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New Changes to CT Condominium Laws

Will Your Community be Ready for the Most Sweeping Statutory Changes in a Quarter-Century?

On July 8, 2009, Governor Rell signed into law, “An Act Concerning Amendments to the Common Interest Ownership Act.”  This Act represents the most comprehensive overhaul of the laws governing condominiums in Connecticut in over twenty-five years.  Boards and managers, brace yourselves for some major changes.

On July 8, 2009, Governor Rell signed into law, “An Act Concerning Amendments to the Common Interest Ownership Act.”  This Act represents the most comprehensive overhaul of the laws governing condominiums in Connecticut in over twenty-five years.  Boards and managers, brace yourselves for some major changes.

The amendments were drafted by a blue-ribbon panel which included condominium officers, managers, lawyers, and developers as well as representatives from state agencies and the banking and insurance industries.  Their goals were to provide new rights to unit owners, grant associations additional powers, help resolve conflicts with developers, and clarify ambiguities under the existing statutes.  After months of study and revision, the panel unanimously proposed, and the legislature unanimously approved, the Act on June 3, 2009.

Two important provisions will take effect immediately for all communities.  First, Section 15 of the Act removes a major impediment to proposed declaration and bylaw amendments which, by their terms, require the consent of banks and others that hold unit mortgages.  Since those mortgage holders are often unresponsive, the Act provides that their consent is deemed granted unless they affirmatively object within 45 days after being notified of most types of amendments.  Second, Section 20 of the Act reverses the old rule that says an association cannot pledge future income (usually the right to receive monthly assessments as collateral for a loan) unless its declaration specifically so allows; this will now be permitted unless the declaration specifically so prohibits.  Section 20 also authorizes the Board to invest the association’s funds and deny privileges to unit owners who are delinquent in their assessments other than access to their own units, rights to vote and hold office, and certain critical services.

The other major provisions of the Act were given a delayed effective date of July 1, 2010 in order to allow association leaders and managers the time they will need to get ready for them.  Importantly, some of these changes will apply to all communities while others will apply only to those created on or after January 1, 1984.  This is because Connecticut’s 1976 Condominium Act is still on the books, and these newest amendments are only being made to the Common Interest Ownership Act, which supplements the Condominium Act as of that date.

Changes Applicable to All Communities

The following changes in the law will apply to every condominium, cooperative, and planned community in the state, regardless of when it was created, beginning on July 1, 2010.

Modernization
Several changes made throughout the Act will allow various types of notices to be sent and files to be kept in an electronic rather than paper format.  Similarly, Section 21 of the Act will allow Board meetings to be conducted by telephonic or video conferencing so long as the unit owners are notified in advance and able to participate.  Meetings of the unit owners can also be conducted in the same manner as long as the declaration or bylaws specifically so allow.

Enforcement Actions
Section 21 of the Act will give the Board wide discretion to determine when, and when not, to enforce the association’s rules against owners.  As long as the Board does not act arbitrarily, it will be free to consider whether to act on a case-by-case basis without being accused of selective enforcement.  This provision will also require the Board to notify the unit owners of legal proceedings in which the association is involved other than rule enforcement, collection, and foreclosure proceedings.

Section 32 will require that, before the association forecloses a delinquency lien on a unit, the owner must owe the equivalent of at least two months of assessments and the Board must have both demanded payment and authorized the lawsuit in a vote or applicable uniform policy.  The association’s “inchoate” (automatic and paperless) lien will be extended from two to three years, which means the Board can wait longer before resorting to foreclosure.

Meetings
Section 25 will significantly change the procedures for meetings of the Board, its committees, and the unit owners.  The Board and its committees must hold regular meetings at least twice annually, and a majority of the Board or 20% of the unit owners will share the president’s power to call special meetings.  The Board must give the unit owners meeting notices and agendas at least 10 days in advance, and make extra copies of any materials to be considered by the Board available to them as well.  Robert’s Rules of Order will control unless the declaration, bylaws, or two-thirds of the unit owners say otherwise.

All owners will have the right to attend and speak at all meetings, with narrow “executive session” exceptions such as to allow the Board to confer with the association’s attorney.  The Board can act without a meeting so long as they do so unanimously, document the action, and notify the owners afterward.  The Act excuses violations of these new meeting procedures unless challenged in court within 60 days after the minutes are approved or notices are distributed.

Insurance
Section 29 of the Act will clarify and expand the association’s insurance responsibilities.  It will be mandatory for all communities to purchase “fidelity insurance,” which covers losses from criminal activity such as burglary, embezzlement, forgery, and computer fraud.  For virtually all communities, this and the other types of insurance currently required (property, flood, and liability) will have to cover not just the common areas and original unit components, but all improvements and betterments of the owners as well.  The declaration or Board can opt out of this latter requirement, but the unit owners must then be given a detailed inventory of the original unit components every year and in all resale certificates so that they can determine what they should insure themselves.

Section 31 of the Act gives the Board more power to shift the cost of repairing damage from the association to the person responsible for causing it.  Although such losses not covered by insurance (such as the deductible) are common expenses, the Board can hold a hearing to allocate those losses to the owner, tenant, or guest whose “wilful misconduct,” “gross negligence,” or violation of written maintenance rules caused the damage.

Recordkeeping
The Act will dramatically expand the recordkeeping obligations of every association.  In Section 33, the Act will require that detailed records be kept of:

  • financial records including all expenditures and receipts, budget and reserve funds, assessment delinquencies and collection actions, and the last three years of financial statements and tax returns;
  • contact information such as the names and addresses of all unit owners, Board members, and directors as well as each unit’s vote allocation;
  • governing documents including the association’s declaration, bylaws, rules, third-party contracts in effect, and last annual report filed with the Secretary of State; and
  • records of the minutes and votes at all Board, committee, and owner meetings, decisions on unit owners’ architectural and design applications, and all ballots and proxies going back one year.

