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pcford
08-04-2016, 08:22 PM
We are having a heck of a time with our condo board...they want to do a million dollar repair on the building...this would be 50k per owner...In formal opinions by a contractor and another inspection company say that the recommended course is excessive. The significant people on the board are old and not technically inclined at all (two women, one 77, one 86) We want to explore a second opinion/inspection, but the board will not schedule a meeting. They have been upsold totally...Any of you have any dealing along these lines? We are in Washington State.

There are lots of details...I have been working on this practically non-stop for almost 6 weeks.

Anyways, I am going to a video related meeting...back later tonight.

paulf
08-04-2016, 09:08 PM
Didn't Martin Mull do a song about that?

S/V Laura Ellen
08-04-2016, 09:17 PM
What does the Condo association by-laws say about the approval process for this type of expenditures?

Dave Wright
08-04-2016, 09:32 PM
How many owners make up your condo association? Is a vote required with a particular majority required for any exceptional assesments? We own a condo moorage slip. All assessments and quartely fee increases are subject to majority vote approval. If this is not the case for you, can you convince a majority of owners to accept your point of view and petition to overide the board?

We have been very successful in this sort of activity. In one case we successfully convinced a HOA community to build a 50,000 gallon reservoir to upgrade a private water supply system. This required additional assessments from all members - a more difficult task. It takes time and effort and personal interaction to build a case that appeals to majority common interests. The only potential downside is that an existing board may resign and you wind as one of the new officers, and donating a lot of your spare time.

Phil Y
08-04-2016, 09:34 PM
Ageist and sexist all in one post. Nice work.

Dave Wright
08-04-2016, 11:25 PM
Ageist and sexist all in one post. Nice work.

Sounds like you might be bringing up old baggage, maybe not at all relevant to the subject at hand, unless there is some old grudge. But how would anyone know, and would it be important????

paulf
08-04-2016, 11:31 PM
I once looked into a "condo" The rules and loss of say was enough for me to "NEVER" get into a place like that. I'd Rather an air stream up in the mountains with an outhouse.

Sky Blue
08-04-2016, 11:36 PM
The Bylaws of the Association undoubtedly describe the process by which a meeting may be noticed and held on the request of an owner (or a number of them). If the Board is not response to those rules, then you may need the assistance of counsel, who might write a letter to the Board insisting that they comply with procedure. Some idea of the number of other dissenting owners may be useful in considering the strength of your hand in electing this route.

What is the time phase-in for the payment of the 50K? I imagine the Association's Bylaws may have something to say about that, as well. Undoubtedly there is an owner or two that doesn't just have that kind of dough ready at hand. What is the plan for them?

Kevin T
08-04-2016, 11:47 PM
Best bet, sell and get out now!

pcford
08-04-2016, 11:52 PM
The Bylaws of the Association undoubtedly describe the process by which a meeting may be noticed and held on the request of an owner (or a number of them). If the Board is not response to those rules, then you may need the assistance of counsel, who might write a letter to the Board insisting that they comply with procedure. Some idea of the number of other dissenting owners may be useful in considering the strength of your hand in electing this route.

What is the time phase-in for the payment of the 50K? I imagine the Association's Bylaws may have something to say about that, as well. Undoubtedly there is an owner or two that doesn't just have that kind of dough ready at hand. What is the plan for them?

Thanks all of you. (well, not the guy that accused me of being a sexist...I wish I could send her your way...) I appreciate your time. The 50k has to be paid up front. Our unit is paid off...largely through the hard work of my gf over the years. Some of the owners may have 50k sitting in the bank...Some definitely don't and might lose homes; at least a couple people have been subject to a round of layoffs at Boeing. The board...in particular the board president is refusing to have meeting likely waiting for the project to be a fait accompli. The by-laws and declaration give the board the sole ability to conduct business for the building. The condo building is an old one...built in '84. At that time the boards just contracted landscapers painters etc. New condo by-laws in this state require agreement of the owners for a project above X price. Anyways...thanks again...this is the worst project ever. We may have to vote the board off.

pcford
08-04-2016, 11:54 PM
Best bet, sell and get out now!

Actually not a good choice...the selling price will have to reflect the contemplated repair cost. A couple people had to do that.

Oh, and do you know what the Seattle housing market is like now?

Kevin T
08-05-2016, 01:16 AM
Actually not a good choice...the selling price will have to reflect the contemplated repair cost. A couple people had to do that. Oh, and do you know what the Seattle housing market is like now?

We were actually thinking of moving there into the Queen Anne neighborhood a few years back. The housing prices were strong in 2011/2012 but then we started to get nervous with respect to the rain and "cooler" weather.

I sympathize with your problem, homeownership by committee is never easy, and that is what condo ownership invariably is, regrettably.

