You must enforce ownership rules for every condo owner evenly

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2022 | Real estate |

Condominium associations perform an important role in their communities. They help establish rules that apply to all of the units. They invest in community spaces and maintain shared facilities, ranging from a lobby to exterior spaces for condo owners to enjoy.

Condo associations also have the unpleasant task of enforcing their rules when one owner doesn’t behave the way they should. Every condo association will have rules about what tenants can do and also expectations for how they will maintain their property.

Your ability to enforce those rules and thereby protect the characteristics of your community and the property values of all of the local owners depends on the board consistently enforcing the rules for everyone.

Inconsistent enforcement can lead to a loss of authority

Perhaps one of your owners committed a significant infraction of the rules for the association, perhaps because they were in the hospital for a month or recently lost their spouse. Maybe they leave their trash bags in the hallway instead of taking them down to the dumpster or have guests parking in inappropriate spots. The association turned a blind eye out of consideration for their personal struggles.

However, a month or two later, a nearby neighbor start doing the same thing. When you go to enforce the rule against the neighbor who does not have an explanation to justify their rule-breaking behaviors, they might refuse to cooperate. Instead, when you try to fine them or otherwise enforce the rules, they take you to court.

If they can show that you have inconsistently enforced the rules, they could convince the courts that your attempt to enforce the rule against them was actually discrimination. The courts might rule in their favor, preventing you from enforcing that rule against that owner. It’s easy to see how that kind of situation could spiral out of control and lead to problems in the community and even diminishing property values. 

Keeping records of enforcement activity will protect the association

It isn’t enough to just send the letters to people or add a fine to their monthly condo association fees. You also need to have a record of how you reached out to them and sought to enforce the rules. That way, if someone in the future tries to claim that you have not fairly and universally enforced the rules, you will have records of the letters you sent and the fines you collected to prove them wrong.

Proactively protecting your authority as a condominium association will allow you to better fulfill your responsibilities to the homeowners in your community.