Ask The HOA Expert
Question: Can a condo association hire a handyman to do minor odd jobs such as light painting without worrying if this person is a licensed contractor?
Answer: If you are hiring someone to do work for the association, that person should be properly licensed, bonded and insured. No exceptions. Remember that the board is acting on behalf of all the members and needs to run the association in a businesslike manner.
Question: Our board meeting minutes are so sanitized that one gets the impression that “all is well in Happy Valley”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Important items clearly stated at the meetings are noticeably missing or show a different outcome than took place. And the secretary does not record the minutes, the management company does. Is this proper? Homeowner comments at the Homeowner Forum aren’t included in the minutes. Help!
Answer: You can request that the minutes be amended if you believe critical information was left out or recorded improperly. If the misinformation is glaring or may have been done intentionally, it is fair to ask if there was a motive behind it. The minutes should be clear and accurate so that someone not attending the meeting would understand what was discussed and what actions were taken.
While it’s common for the manager to record minutes, I don’t recommend it. Managers are hired to advise the board. If they are busy taking minutes, the consulting aspect suffers and the Board loses a great value. Recording minutes is not difficult and the elected secretary should do it.
The minutes need only include agenda items of the Board Meeting. That is why Homeowner Forums are often held prior to the start of the meeting. If an owner has a concern that requires board action, a request should be made to include the item in the meeting agenda. The agenda is assembled in advance so the request should be made early enough to be included. Many such requests require forethought for the board to make a decision. If your request requires background information to understand, it should be included with the agenda so the directors have time to review and ponder it.
Question: The landscape contractor destroyed part of my downspout. A work order was turned in to the management company and I was given a completion date which came and went. A month later, we experienced heavy rains and the missing downspout allowed water to enter and damage my basement. I called for emergency repairs and was told I would have to wait. I paid for the repairs to the downspout and basement myself and I am billing the HOA for reimbursement. Am I within my rights?
Answer: The homeowner association is not automatically responsible for damage to your unit. For example, if torrential rains caused the gutters to overflow and flood your basement, the damage would be yours to repair. Under the scenario you describe, however, the management company (the HOA’s agent) obviously failed to respond in a timely manner. This failure resulted in damage which rightly should be paid by the HOA. Of course, the board may have an issue with the management company for failure to respond but that’s another Q&A.
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Written by Richard Thompson
August 15, 2013