(Recap) A familiar scene unfolds at many association meetings. Disgruntled unit owners come to the meeting, complaining of leaks, roof problems, mold and myriad of other issues. Some owners demand that the building and the leaks be completely repaired immediately. Others say that the association cannot afford to do significant repairs, and that special assessments will bankrupt them. Others say that the developer should be held responsible to fix these problems. The developer no longer returns the association’s phone calls, emails or faxes, and despite the Board’s invitation, has chosen not to attend a meeting in months. Board members are rightfully frustrated and confused about how to best fulfill their duties to the Association and the owners. Advice pours in from all sides. Seemingly conflicting information is received by different members of the Board. The Board is bombarded with questions and “facts” from owners about how to proceed. Below are some helpful responses to some of the most common of those “facts”:
“If we file a lawsuit, we won’t be able to fix the building until the lawsuit is over.”
Not true. As long as the other parties are notified that the work is taking place, the association can do almost anything to the building, including a complete repair. The notice should be done in writing and should be specific as to the date and what work is being done. If the association fails to provide notice of repairs, the court could exclude some or all of the evidence obtained during the repair, because the defendants were unable to observe and test the building with their own experts and representatives.