This provision will also expand the unit owners’ rights to inspect and copy the association’s records.  Except for a few litigation, employment, and other confidential documents, any unit owner can ask to inspect the information or that specific records be provided to him or her within five days.  The Board need not compile or synthesize documents to comply with these requests, and can charge a “reasonable fee” for photocopying and supervising the inspection.

Resale Certificates
The contents of the resale certificates which associations issue to new purchasers have been expanded in Section 41 of the Act.  They will need to identify all court and administrative proceedings in which the association is a party other than non-foreclosure collections, the number of units which are over 60 days’ delinquent in their assessments, how many foreclosures the association has brought against unit owners in the last year, and how many of those foreclosures were pending at a particular time.  The certificates must also identify any original unit components to which insurance coverage will be limited as provided in Section 29 and any maintenance standards which the owner can be held financially responsible for violating as provided in Section 31.
Section 41 also changes the fees which can be charged for the resale certificate.  A 2005 law had replaced a flat $75 fee with the association’s actual out-of-pocket preparation costs capped at $125.  The Act adopts the full $125 as a maximum flat fee plus either five cents per page for photocopying or $10 for an electronic format.

Additional Changes for Newer Communities

In addition to all of the new requirements outlined above, communities established in 1984 or later will also have to abide by the following changes in the law starting on July 1, 2010.

Declarant Relations
Section 16 of the Act clarifies that the “declarant’s rights,” which are the powers of the original developer to control the association and market units, can be deleted from the declaration after they legally expire.  Section 23 will expand the Board’s right to terminate the declarant’s contracts from management services to maintenance, operations, and employment contracts and leases of recreational, parking, and other facilities.  Section 39 will allow unit owners to sue the declarant for misleading public offering statements even if they had been delegated to others to prepare.

In response to the call from some developers for a “cooling off” period before they can be sued for construction defects, Section 38 of the Act will require that the association give them a 45-day opportunity to propose a repair plan before litigation can be filed.  Statutes of limitation are suspended for so long as the plan is diligently implemented.  Individual owners remain free to sue individually.

Governing Documents
Section 16 of the Act will revise the procedures for amending the declaration, including that only those owners affected by a proposal may be permitted to vote on it and that the 67% approval threshold can be reduced to a simple majority.  Section 22 will allow the declaration to entitle a governmental or charitable organization to appoint Board members, which may be useful in assisted living, subsidized housing, and other non-traditional communities.  Section 36 of the Act will allow a majority vote of the unit owners to remove any Board member or officer, with or without cause, at a properly-noticed meeting after allowing him or her the opportunity to be heard, and will override any clause of the declaration or bylaws to the contrary.
Under Section 24, the bylaws must contain all provisions necessary to satisfy the requirements relating to meetings, voting, quorums, and anything else mandated by the Act, other laws, or the declaration.  Note that a new definition in Section 1 of the Act makes clear that “bylaws” include any document containing the procedures for conducting the association’s affairs, no matter what that document is called.

Section 34 of the Act will obligate the Board to give at least 10 days’ notice to the unit owners before, and prompt notice after, the Board adopts or changes any rule governing personal conduct or the use or appearance of property.  This provision will also authorize the Board to regulate – but not ban – state flags, political signs, and unit owner meetings to discuss community issues in common areas.  Finally, Section 34 will also require that all rules adopted by the Board must be “reasonable.”  (The fact that this portion of the Act only applies to communities created since 1984 probably should not be interpreted as authorization for “unreasonable” rules by older communities!)

Voting
Several provisions in the Act will impose new regulations on voting procedures.  Section 26 will clarify that a quorum established at the beginning of a Board meeting can be lost if members leave afterward.  Section 27 will prohibit any one person from casting more than 15% of all of the association’s votes with undirected proxies unless the declaration or bylaws allow it.  This section will also abolish the prohibition against the Board casting the votes of units owned by the association, which in the past has prevented some communities from reaching quorum and minimum vote requirements.  Finally, unless the declaration or bylaws say otherwise, this section will allow unit owners to vote on issues by referendum – that is, without a meeting – if paper or electronic ballots are distributed, they are given at least three days to respond, and at least a quorum do so.

Budgets and Assessments
Section 37 of the Act will clarify certain budget and assessment procedures.  At least 30 days before adopting the annual budget, the Board will need to give the unit owners a summary that includes an explanation of how any reserves would be calculated and funded, and set a date between 10 and 60 days out for its consideration.  The budget is deemed approved unless the unit owners to which a majority of the association’s votes are allocated (not just those who attend the meeting) reject it.  Special assessments will follow the same procedures except that no approval meeting is required unless it would exceed 15% of the prior year’s budget.  Emergency assessments can be implemented upon a two-thirds vote of the Board alone so long as the owners are notified promptly afterwards.
Section 37 of the Act will also prohibit the Board from pledging the association’s future income as collateral for a loan without a unit owner majority vote, unless the declaration provides otherwise.

