Q. I live in a gated condominium. Each person has a gate code for people to call to get in. However, once in a while the gate is broken and our remote or card will not open it. There is a "main" code that the delivery people use. Is the property manager allowed to give out this code? I was locked out once because the gate was broken. A yard man gave me the universal or main code. Is it OK for me to use it if needed? Also, can I give it to visitors in case of an emergency?
If the code is given out to anyone, what security do you have? The short answer it is that your community has an unsecure system. It would be better to leave the gate open if it is out of order. The board should review the gate policy and the actions to be taken if the gate is inoperable.
Q. We are a small HOA with 258 homeowners and much common area and seven retention ponds. Our manager has advised us that the premium for our liability insurance on these retention ponds has come due. The amount is substantial and I am wondering if this insurance is required.
The board has a fiduciary duty to the members. If you do not carry proper insurance and an accident occurs, the settlement would have to be paid out of the pockets of each member. I must recommend that you carry all insurance needed to protect the members from a financial loss.
Q. Do you have to be a unit owner to file a complaint against a Community Association Manager (CAM)?
C.C., Fort Lauderdale
No, any person can file a complaint against a licensed manager. The CAM receives his or her duties from the board of directors of the association, the documents, and the statutes. If the complaint is about the way he or she performs duties, then you need to send the board of directors a letter with your complaint. If the CAM is performing illegal acts, then you need to report the matter to the police. If the CAM is violating association statutes, then you must send a written signed complaint to the division. Sometimes a CAM is aggressive in rule’s enforcement, but that would be a matter for the board of directors. If the board feels that the CAM is not performing, then it has a right to fire or not renew the contract.
Caution should be used when you file a complaint, as it can have career-ending results for the manager. I suggest that you talk to the board of directors before you make a complaint to the state.
Q. My board has sent me a rules violation letter that my mailbox needs to be replaced or painted. I see many other violations that the board is not addressing. In fact, the board is discriminating against some owners and letting other owners get away with violations. How can I get the board to take action against all violations?
First you must correct your violation and then send a letter to the board that you have corrected it. In a second letter, ask the board if it sent violation letters to all the other owners with the same violation. Maybe the board is actively attempting to correct violations and you are not aware of it. The board needs to record inspection reports and keep copies of communications when addressing violations.
If it is selectively enforcing rules, then that is a valid reason to vote in new directors at the next annual meeting.