When Were Your Bylaws Written?
Living in a condominium is different in many ways from living in a single residence. Even if you have lived in communities that have homeowners associations, once you move into a condominium in some area such as Hoboken or Jersey City, you will discover that the rules are different. The reason is that the shared ownership of a complex like that has to have ways to deal with numerous situations that single residency doesn’t encounter.
This is the reason you should check the Bylaws of your condominium complex. When were they written? If your complex is only a few years old, chances are the Bylaws are pretty well up-to-date. If it was built in the 1970’s, you may want to begin a campaign to have them reviewed and revised by the Owners Association. The pioneers in the condo industry probably didn’t know what situations might arise that needed a formula for solutions.
Even the question of who has the right to vote can be a ticklish one. Does someone who is not keeping up with the payments and fees have a right to vote on how the place is run? Then, there’s the absentee owner who is leasing the unit to a third party. Does the owner vote, or does the tenant? Someone who is renting a unit may have a drastically different perspective on the rules. Also, should a person who doesn’t actually live on the premises have a say in how things are run?
Another area where some updating may be in order is what action can or should be taken in the event of delinquency in payment of assessments. Some boards are taking action to actually collect attorney fees when the arrears grow to a point of needing court action. If everyone is aware that this can happen, perhaps people will be more faithful in their payments.
The same thing can be said for violations of the Bylaws. Some associations are beginning to exact fines when other means of correction fail to reap results. These actions naturally would be a last resort, and with due notice to the offender. When people live in close quarters, as in some condo situations, it is good to have prescribed actions in place so all the parties know where they stand.
When did you last review the Bylaws of your Condominium Association?