Develop an Action Plan

The changes mandated in the Act are significant, and every association in Connecticut has under eleven months to prepare to implement them.  Your community will not be ready without an action plan.  Here are the major issues to consider:

  • Scrutinize your declaration, bylaws, rules, and policies for provisions that contradict or ignore the Act’s new requirements, and amend them as appropriate.
  • Research what equipment, procedures, and amendments you would need for electronic notification and recordkeeping, telephonic or video conferencing, and referendum voting.
  • Get a copy of Robert’s Rules of Order, and read it.  Develop plans for promptly and efficiently scheduling meetings, approving minutes, and distributing notices.
  • Update your forms, including resale certificates, proxies, maintenance rules, delinquency policies, and fee schedules.
  • Update your lists, including past and pending legal proceedings, unit vote allocations, mailing (and e-mail) addresses, and outside vendors.
  • Talk to your insurance advisor about fidelity insurance and any coverage changes needed for unit owner improvements.  To opt out of the latter, start to inventory the units’ original features.
  • Track down any missing association records and the several new types which will need to be kept.  Determine where and how all of this information will be stored, organized, and made available for inspection.

Most importantly, educate yourself on the details of the Act and the other laws which govern your community.  They are available at www.cga.ct.gov and will be the subject of a series of seminars for Board members and property managers organized by CAI over the next several months.  Details about these seminars can be found at www.caict.org.

Adam J. Cohen is an attorney with the Law Firm of Pullman & Comley, LLC headquartered in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  As the Chair of its Community Law Section, he represents and gives seminars to condominiums, tax districts, and other communities in matters ranging from revenue collection strategies to commercial disputes. He is also the author of regular newsletters with circulations throughout Connecticut called Special District Update andCondominium Update.

About the Author

Chris Myers2001 Graduate of UConn with a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems. Chris is a licensed Realtor and a property manager since 2002, specializing in condominium association management.View all posts by Chris Myers →

  1. Patti
    Patti02-20-2011

    Hello,
    The unit owner’s where my mom lives have sent around a petition to vote the current president off the board. This president is saying that the petition is invalid because not all of the unit owner’s ‘signed’ it. Some printed their names, some put their signatures. They all put their unit numbers next to their names. Do you know if this president is correct? Is the petition invalid because some of the people printed their name rather than putting their signature?

    Thanks for any help you can offer,

    Patti

  2. Chris Myers
    Chris Myers02-21-2011

    Hi Patti- Thanks for your question. The question about your mother’s Association is not quite as straightforward as signing a petition and certain peculiarities can exist within the Bylaws of each particular homeowner’s association. So in effect the President is correct but not exactly for the right reasons.

    I think within the CIOA statute there is a standardized way of removing a board member and that is by a two-thirds vote at a meeting of the unit owners at which a quorum is present. The key is to make sure the meeting of the unit owners is properly noticed and that no one person holds more than 15% of the proxies for that meeting. If the Board refuses to a call a meeting of the unit owners, there is usually a way for a majority of the unit owners to do it themselves.

    The owners at your mother’s association should verify this information with an attorney as it relates to her specific association’s governing documents.

    If your community is in search of HOA management services, don’t hesitate to contact us at 860-437-7005 or by going through the contact form on this website. Much of our new business is through referrals and by developing relationships in the community, even answering questions from visitors to this site.

    -
    Chris Myers
    Property Manager

  3. Georgia Day
    Georgia Day04-22-2011

    Are there statewide rules defining “occupants” of a condo unit? Do they have to be related(married couples, partners) and can they be renters?

  4. Chris Myers
    Chris Myers04-22-2011

    Occupants are usually defined as a single family with no more than two overnight guests per room. This is usually defined within the parameters of your local building code.

    Some condos have restrictions on renters based on how long you’ve owned the unit and the number of current renters. Most also require a minimum one year lease.

    If your community is in search of HOA management services, don’t hesitate to contact us at 860-437-7005 or by going through the contact form on this website. Much of our new business is through referrals and by developing relationships in the community, even answering questions from visitors to this site.

    -
    Chris Myers
    Property Manager, Northeast Property Group

  5. Patricia
    Patricia06-14-2011

    Hi Chris,

    I am a Board member of a 50 unit complex in Branford. Our manager has told us that according to the new laws as of July 1, 2010 that the Board members are not allowed to see the financials regarding payment by unit owners of their condo fees. In other words, only the Management company is allowed to have this information. The Board does not know who is current and who isn’t. We have had more than 10 owners deliquent with their fees totaling thousands of dollars. How are we supposed to manage our property if we are not allowed to see the cash flow every month? I can’t believe that this is logical or helpful for anyone.
    Could you confirm this and please tell me the Section of the new law that this is discussed in?
    Many thanks,
    Patricia Dowling

  6. Chris Myers
    Chris Myers06-14-2011

    Ms. Dowling- thank you for your question. To be blunt: the information that the property management company is giving you is incorrect.

    The Board should investigate why they are receiving poor management and possibly solicit help from the Association’s attorney if you suspect intentional deception. In many cases, it’s just a matter of the management company not being well enough educated on the evolving condominium laws in CT. Property manager’s definitely aren’t perfect and all-knowing, but a good manager will take the time to double check their sources and thought process if something like this is called into question.

    I suspect the management company is incorrectly referring to privacy concerns that restrict certain unit account status information from entering the hands of non-board members, but this has no bearing on the Board. To the contrary, the Board has a fiduciary responsibility (that the management company is hired to assist with) to the Association in making sure fees are collected to every legal extent possible and that includes knowing which units are delinquent and by how much, and when those accounts need to be referred to the attorney.

    This type of misleading information would never come from a reputable company that strives to educate it’s employees and has years of experience in managing community associations like Northeast Property Group does.

    If you think your association will be seeking new management, don’t hesitate to contact me at 860-437-7005 or by going through the contact form on this website.

