Ask Gail: What To Do About Unsightly Garden Statues?

Hi Gail:

I live in a complex where owners are allowed (after board agreement) to landscape common areas adjacent to our units.

I purchased my condo a year ago, in the winter.  Since I was buying a condo it never occurred to me to worry about what was outside in the common area.

There are some very unsightly garden statues (giant mushroom, bunny) that are in the common property next to my unit.  Apparently the previous owner put them there years ago.  They are made of concrete and are falling apart and mostly in pieces.

When I asked the board, via a work order, to remove them I was told that I had inherited them because the prior owner put them there and I have to remove them myself.  That does not sound right to me.  Why should I be responsible for something in a common area?

 I suggest reading your governing documents to determine if unit owners are permitted to place anything in the common area . It seems unusual since the common area has to be maintained by the association.

 A.  If the documents stipulate that nothing can be placed in the common area, then you may have the right to have the association remove these garden statues.

 B.  If the documents stipulate that unit owners are permitted to place these ornamental statutes in the common area but require board approval prior to doing so, then I would request the association to produce the documents that provided the prior unit owner with approval.

 1.  If it is produced, then you may be responsible for removing them

2.  If the association cannot produce a document granting approval, then attempt again to have these removed by the association.

 The key would be language in your rules & regulations and your declaration.

 Let me know how you make out, Thanking you for being part of CCOC. Gail

Atty. George Coppolo of Hartford, a member of the CCOC advisory committee, had the following additional thought:

If it turns out that the unit owner is not responsible for moving the items in question that does not meant the association has to honor her request to move them. If the unit owner is not required to move them, the association may conclude that it is not willing to move them either. The unit owner would then be in the position of trying to get sufficient support to make the association act.


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