Q. I rent out a condominium unit that I have owned for seven years. I recently put it on the market for sale. I had a buyer who went through the process of qualifying for a loan and paid for an inspection and appraisal. It then became time for the board to do its part. The bank withdrew from lending the money to the buyer because the condominium has not had a budget in the last three years and has no reserve. I understand that the owners voted for no reserve but there is no excuse for not having a budget. Now I suffer for not being more involved in the business of the condominium. I am an idiot, but I trusted the association and the board. Now my buyer has walked away as there is no way for the purchase to happen.
Is there any recourse for me against the association for not having the property documentation available? Even if I get another buyer we will be in the same boat. The board is uncooperative and will not filter any information to me. How can I correct this problem?
D.J., Hallandale Beach
This is one of the most important questions that I have received over the years. It concerns me when too many people let others do the work. Your condominium is no different than most other associations. Look around at the members — my guess is that very few have volunteered or challenged the board. Most members just reelect the same board year after year. Owners only respond when something personally involves them. Maybe the board increased fees or was noticed of a rule violation. I know the reason is related to board members not wanting to stick their necks out or simply being lazy. Their education has something to do with the answer, as is their failure to be trained to be leaders. In simple terms, they have been trained to follow.
To answer your question as to how to get the board’s attention, you can file a complaint with the division. Your complaint would say that the board has not created a budget for three years. This may result in the state imposing a fine on the condominium. When this happens, then the members would be responsible to pay their share of the fine. Maybe that would inspire them to become more involved. I wrote a published article titled “Let Others Do It!” If you would like a copy, send a stamped self-addressed envelope to the address on the end of this column.