Ask Atty. George: What Rights Do I Have At Condo Board Meetings

Reportedly, some Condominium Boards of Directors are requiring that unit owners notify the board of their intention to appear at a board meeting and to let the board know if they wish to speak at the meeting. Once they notify the board, they are given a specified time to attend the meeting and asked to leave once they have spoken. This practice seems contrary to the letter and spirit of the Common Interest Ownership Act (CIOA), which is the law that governs most condominiums in Connecticut.

CIOA requires that Board meetings be open to the unit owners and to a representative the unit owner designates except during executive sessions (CGS 47-250(b)(1). The Board may hold an executive session only during a regular or special meeting of the Board. No final vote or action may be taken during an executive session.

An executive session may be held only to:

  1. Consult with the Association’s attorney concerning legal matters;
  2. Discuss existing or potential litigation or mediation, arbitration or administrative proceedings;
  3. Discuss labor or personnel matters;
  4. Discuss contracts, leases and other commercial transactions to purchase or provide goods or services currently being negotiated, including the review of bids or proposals, if premature general knowledge of those matters would place the Association at a disadvantage; or
  5. Prevent public knowledge of the matter to be discussed if the executive Board or committee determines that public knowledge would violate the privacy of any person (CGS 47-250(b)(1)).

At each Board meeting, the Board must provide a reasonable opportunity for unit owners to comment regarding any matter affecting the common interest community and the Association (CGS 47-250(b)(4).

Unless the meeting is included in a schedule given to the unit owners, or the meeting is called to deal with an emergency, the secretary or other officer specified in the bylaws must give notice of each Board meeting to each Board member and to each unit owner. The notice must be given at least five (5) days before the meeting and must state the time, date, place, and agenda of the meeting, except that notice of a meeting called to adopt, amend, or repeal a rule must be given at least ten (10) days before the meeting (CGS 47-261b(a);CGS 47-250(b)(5)).

If any materials are distributed to the Board before the meeting, the Board at the same time must make copies of those materials reasonably available to unit owners, except that the Board need not make available copies of unapproved minutes or materials that are to be considered in executive session (emphasis added) (CGS 47-250(b)(6).

It should be noted that CIOA allows the Board to act by unanimous consent as documented in a record authenticated by all its members. The Board’s secretary must promptly give notice to all unit owners of any action taken by unanimous consent (CGS 47-250(b)(8)).

Remember you have to act quickly if the board violates any of these legally guaranteed rights. The law specifies that even if an action by the Board does not comply with the above legal requirements, it is valid unless set aside by a court. A challenge to the validity of an action of the Board for failure to comply with the above described legal requirements must be filed within sixty (60) days after the minutes of the challenged Board meeting are approved or the record of that action is distributed to unit owners, whichever is later (CGS 47-250(9)).

If your Board is not complying with the law, let Board members know about their legal obligations.  If that does not work, you can challenge the board through all the democratic options CIOA provides (For example, calling for a special meeting of the Unit Owners Association; voting board members out of office ;etc.) as well as taking the Board to court. Also don’t forget to consult the declaration and bylaws. Your condominium documents may give you even greater rights.

Hartford Atty George Coppolo is a member of the Connecticut Condo Owners Coalition (CCOC) Advisory Committee.

This article is for general informational purposes only, does not constitute and should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author or the author’s law firm (Gordon, Muir and Foley, LLP) and any party.  Statutes and case law vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and may change from time to time.  You should consult a licensed attorney for legal advice relating to your specific situation.

 

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8 Responses to Ask Atty. George: What Rights Do I Have At Condo Board Meetings

  1. P. C. Hine says:

    The statutes provide that an owner wishing to challenge a Board of Directors actions must do so within 60 days. However, I have notified our “Board” (a 2 member Board) that they are not following the law by not inviting all owners to all Board meetings. The “Board” repeatidly changes rules to suit their own personal likes and dislikes. I’ve sent the “President” and the property manager several letters citing the law, their need to follow it and my challenge of their rule changes. Now what? I have to sue the Board? Can I act on my own behalf (I’m a retired litigation paralegal)? And most importantly, which Court would I file my complaint in? Superior Court, small claims, etc? There is no dollar amount involved, they are just crazy and need to be stopped. Unfortunately, the other owners just don’t care so I’m on my own.

    • I want to tell you that I am also an experienced legal litigation secretary. The board is illiterate when it comes to communication. It is deliberate indifference that results in a civil war. Stupid does not answer because they do not know how to be board members.

