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. 


Related Articles

Board Misconduct

Understanding the Difference Between Illegal and Improper

Board Malfeasance

What to Do if You Suspect Foul Play

Q&A: How to Remove a Director with No Quorum

Q&A: How to Remove a Director with No Quorum

A Look at Board Powers

What a Condo or Co-op Board Is … and Isn’t

Q&A: Improper Power Grab Threatens Co-op

Q&A: Improper Power Grab Threatens Co-op

Q&A: Board President’s Personnel Power

Q&A: Board President’s Personnel Power



  • 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?
  • My condo board president is harassing me in South Norwalk, CT and getting away with it. He and the property management group break the rules and neglect their duties to the complex, which is sad and pathetic, but they've been aggressive in pursuing me, and it's all based on his lie. I have been trying to find a lawyer, but no lawyer will help me. I am not going to appear before this corrupt man and his board, his property manager, and his condo law firm. I feel beat down by a bully. I feel it's not only racially motivated but this guy is obsessed with intentionally hurting me. This includes bogus fees fines and theft, and even physical aggression. I've tried HUD, Fair Housing and the DOJ, and even left a message for CT's Assistant Attorney General, but no one cares. What can a condo unit owner do when faced with corruption and discrimination? I read all these little stories of hurt feeling on the web these days, over shirts and hair and notes, but I have a real significant issue that could cost me my home and tens of thousands of dollars. There are no laws for protecting condo home owners and there should be.
  • We have a HOA which is mainly to cut grass. The president and vice president have been friends for years and yeras ago the one of them woman made a meeting in her home to have a following meeting on voting. That never happened. Everyone got a paper in on their doors stating the NEW PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT there was no VOTE EVER. Since then, since hardly anyone goes to meeting they been on the board. They put who they choose with just few votes less than 5. Now they are making decisions to install more lights and in previous meetings never discussed what their plans were going to be. Now we have a meeting and all the sudden a letter stating they want to add lights in the entrance. Further, I personally went out of my way to a hall near the complex I live to have meeting closer to the house . I advised the HOA Financier., since last year they spent 600 for only 12 people to come which takes at least 15 min to get too and today he tells me there is no space to where I told him. When in fact there is plenty of space plenty. I feel because his office is near the hall they chose is for convinience and the two president and vice president know no one is going to come the farther away they do it no one will come and they stay in position. . These people are violating and not informing properly the community and doing as they wish and I find that is should be illegal
  • Our board president breaks rules all the time. What can we do. She is trying to get me off the board because I stick up for the rules.
  • I know that the condo board and Management company are not following Illinois condo law. I am a disabled veteran trying to sell her unit and the board and management company are not doing their jobs They have now sought out to deconvert our property back to apartments behind the homeowners backs. I am not having basic needs like water met. This is the 2nd time in 1 yrs. Last time I had no water for 6 months. This time I cannot put condo on the market without normal running water. The board is only allowed to serve 4 consecutive yrs on the board. 2 have served more than 12 yrs. They claim no one else will run, but when I offered to run I was told that there were no open positions. When I reminded them of IL condo law and the yrs that 2 members have been on the board. They stopped talking. Also, one of the board members was denied pool passes a few yrs back for not being current on assessments. Instead of removing him from the board, they removed pool passes. Lastly, they are planning on paying $10,700 to run the pol this summer and not fix it first from leaking harmful chemicals into the ground. As a Federal Agent that works in hazmat, I have to report this to EPA if they do. If EPA shuts down the pool, w have paid for it n advance plus all the fines and repairs and don't get to use the pool. I just need some help so I can get out of here before I end up with mental health issues, more physical symptoms, loses my investment and my VA loan, and my ability to finish my degree. Please help.
  • In two back to back HOAs now I have faced overzealous boards who feel that broad or vague Declaration language gives them ample opportunity to publish rules and regulations for single family homes that essentially become new covenants. It is hard to talk these Type A personality boards back into scope of the Declaration. It often leads to turmoil and conflict and stress and then total apathy after the board gives up or is put in place through a lawyer. Would love an article on how "Each lot owner will maintain their lot in good order, free of rubbish and debris" and "each owner will maintain their home and lot in good order and in a sanitary condition" do not mean an HGTV Competition to avoid fines and liens when the professional fertilizer and weed treatment causes a discoloration in a few spots of one personas lawn in February.
  • HOA enforces only one rule "COLLECT DUES" these arer derelect cars and vans toilets in backyards trash in yards and lots. Fences everywhere againsy bylaws Board members spend dues on parties at pool against bylaws. Board member runs business from home BYlays state NO LIENS on property owned by those who refuse to pay dues yet the board does it anyway. How can this HOA be legally disolved?
  • I Have Lived in my community for 19 Years. I have been on the Board of Managers for 5 years. When I first moved in I was given a tour of the grounds and it’s Facility’s. The Grounds are Beautiful and the Pool, Clubhouse,Playground and Picnic area with Barbecues was very nice. So I was very happy for my family. In 2001 in June I went down to the deck that is attached to the Clubhouse one day to Barbecue with my family. To enjoy the Grounds and have a nice day with my Family and some Friends. So I went to put my Hamburgers and Hot Dogs in the Refrigerator in the Clubhouse until we were ready to use them because it was hot out. The Clubhouse was locked. So I had to get in my car and Drive back home to put my food in my Refrigerator and then return later to get the food to bring back to cook. I was inconvenienced and embarrassed in front of my family and friends. They ask why it was Locked. So I went and asked a Board Member why the Clubhouse was Locked and their reply was. It’s always are not aloud to use it. Unless you want to pay and use it. I said why can’t I use my Clubhouse that has my furniture, Refrigerator, Stove Etc... That I pay for. I said...why me? He said it’s not you It’s everyone. I said why he said that’s the way it has been. When the complex opened in 19 £.74 the Clubhouse was open to community it was that way swirl 20 years.and then it was shut down sometime in the early 90s So now it’s 2020... I am on the Board of Managers Trying to fight to get the Clubhouse open to the Community. I have Read the Bylaws and rules and Regulations. The Bylaws say “All the unit owners, their Permitted Lessees,Their Families,and Guess, will Be Entitled To Use The Facilities subject to such Rules and Regulations as the board of Managers may adopt from time to time” My Questions is ‼️ Isn’t it the responsibility and the Duty of the Board of Managers. To Find a way to open the Clubhouse with Rules and Regulations that protects the community and the Property from Damage and Harm. Not to Just shut and Lock it up. The Owners Pay for the Clubhouse and everything in it and the electric etc. when they first bought their unit they were Led to believe that it was there for them and their Family and community to use. ‼️ By the way there’s No rules or Regulations or even a record of a Vote of the Board of Managers to close and Lock the Clubhouse. I have tried to get it open with no results I even text the Attorney and got into trouble for that. The board of managers has people on it that have been on it for over 20 years. That are stuck in their ways. I Need Help‼️ To get the owners of my community the right to use Their Clubhouse. Which was taken away from them. Help‼️ PLEASE ‼️
  • Im wantung to know if its illegal for hoa to shut my gate card off giving me no access to my home. Cant go get water. Csnt go to store. All because i hauled in a vehicle in with my truck