    Regards,
    Chris Myers

  7. Mim
    Mim06-14-2011

    had ice/water damage in Jan. 2011, severe interior damage.
    Some repairs done, others have not.
    5 months of residing in an upside down condo, contents & furniture sit in the midst of each room.
    Condo manager is telling me they’re waiting for insurance money & asking me to “hang in there”
    Where can I get some legal help to know my rights & to get repairs completed?
    I have left my name, phone no. & brief message to CT Consumer Protection & attorney Gen. office but they have not returned my call.
    I beleive that 5 months is much too long to be patient.
    Appreciate any advice.

  8. Chris Myers
    Chris Myers06-17-2011

    Mim – Thank you for your question. Many communities across New England had similar water damage issues that you describe. However, I bet most have been remedied by now. I would recommend asking for the insurance agent’s information, a claim number and the name of the adjuster so you can contact them and try to speed things along. If you get no satisfaction there, you may consider hiring an attorney after you’ve advised your representative Board that you intend to do so and the reasons why. If you have good written documentation of each step you’ve taken, the Board will be more inclined to see the issue from your perspective and take faster action. At the very least, you will have opened a dialogue with the Board and know where they stand on your issue.

  9. mim
    mim06-20-2011

    Thank you for reply, Chris, on 6/17.
    I have made attempts to contact our Insurance Co. but am told they are an Independent Co. & need to communicate with our property manager.( Have numerous times ! )
    I did leave a voice message for the Adjuster of the name given to me , expressing my dissatisfaction with the unreasonable period of wait time ( 5+ months ) for total repairs.
    Also for his lack of attention to the claim.
    My Condo manager as well as the Contractor have told me that they also, have continually attempted to contact the Adjuster but he does not reply to their text messages, phone calls, e-mails.
    I did contact an Atty., ( also 3 others & they all tell me to work with the Condo) & he did make a call to my Condo manager but she is telling him the same as she tells me…The Insurance Co. hasn’t given them any money as of yet & they did take some money from our Assoc.reserve fund to do the urgent repairs, putting insulation, ceilings walls back together.
    They told the Atty. that they expected to have the work started & completed within the next week or two.
    I’ve been hearing this same tune for the past 4+ months.
    He did not suggest my going ahead with his services & I’m not in a position to pay an unexpected huge amount of money to retain an Atty.
    I also beleive that it is most unfair that I would need to do this as it was proven to be their neglect.
    Seems as though no one cares to tangle with Insurance companies or at least, this is the impression that I’m getting.
    Has sure been a rocky road for me having to deal with the devestation.

  10. Mark Elliott
    Mark Elliott07-04-2011

    Hi, the new law (see below) requires that there will be a notice send of board meeting to unit owners. My board has not send any notices of board meeting since they adopted this law. Is my board in violation of the law and what can I do about it. Thank you.

    The new amendments require that every Board meeting be “open”. Every Unit Owner is now allowed to attend every Board meeting. A Board meeting cannot be held without a

    portion of the meeting being allocated for comments by Unit Owners on any issue affecting the community. The Board must send notice and an agenda for each Board meeting to all Unit Owners at least five (5) days prior to the meeting

  11. Yesenia
    Yesenia07-14-2011

    Hello,

    I also had sever damage due to this past winter. An adjustor came out and inspected the damage back in January. Since then nothing has been done. The property manager for my association says he has not received the adjustors estimate of the damage and etc. It has been ongoing chaos. To cut the story short and get right to my question, we are now in July and just a few weeks ago the property manager says that although he still has yet to receive the adjustors’ report, he has received the money from the insurance company. However, he is now saying that he cannot cut us a check personally but he has to pay the whatever contractor we have fix our home directly. This does not make any sense to me and my husband. We are the owners of this condo and we feel that we are entitled to the money and then we should be able to pay the contractors that we choose to do the work. They are now trying to tell us that by law they are not allowed to give us the check personally. Both my fiance and I are in law school and the lawyer I am interning for tells me that this is not true. Can you please help me and let me know if we are entitled to receive a check directly, or if they are correct in saying that they must pay the contractor directly!!

    Thank you very much in advance.

  12. Teri
    Teri07-22-2011

    My husband and I live in a two unit side by side condo. Our neighbors (2 women one of which is autisic) who moved in the unit next door about a year or so after we moved in are totally obnoxious and demanding (this would be the non autistic one). To make a long story short, We are struggling to make ends meet and we do mostly all work around the property ourselves to keep our common charges affordable. This woman has been nothing but trouble for us for the last 3 years and we’re about at the end of our rope with her. We’ve had our Attorney (who we’ve had since we moved in) write her a couple of letters, but he does not want to be involved with such nonsense that we go through with her, nor does he ever get back to us when we have a complaint about her. We have such generic bylaws etc., which really doesn’t let us know what our rights as Board Directors of the Association. She makes demands on things that she thinks she has rights to and doesn’t and when we want hire a company to power wash the outside of the building she refuses to give her consent, therefore we can’t have it done which is making “our” home depreciate.

    Here’s our dilema….We can’t get any answers on what our rights are because our lawyer doesn’t want to be bothered and we can’t afford another. This woman constantly harrasses us, but not in a violent way, just aggravated harrassment and being a nusance with her demand because she wants her and her austistic aunt to be the president and secretary of the association and we don’t feel she’s entitled because she’s a very shady woman and her aunt is not capable of being anything with her disability. She does NOTHING around here to help out. She wanted responsibilities to do her share of helping out around the property and we told her what she could do and she either has our neighbor across the way do it or her autistic aunt. All she does is DEMAND DEMAND DEMAND….I have repeatedly called the police on her for her obnoxious behavior and they don’t even want to be bothered because it’s all a civil matter.