      Can they hurt me? I believe they will try to place me in collections but I have something on them.

      Is anyone informed on this. Looking forward to a reply.

      Lynn Ferrara

  2. Diz says:

    You can not fix stupid nor can you help people that do not want to be helped. You seem to have a leg up on most being a retired litigation paralegal. The question is do you believe in yourself enough to go head to head with a seasoned attorney. My guess is he will tear you apart. The board will hire there attorney who will be payed for his service by association funds, which you have contributed to. Then he will more than likely start stating case law and cases you never heard of. The judge will then make a decision based on the law, not what is right or wrong. Then comes the matter of you “proving “your claim. Do you have documented proof,copies of cert. letters, minutes of the meeting and so forth. I resigned from my board because “both” the PM and BOD refused to listen to me. I advised them in back on December 2009 of the law changes. To date the owners still do not know of the changes because the board has not found the time to review what we payed thousands to re-write to be compliant with current law. A year of my life wasted trying to help and do the right thing. And shame on the association’s attorney for not doing a follow up or asking why nothing was done. Good luckD

  3. Linda Palermo says:

    At Stonybrook the minutes of the monthly meeting are not made available to the members for at least 30-32 days after the meeting and only after the Board corrects the minutes should they have to be corrected. In view of the fact that the statute gives us the right to file a within 60 days it short circutes the member time to file a complaint. When I bought into the condo 40 years ago, I was told the agttorney represents the cooperative as a whole. Over that same period of time and moreso lately, our attorney George Martelon continually represents the Board more so it’s President. The “Act” isn’t being followed there is no transparetcy – to date we have not be provided with a copy of our 2013 budget, put out by our financial adviser now known as out Financial Manager. One can only assume this change of title gives him a financil boost in his contract for their failure to disclose to the membership.
    Two months ago the “executive agenda” listed the 2013 was to be discussed. That executive session lasted three hours. The ony items disclosed after that executive session who how they voted on Motions. The members really do not know what the issues were. It appears as if our atorney is running the Cooperative, our agenda’s and Court calander; through to our President, Financial along with our office manager. It is to my understanding the attorney wrote to whom I am not certain making inquiry if the office manager had to be certified per the new law our Governor recently signed. Our Corporation should be disolved if the Board of Directers and attorney feel they are above the law and make up their rules as they go along. At present we are allowed to take our cases to the Court System if a wrong has been done us; who gives them the right to deny us our rights.

    • Dan says:

      Linda, read the article again-it states you have 60 days to challenge the action of the board after the minutes were approved and distributed. Check your bylaws as it may declare a time period when the minutes have to be distributed. Either way, if your board is waiting up to 30 days to distribute minutes you have 60 days after that distribution date to make your claim.

  4. I have a few questions, I was President of our Condo Association in Plainville for 10 years, September 10th, we had our Annual Meeting, and I was elected President again, 2nd, Tell following week a few people call another meeting and they rejected the new members. 3rd. They elected a Vice-President and they kept the same Vice-President which it’s OK They elected a new Recording Secretary and 3 new Board members. My Question is: September 17, a new meeting was call by a one of the new Board members. which he doe’st own the Condo is wife does. They elected a new Recording Secretary which last year she over 8$800.00 dollars on her Condo fee. which to us she is not a good standing person. I need your help because they are only live at our Complex lest then 4 years. P.S. Our Condos were build in 1995, and I move in in 1995. Our By-laws is suppose to only President – Vice-President – Recording Secretary and one Board members. So far this years they nominated 6 members 4 Board members is suppose to be on our Board Not 6. Con you send me the Rules and Regulars about our Condos. Send: to Gerard “Reno” Levesque 365 Woodford Ave. U-8
    Plainville Ct. 06062. We as a group need to do something fast. They are spending money from our Association like crazy PS. I was ask by 20 of our Condo owners to get some help Thanks Reno

    • J.Griswold says:

      As you were President in the past, you should have a copy of the Bylaws Rules and Regs and Declaration. Every unit owner should have a copy as well. If your Bylaws state you can have a four member Board, then thats what should be.
      Who called the meetings after the Annual Meeting of September 10th? Unit owners?
      Where is your Management Company, as they are there to help guide you, they too, should be able to give you copies of your documents

  5. Diane Peters says:

    Our board used $20,000 to get new fences. Now the Vice President has informed me that the board voted to put that money back immediately. Currently sme of our unit owners have water in their basements and in front of their units; does the board have the right to dictate how are common charge monies is spent?

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