My sister-in-law got whacked with a 35k assessment for roof and siding issues despite zero problems with her unit's siding and a bone dry, non-leaking roof. But as she was part of the association, everybody paid. :-(

pcford
08-05-2016, 01:37 AM
We were actually thinking of moving there into the Queen Anne neighborhood a few years back. The housing prices were strong in 2011/2012 but then we started to get nervous with respect to the rain and "cooler" weather.

I sympathize with your problem, homeownership by committee is never easy, and that is what condo ownership invariably is, regrettably.

My sister-in-law got whacked with a 35k assessment for roof and siding issues despite zero problems with her unit's siding and a bone dry, non-leaking roof. But as she was part of the association, everybody paid. :-(

Yes that is exactly what is happening to us. It's a racket. The siding on the south side definitely needs attention...the board let it go two or three years too long, and there are planks that definitely need to be replaced. The condo lawyer after looking at the inspection report said...you can have a Lexus and take it in to the dealer to get it serviced. Or you can have a Toyota and have it serviced at a neighborhood garage...neither is the "right" way of doing things. When I had a contractor over and told him that we were told that the siding was said have to be removed and replaced, he just laughed.

In regard to the weather...yes some people don't like it...I like it just fine. Can not think of anywhere else I would live.

Phil Y
08-05-2016, 01:54 AM
Sounds like you might be bringing up old baggage, maybe not at all relevant to the subject at hand, unless there is some old grudge. But how would anyone know, and would it be important????
Not really, but if you were old and/or female (I'm neither) you'd quite possibly find the post with its inherent implications offensive. Too often I think everyone just lets that sort of comment, be it homophobic, racist, sexist or whatever pass because it doesn't affect them.

pcford
08-05-2016, 02:24 AM
Not really, but if you were old and/or female (I'm neither) you'd quite possibly find the post with its inherent implications offensive. Too often I think everyone just lets that sort of comment, be it homophobic, racist, sexist or whatever pass because it doesn't affect them.

oh boy, somebody's shorts seems to be binding him.

Phil Y
08-05-2016, 05:34 AM
Nah, all good down there thanks for asking. But seriously, these board members, are they stupid because they are women, or because they are old? Would things be better in your condo if all the board members were white middle aged men?

McMike
08-05-2016, 06:09 AM
Ageist and sexist all in one post. Nice work.

I was just thinking that. ;)

Too Little Time
08-05-2016, 09:32 AM
Any of you have any dealing along these lines?
Don't buy into a condo. Don't buy into any deal where you cannot afford to lose all of your investment. Read the paperwork before signing.

You should have some rights. If some of your co-owners have interests that align with yours, find a lawyer. The sooner the better.

Kevin T
08-05-2016, 09:37 AM
That's interesting, I didn't read the age and sex of the board members as either a sexist nor an ageist reaction but rather as a pragmatic issue, and by that I mean pragmatic on the part of the two ladies.

If you've got two people who are in their late 70's and early 80's they likely don't feel a lot of urgency to diminish their estates by shelling out 50k, especially if they're not being directly affected, or did I miss something.

We have a similar situation at our place in FL. County mandated a phase out of septic systems in favor of county wide sewers approximately 17 years ago. Hook up costs for individual homeowners while not ridiculous were going to have an impact on those of limited or fixed income means. ( there were and are long term financing arrangements in place that would be spread into one's annual property tax bill if you didn't wish to pay it off in one go).

Older residents got together, each donating money for a lawyer, fought back, delayed the project for more than twelve years and now it is going through. Most of the original opposition have all died off, we still have to go the sewer route due to leaking septic tanks and environmental issues and the attendant hook up fees and individual infrastructure costs have more than tripled in the delaying 12 years.

What does the opposition care, they're all dead. Maybe these board ladies feel the same way.

switters
08-05-2016, 09:43 AM
A condo makes sense to some people, right place right time right price sort of thing. It is a compromise and there are certainly some things I miss about having my own half acre and two car garage, but no regrets so far, I have work arounds.

I have been in mine for 5 years now after realizing my version of the american dream was not mowing the lawn, raking leaves, etc every weekend. And a few other factors.

Let us know how it works out, so far we have had the roofs replaced and building painted, parking lots sealed every 3 years. They seem to be on a kind of schedule for those things and have paced their spending accordingly, so far.

Dave Wright
08-05-2016, 10:35 AM
Not really, but if you were old and/or female (I'm neither) you'd quite possibly find the post with its inherent implications offensive. Too often I think everyone just lets that sort of comment, be it homophobic, racist, sexist or whatever pass because it doesn't affect them.

We might hope that age, education, and experience would provide one with a reasonable and accurate way to assess common situations. Seems to me the salient issue of the OP's situation is a possibly expensive and inappropriate repair / remodel.