    They own 6 cats (they’re only allowed one pet). We had our lawyer write them a letter asking them to remove all, but one and they never responded to his letter as he asked them to do once the cats were removed. I phoned the lawyer to ask if he ever got a response and he said no. Why is it so hard for people to do the job that they are supposed to do. The neighbors now keep they’re curtains closed so that the cats are not seen therefore, they are in violation of the laws. Could we charge them a fine fromt the day the lawyer sent the letter out if the cats are still there and how could we have her unit checked to see if in fact the cats are there or removed?? Plus if there needs to be an appointment to see if the cats are removed, who’s to say they won’t bring them somewhere and them bring them back. I know she will not get rid of them…

    So, the lawyers don’t want to be bothered, the police don’t want to be bothered. Can’t take things into our own hands so where do we go from here. Have just enough money in the Association account to pay for the daily bills and insurance, can’t afford to raise the common charges right now due to this economy…Everything goes up except our paychecks. Can’t afford another lawyer who will probably not want to be bothered either so how do we handle this situation other than selling our unit because we won’t make any money on it and that’s what the neighbors would want. My dad built these units and I will not be run out of my home because someone next door wants CONTROL…We abide by the bylaws etc. What gives her the right not to???

    Thank you for your help

  13. Chris Myers
    Chris Myers07-25-2011

    Teri- thank you for visiting Northeast Property Group and posing your question. Two unit associations are notoriously difficult. Unfortunately this question is very specific and beyond the scope of this blog. I would recommend reviewing your governing documents to see what means of enforcement you have against your neighbor and seeking the assistance of an attorney that is interested in helping. For anyone else out there, be aware that very small condominium associations have unique issues as exemplified above. Be sure to do your due diligence when purchasing.

  14. Chris Myers
    Chris Myers07-25-2011

    Mr. Elliot, thanks for your question. Providing Unit Owners notice doesn’t actually require a mailing of the agenda. Many properties I manage just post an agenda, schedule, etc. on their HOA website (which we provide) or others will post that info on the community bulletin board. That seems sufficient to satisfy the notice requirements in the new statute. If your board is not doing that, you should talk to them and remind them of the new changes.

    If your community is in search of HOA management services, don’t hesitate to contact us at 860-437-7005 or by going through the contact form on this website. Much of our new business is through referrals and by developing relationships in the community, even answering questions from visitors to this site.

    -
    Chris Myers
    Property Manager, Northeast Property Group

  15. Yesenia
    Yesenia07-25-2011

    Hello, I posted a question above on July 14th. I would really appreciate any input and advice as I’m in a real dilemma here.

    Thank You!

  16. Chris Myers
    Chris Myers07-26-2011

    Yesenia- thanks for your question. I believe that your property manager is acting properly, but it does depend in part on your association documents. Many Declarations include sections on insurance, including how to handle insurance proceeds. I’m not an attorney though, so my comments shouldn’t be construed as legal advice, but the Association received the funds as the insured and the manager has a fiduciary responsibility to the Association to ensure those funds are utilized to restore damaged areas. The opportunity for misuse of these funds increases when the funds are just handed over to the unit owner. For example, the owner may choose to not make the repairs after receiving the funds, they may choose a contractor that departs partway through the project, or maybe the restoration ends up costing double…all these are potential scenarios that your property manager would be left handling.

    I think the real issue is that the damages are still in need of repair almost 8 months later and you have every right to be dissatisfied with that level of service. I know the CT insurance industry was heavily overburdened with last winter’s ice damming though, so begin documenting your situation and try to get firm repair dates in writing. You should also contact your insurance company for your HO6 policy and explain the situation. I’ve seen some HO6 policies make interior repairs and then go after the master policy. My last insight is if the insurance company already paid out the claim, then it was probably adjusted already.

    Considering your husband and you are in law school, it should be pretty easy to get a good legal answer from an attorney practicing real estate law, and maybe one that specializes in condominiums. Report back how it goes.
    -
    Chris Myers
    Property Manager, Northeast Property Group

  17. Cathy
    Cathy09-07-2011

    How rigid do associations have to be in implementing the new condo laws? We have always been above board with our owners. Do we have to mail out notices of meetings, or can we put a flyer in their doors, and post notices on our bulletin boards? Can we do straight up and down votes on issues, or do we have to vote to reject our budget. It confuses our unit owners.

    Thanks, Cathy

  18. Chris Myers
    Chris Myers09-07-2011

    Cathy- thanks for posting your question. I think you and your Board are doing a good job of meeting the notification requirements stipulated in the amended common interest ownership act. Posting meeting dates and agenda items on the bulletin board is all many associations do.

    As far as voting, I would check your bylaws, but typically there must be a motion to reject a budget and a majority of all owners must vote ‘aye’ on the motion, otherwise the budget is ratified. It’s counter-intuitive I know, but those are the rules. On other issues, it’s usually motion to approve and a vote. Some items will require different majorities, quorums etc., though, so check your docs.

    Good luck,
    Chris Myers
    Property Manager, Northeast Property Group

    PS- If your community is in search of HOA management services, don’t hesitate to contact us at 860-437-7005 or by going through the contact form on this website. Much of our new business is through referrals and by developing relationships in the condominium community, even answering questions from visitors to this site.

  19. Ann
    Ann09-24-2011

    Chris,

    I live in a condominium community where the board meets monthly, and then there is an annual unit owners meeting once a year in the fall. Under the new condo laws, does the rule requiring that property owners have 10 days’ notice prior to a meeting extend to these monthly board meetings or just to the big, annual meeting? If it’s the former, then our property management company is not in compliance and I would like to request that they get on the ball. Thanks, in advance, for your insight.

