert.
Engage, enrage, ask questions and give answers with your community of board members. Submit your questions and comments here!
Thinking of buying a co-op or condo? Already bought, and not sure how co-op/condo life and rules work? Learn all about purchasing a place and living in your new community. It's not like renting, and its not like owning a house. What's it like?