Living in a Condo
“If you don’t like people and you don’t like rules, you ought not to live in a condo” Roberto Noce
Living in a condominium has its benefits – you don’t have to worry too much about the maintenance (roof, guttering, gardening), but this comes at a price. They’re designed by law to be self-administering: they elect boards, levy fees, pass bylaws and settle disputes.
You have to pay the monthly maintenance dues, annual assessment charges or any special charges required for the upkeep of the common areas. If you fail to do so, you could end up in front of the Corregidor (county sheriff) or have a lien placed against your property title. As an owner, you generally have no defense against failure to pay these charges, as they were generally put to the vote at an annual or special meeting, and you had an opportunity to voice any dissent at such meetings. If you didn’t attend, or were unable to sway the rest of the members against setting the special charge, you are still responsible for making the payment as adopted by the majority. Most complaints about condo dispute settlement mechanisms centre on owner-corporation disputes. The board has deeper pockets — it can access condo money to fight the fight. You may find yourself in a David vs Goliath situation.
Another point of contention with your neighbours in a condominium situation may be noise levels, work being carried out during non-permitted hours, or the types of visitors or parties that they have. All of these issues can affect your comfort in a condo. Taking legal action may be appropriate in some cases. But your should also bear in mind that this can create a negative relationship with your HOA and fellow homeowners. Keep in mind that these are your neighbors for the long term. Know when to compromise.
You may also find yourself on the other side of this situation – where you are actually on the board of the Condominium HOA, and you need to enforce the HOA rules against a non-compliant member. We understand that legal challenges can be expensive and can greatly hamper a board’s ability to function smoothly. We are able to advise you on how to enforce your association’s rules when a unit owner will not abide by them. We also defend condo associations against allegations by unit owners, such as allegations that repairs are not being made on time or effectively, or that meetings are not being held.
We are happy to assist in the following areas:
- Failure to uphold agreements between property owners and property managers or property owners and condominium boards
- Breach of contract
- Violations of covenants
- Construction defects
- Unpaid fee collections
- Condominium regulations and compliance