  20. Maria D'Urso
    Maria D'Urso11-09-2011

    Hello,

    I’m the executor for my fathers estate which includes the condo he lived in. He has been paying a monthly condo fee in which part goes towards flood insurance. Back in April his mortgage holder did an evaluation and determined that the flood insurance that the association has was insufficent and therefore force placed flood insurance.

    We are currently under contract to sell the condo and the buyer has been forced by her bank to pay out fees to have the flood insurance issue assessed. She has asked that my fathers estate pay for it. This assessment will also benefit the condo association as a whole. I feel that my fathers estate is not responsible for this fee and that the condo association is? Also, I feel due to the fact that I have to pay for individual flood ins I should be reimbursed the portion of condo fees that is suppose to go towards it?

  21. Mark
    Mark11-12-2011

    Hello,

    I live in a condominium community where I was told the board meets monthly, and then there is an annual unit owners meeting once a year in the early Spring. Under the new condo laws, does the rule requiring that property owners have 10 days’ notice prior to a meeting extend to these monthly board meetings or just to the big, annual meeting? In the past when I asked if I could attend the monthly meetings I was told that to attend, I would have to send in an agenda item as the board meets in a board members home and they could not just allow anyone to show up. Is this legal?

    Thanks for any advice you can provide.

  22. Chris Myers
    Chris Myers11-17-2011

    Mark- thanks for posting your question. Board meetings are open to the ownership except during executive session. Each meeting will typically include a short period at the beginning for the Board to hear owner comments. The new changes do require that the Board provide notice for the meetings. To achieve this, many associations we manage will post a 12 month schedule of meeting dates and a default agenda and bring an extra set of materials in case an owner would like to view them at the meeting. Not all association’s do this however and it usually depends on the community and the involvement of it’s members. It sounds like you should try joining your board to help them meet the changes to the CIOA.

    Good luck,
    Chris Myers
    Property Manager, Northeast Property Group

    PS- If your community is in search of HOA management services, don’t hesitate to contact us at 860-437-7005 or by going through the contact form on this website. Much of our new business is through referrals and by developing relationships in the condominium community, even answering questions from visitors to this site.

  23. Chris Myers
    Chris Myers11-17-2011

    Hi Maria- thanks for posting your question. Having just dealt with your issue at another association last week I’m more familiar now with this issue than most. The new flood maps released by FEMA are just being reviewed by mortgagors and the insurance companies. In some cases, zones have changed raising premiums and in other cases, building limits have increased as well. This can be a little counter-intuitive to owners because although home values have decrease, the cost to rebuild and the risk factors being used by the insurance companies are causing policy limits (and therefore premiums) to rise. It’s a complex formula for sure, but the bottom line is, the Association in most cases is responsible for insuring 100% of the value of the building, which includes flood insurance, and the other commercial packages.

    I would recommend carefully reviewing your father’s insurance section of the Declaration to see what overages the Association is required to maintain and then contact the representative board and insurance agent to get the ball rolling.

    Good luck,
    Chris Myers
    Property Manager, Northeast Property Group

    PS- If your community is in search of HOA management services, don’t hesitate to contact us at 860-437-7005 or by going through the contact form on this website. Much of our new business is through referrals and by developing relationships in the condominium community, even answering questions from visitors to this site.

  24. Chris Myers
    Chris Myers11-17-2011

    Ann – sorry I missed your posted question. I responded to a similar question here:
    http://www.neproperty.com/2010/03/23/changes-ct-condominium-laws/comment-page-2/#comment-555

  25. Elysia
    Elysia12-20-2011

    Chris,
    My husband and I currently own a condo in Guilford that we rented out as of May 2011. During Hurricane Irene there was no power for a week, apparently our renter left the faucet on (which wasn’t working due to having well water) and ended up flooding the entire condo! Our insurance company did an estimate for the work as did our condos insurance company. We were told that our contractor would be able to start work in October so that the condo would be finished by November for our renter to move back in. It is now the end of December and nothing has been done bc the President of the management company is holding the insurance money and is now requesting separate invoices for every single project done. He is very difficult to get in touch with and tries to avoid us all the time. We are trying to abide by his rules but every week he comes up with a new request. He is also now asking for a key so he can check on the work being done. We have looked his name up on the CT Court website and came across lawsuits for insurance fraud.
    We just want to the the condo repaired correctly and can’t believe what we have been through since September. How much of this do we actually have to take and what rights do we have?
    It just seems absurd to me that this man has the money to fix our condo which we own and he doesn’t have to give us anymore to get the work done until he wants to.

  26. Carol obrien
    Carol obrien12-27-2011

    Does a ct. Condo property manager have to use licensed contractors when fixing walls in a condo due to leaks and mold and requires new sheetrocking? Does the indoor paint job require licensed painters? The property manager has agreed that it is the associations fault and hired a company that is not licensed.
    Carol o

  27. Chris Myers
    Chris Myers01-05-2012

    Carol- while it’s a good business practice to always hire licensed and insured contractors, it is not always necessary for certain repairs, like painting for example, if the individual repair is less than $200. I don’t know the particulars of your situation, but you can research more information on the state of Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection website here: .

    Sorry- here is the link: http://www.ct.gov/dcp/cwp/view.asp?a=1625&Q=274440&dcpNav=|

    Good luck,
    Chris Myers
    Property Manager, Northeast Property Group

    PS- If your community is in search of HOA management services, don’t hesitate to contact us at 860-437-7005 or by going through the contact form on this website. Much of our new business is through referrals and by developing relationships in the condominium community, even answering questions on this site.

