Problem Boards What to Do When Your Board Breaks the Rules

A condominium, cooperative, or homeowners’ association elects a board for a specific purpose: to manage the community’s day-to-day business, oversee special projects, and draft and uphold the rules and regulations that keep life orderly and harmonious. In fact, the board has an inflexible fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the community as a whole. 

This means that boards have an obligation to stay consistently on the side of good, advocating for residents and promoting neighborly well-being – and most boards do just this. However, boards are made up of humans, and humans are wildly fallible. Having sampled even a morsel of power, some find themselves starving for more; oftentimes other less malicious folks simply make mistakes, and rather than correct them, keep on stumbling down a wrong path. 

Once a board crosses over to the dark side, it can mean serious consequences for not only its members, but every owner or shareholder in the building or HOA. Infighting, backstabbing, loss of funds, declining property values, and even legal consequences may well ensue if the ship isn’t righted.

As Henry A. Goodman, a principal at Goodman, Shapiro & Lombardi, LLC, a law firm that has offices in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, puts it, “In any organization, things can go wrong; either by virtue of error in judgment, human frailty, or even corruption of one sort or another.”

It’s imperative that both boards and residents be aware of the reasons and signs that an operation has gone bad, in order to avoid the former and correct the latter as quickly as possible. 

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5 Comments

  • My condo board, against the rules that require a vote to change the use of common property, is now using our paddle board court to store large equipment like pressure washers, etc. I asked about it at the annual meeting and they told me to ask the site manager to move the equipment whenever I want to use the court. This to me is unacceptable since the property involved has still changed its primary use and of course the property manager does not work 24/7 and other ethical reasons. Also the overall beauty of the area is compromised. Can I sue and force the association to buy back my property for what I paid for it and possibly include the cost of improvements I made, and even add in an index of how much property values in the area have increased since my purchase? I need help here. I am not being treated the same as other residents. Thank you
  • What about Boards charging back DOB maintenance violations to shareholders ? Isn’t this illegal?
  • My board has a vote last night at 6pm. The tally with everyone there was 37 yes 21 no. The majority would be 40 since there are 78 homes. It seems the board stayed around after the vote and convinced 2 people to change their vote and stated 1 vote came in late. At 10:17 we git an email from the president that they got the 40 votes, stating the reasons just mentioned. The condo is on Long Island NY
  • I am starting to have an issue with a member of my board. Our pet, rule in our Doc's Clearly states we can have one only (1) dog or cat under 15 lbs. We have a board member that is allowing her son and daughter-in-law to have 2 small dogs. Normally I would not care but, They are causing a noise issue with the residence that live near by.
  • Been living here 2yrs the past 2 summers I have taken my dog out on the community back deck. A month ago I was just coming in from the deck and a board member stopped me and said I can’t bring him out there I asked why and he got in my face like a drill Sargent telling me “well you better learn the rules buddy or I’ll slap a $25 fine on you” he was very hostile and people were watching. Shortly there after I received a warning notice from management company. This board member lied to the board and also didn’t notify the president. He also lied to the management company but they also didn’t follow the rules. This hostile board member walks the halls confronting residents. How do I deal with this the president of the board acknowledged the situation but nothing they can do?? Lots of rules and laws broken?