  28. Donna Duncan
    Donna Duncan01-22-2012

    Hi Chris,

    I have two questions for you.

    First.
    I hand deliver my common charges to the Management Co.. Since I hand delivered them in the grace period, I stupidly did not request a receipt because I felt that my check was the receipt. The management Co. did not record the payment until one or two days after the grace period and are now assessing me late charges ($150 total – $25 per). This has happened a couple of times and I have declined payment of the late charges because I am not paying for someone else’s sloppiness. They have now had a lawyer send me a letter and a bill for the attorney’s fees.
    My question is this, Can the management Co hire an attorney without first advising me or giving me a “period to cure”. In other words, letting me know that if I don’t pay the late fees they will hire an attorney and I will then be subject to the attorney’s fee. This is a requirement with regard to kmost debts.

    This condo is in CT and my feeling is since they hired an attorney without following the “period to cure”… they should be subject to the legal fees, not I. Do you know if there is a CT statute or where I can follow-up if you are not sure. This Management Co has been making my life miserable and it has actually made me hate living in a condo…..even worse…my common fees help to pay their salaries. I never envisioned that I would be tortured by the “people who are supposed to be working for me”.

    Second
    If you recall, last winter was fairly rough and in the midst of the winter because of the large accumulation of snow on the roofs…..approximately 30 of our units leaked. The Assn. hired some people to clean the roofs. The result was that the people they hired (apparently, less than qualified) sent the snow and ice careening down on my rather expensive patio furniture and broke it. When they finished, there was such an accumulation of snow and ice that I could not even see the broken table.and chairs until the Spring.

    In the interim, we were sent a Special Assessment to cover the cleaning of the roofs and the interior damage suffered by the 30 units. A Special Assesment was issued woithout even knowing how much would be covered by insurance.

    I ann case, when I went to the Board to advise that my property had been damaged through neglience. The Board advised me that they made a decision not to cover damages to property on the decks. My insurance co. will also not cover this damage. My feeling is that since the Condo Assn.did not advise us that the roof cleaners were coming through and they did not have the roof clreaners remove the furniture from the deck, it is the Condo Assn. that is negligent with regard to the destruction of my property.

    To add insult to injury, I get to pay the bill for these roof cleaners and I get to pay for everyone else’s repairs but my own property stays damaged. Just so that you are aware, my furniture was covered and the cover was completely shredded.

    I am probably going to sue the association for negligence but I was curious if there is a precedent or law with regard to this as relates to my small claims law suit.

    Thanks for whatever help you can offer..

  29. Chris Myers
    Chris Myers01-23-2012

    Donna- thanks for visiting http://www.neproperty.com and posting your questions. My advice is not meant to be legal advice, but here are my opinions regarding your situation:
    Most condo associations have a collection policy in place. In fact, I believe this a statutory requirement. You should ask your Board/management company to see a copy of it first to check whether you met the criteria which would have warranted sending your account to the attorney. You should also request a hearing before your representative Board of Directors at the next scheduled meeting to discuss your allegation that payment was hand delivered on time and that it was the management company’s failure to process it before the late date. Our company policy is different: we stamp every piece of correspondence the day it is received, whether mailed, delivered or left in the drop box. I am surprised that given what you stated that the management company wasn’t amenable to working this situation out with you. That’s why it’s important to talk to your Board as well.

    Your second question about personal property damage, is unfortunate. While it shows a lack of common sense by the contractor, I’m not sure anybody is liable for your personal property except you. This is why residents are encouraged to carry an HO6 insurance policy: to protect among other things, personal belongings like a patio set. I’m a little surprised your insurer didn’t help out in this case. Whether you have basis for a lawsuit, I would talk to an attorney. If nothing else, you have a reason to bring in the patio furniture in the fall.

    If your community is in search of HOA management services, don’t hesitate to contact us at 860-437-7005 or by going through the contact form on this website. Much of our new business is through referrals and by developing relationships in the condominium community, even answering questions on this site.

    Best Regards,
    Chris Myers

  30. Dave
    Dave03-20-2012

    Is there a law in the state of connecticut that requires an HOA to give you a grace period for your HOA dues just like a mortgage grace period and if so how many days an HOA must give you before applying a late fee.

  31. Chris Myers
    Chris Myers03-26-2012

    Dave- to my knowledge there is no law about minimum grace periods. Most association’s adopt their own policies and they can vary.

    If your community is in search of HOA management services, don’t hesitate to contact us at 860-437-7005 or by going through the contact form on this website. Much of our new business is through referrals and by developing relationships in the condominium community, even answering questions on this site.

    Best Regards,
    Chris Myers

  32. Joe Pop
    Joe Pop04-10-2012

    Dear Chris:

    It is my understanding that finanical reporting requirements for Condominium Associations in Conn. must conform to GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles). My association has not had a ‘Capital Expenditures Report” available for review and distribution to all unit owners in nearly 25 years!

    Each and every annual audit report I’ve seen makes mention of this fact (Our Association Is operating without a Capital Expenditure Report) in the “comments section”.

    Surprise special assessments during these economic hard times have caused several units to be foreclosed upon in an effort to collect delinquent “Special Asssessments”. Without a Capital Expenditures Plan there is no way unit owners have sufficient lead time to plan accordingly!

    Is it or is it not a violation of the law to impose capital expenditure special assessments without a plan?

  33. Linny
    Linny07-07-2012

    We need help here. We had our board election at our condo complex. One vote was a write in and the board can’t find it. Someone threw it away and another one, with a vote ,was put in it’s place. The owners wanted to see their write in and the board can’t find it. How do we know they didn’t change other votes. Does this warrant a new election because it was breached? They counted theirs as a vote for someone they did not vote for.
    Please help with some advise.

  34. Chris Myers
    Chris Myers07-10-2012

    Hi Linny- I would request the Board to call another owners meeting. If they don’t and there enough resident’s as concerned as you are, your documents probably specify what it takes for a group of owners to call an owners meeting without the Board’s approval.

    If your community is in search of HOA management services, don’t hesitate to contact us at 860-437-7005 or by going through the contact form on this website. Much of our new business is through referrals and by developing relationships in the condominium community, even answering questions on this site.

    Best Regards,
    Chris Myers

  35. Linny
    Linny07-19-2012

    Hi Chris:
    1.) Have you ever heard of any condo association investing in the ” stock market”
    with 3/4 of the reserve money? We keep asking them to get out and place in cd but they refuse.
    2.) if they loose all our money in the stock market, if it crashes, do all us unit owners
    have a right to a legal litigation after requesting to get out of the stock market.
    Appreciate your views on how many condos truly gamble like this in stock markets.
    Thank you Chris.

  36. Chris Myers
    Chris Myers07-19-2012

    Linny- never heard of this and think it’s a terrible idea. I’d check with an attorney about the legality of this as well. I’m pretty sure this may violate some basic fiduciary responsibilities the Board has.

    If your community is in search of HOA management services, don’t hesitate to contact us at 860-437-7005 or by going through the contact form on this website. Much of our new business is through referrals and by developing relationships in the condominium community, even answering questions on this site.

    Best Regards,
    Chris Myers

  37. James Gormley
    James Gormley08-07-2012

    I currently own a condo in Stamford. I purchased the unit in 1994 and then rented the unit starting in 2004. The condo bylaws state that no more than 3 units may be rented at any given time (there are 19 units). At the time I rented the unit, there were two units rented, making mine the third. The tenant has lived there for almost 8 years and has decided to move. I have since refinanced (with cash out) and can not afford to move in myself as a principal residence. The bylaws also state that in order to rent a unit, an owner must be on a “list”, and when a person no longer rents his unit, then the person at the top of this list is eligible to rent his unit. He/She is given 90 days to rent the unit and if it is not rented before that time, then this person is dropped from the list and the next person on this list can rent their unit. I contacted the Property Manager and requested a copy of this list. The response was that there are currently five units that are rented, which violates the bylaws. I asked when all 5 units were rented and the dates. I’ve received no response. I think the so called list is non-existent. I need to rent my unit when the tenants move out. If I simply ignore the current situation and rent my unit after the current tenants move, what recourse does the Property Management or the Homeowners Association have against me, given that they have already violated the bylaws. I know that two wrongs don’t make a right, but I’m in a situation where I must rent my unit within a short period of time or face foreclosure or must sell the property. Any suggestions ? I would appreciate any comments. I am considering seeking counsel on the matter. Thank you in advance.
    Jim Gormley

  38. BL
    BL08-19-2012

    What charges can you bring against a board member who is getting perks and so much work done from our landscaper. He is so afraid of loosing this account he spends so much time over there and gets special treatment that others do not get. This board member does not pay for all these x-rays. Can us unit owner ask her to resign from the board or can we all press charges? The landscaper confirmed all this to 2 unit owners and one board members. Please help!

  39. A.T.Gallo
    A.T.Gallo11-10-2012

    Does Ct. commercial condominium have to have a President, Secty, Treasurer and a vice president.
    are all disbursements (checks) require two signatures ie: pres and treas,
    Thank you

  40. Paul Bologna
    Paul Bologna02-01-2013

    Does CIOA allow for HOA to charge a flat fee of $125 + per page copy charges, to be charged and collected
    Prior to release of resale package? Even in short sale situation?

    Thanks

  41. Chris Myers
    Chris Myers02-04-2013

    Mr. Bologna- thanks for your email. I’m not 100% sure on the copy charges, but yes to the $125 fee and time of payment is usually a company policy. We take typically take payment at the time of pickup.

    Hope that answers your questions.

    If your community is in search of HOA management services, don’t hesitate to contact us at 860-437-7005 or by going through the contact form on this website. Much of our new business is through referrals and our relationships in the condominium community…even by answering questions on our site.

    Best Regards,
    Chris Myers

  42. gerri lloyd
    gerri lloyd04-11-2013

    I live in a mixed use association with 165 condo and 26 single family homes, with assessments based on square footage including garage and unfinished basements per declaration made in 1989.
    Voting is equal with one vote per unit / house. Does law provide for voting based on assessment percent? Can hoa fees be changed to be split equally?

  43. Kim
    Kim07-25-2013

    Did the State of Conn. past a law several years about the amount needed to be placed in reserves for Condo Assoc.? If so where can I find a copy?
    Thank You.

  44. Chris Myers
    Chris Myers07-25-2013

    Hi Kim- thanks for visiting our site. I’m not aware of a requirement for reserves, however, most lenders will look to see if at least 20% of the total operating budget is being contributed to the reserve fund, before writing a loan. Therefore, I always strongly recommend to my Board’s that they consider this as a bare minimum starting point.

    You can read more about CT’s statues regarding condominium’s here: http://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/law/condominiums.htm

  45. Chris Myers
    Chris Myers12-03-2013

    G.L. It all depends on the verbiage in your condominium documents. Some even allow for percentage voting on budgets but a single whole vote on board members. or other Association issues. Typically however, it’s usually either based on a percentage, like livable square footage, or as a single vote per unit. Hope that helps answer your question.