Let's look at the ancillary words that you don't like:

"Women:" You jump to the conclusion that the OP is sexist. Think again. My wife has a masters degree but every time we go to buy a car, hire a craftsman, or get involved in any technical transaction the individuals involved look at me and address me. My wife often says, "Talk to me, look at me, tell me the details, this work is just as much mine as his and I'm equally involved." I'ved had the same experience in helping female friends and relatives in similar situations.

The point is that tradesmen often treat women customers differently than men, and it's not uncommon for women to be charged more. Why suggest that the OP is sexist? He has more knowledge of the situation at hand than you, and may be correctly gauging that the female board members are being overcharged by the societal sexism that you are accusing him of holding.

"Not technically inclined:"Those words speak for themselves. The OP can assess this more accurately than you from 7000 miles distance. Couple this with "women," add in a possibly not completely ethical tradesman, and you might worry about overcharging.

"Old:" Again, you're yelling from 7000 miles away, and calling the OP ageist. Again, I'd say it's a safe bet that he has a more accurate view of the situation, and indeed these folks might not be mentally sharp enough to handle this specific task well.

You also tell us that you are neither old nor a woman, yet you are claiming special insight into both states.

So, from my point of view, you interupted a conversation with accusations that were not well founded, and distracted from a train of thought with your personal views which are very likely incorrect for this specific situation.

Perhaps I'm wrong, and perhaps I'm a fool for writing this, but from my point of view, every now and then pseudo politically correct pap has to be addressed when it is inappropriate.

pipefitter
08-05-2016, 11:19 AM
Socialism, is not cheap. You would think that there was a fund for this sort of thing that all owners contributed to over time, or a mandatory insurance say, an Affordable Condo Care act that everyone happily paid into.

pcford
08-05-2016, 11:21 AM
Ok, maybe I should not have posted this problem in the Bilge, but frankly I was desperate. I received pretty much what I should have expected.

Here are more details; this might be useful for someone contemplating buying a condo.
Condo board meetings are deadly boring affairs. Like school board meetings, they are tedious but important work goes on there. Typically volunteers for the board have an amount of time to spend on condo business. For many years our board has been headed by a woman who runs the meetings in a dictatorial fashion. She does not have many...if any...friends in the building. Discussions usually go like this...board chair: "No, I don't want to do that I don't have the money." No further discussion allowed...Roberts Rules is not used. Supposedly the chair recently inherited a large pile of money. That's the rumor; she recently bought a new car. When presented with needed repairs on the building, she chose the most expensive route: a complete stripping and residing of the building. (There is no leakage anywhere.) When asked if a second opinion should be sought, she answered, "No! We have the best advice possible." Experts in the field say that the company is not the best but they are charging out like they were.

Here is the moral to the story. If fault would be levied, it would not be to the team saying the building needs a complete reclad. After all, they are just trying to sell as much of their services as possible. Also, the fault may not be with the board. They have little or no knowledge of the trades. The fault is with the owners. And I certainly count myself worthy of that blame. One just wants the gardeners, painters, whatever, to be hired at a more or less fair price. The board, or more precisely, the board president ramrodded a million dollar deal that was largely negotiated in private without participation of the owners. It could be likened to someone buying a luxury car in secret and sticking you with the bill. The building certainly needs work, but most of the owners feel unconvinced that the building needs what has been recommended.

Finally, if you are contemplating a condominium purchase, it is vital to note that the running of the building will require your careful attention. One cannot let decisions be made by others simply because meetings are long and tedious.

Thanks to those that offered sincere help.

pcford
08-05-2016, 11:49 AM
... and indeed these folks might not be mentally sharp enough to handle this specific task well....



Well yes there is that.
Those that know the chair well say that recently she does not seem to have her full capabilities.

Phil Y
08-05-2016, 05:48 PM
So I raised the point. I really don't feel that I was either shouting or interrupting, or that I have a special insight, but hey whatever. To make a more positive contribution, I'd note that pcford having spent the last 6 weeks almost full time on this, and being concerned about being up for $50,000 of unnecessary expenditure, might do well to step back just momentarily. If you have become focussed on the notion that these old biddies just don't have the nouse to handle the situation, and are only on the board because no one else could be bothered, don't fall into the trap of attacking them head on. Play the issue, not the man. Or woman. Surely in the rules there is provision for the members to call a special or extraordinary meeting? Or some external laws about condo associations which override the rules if there is no such internal mechanism? Invest a bit of money in some good legal advice about what process is available to you to challenge this expenditure. And another approach is to get onside with these board members. Become their trusted adviser, save them from making what might turn out to be the silliest mistake of their lives. And appreciate the time they've spent taking on this boring mundane and thankless task.

pcford
08-06-2016, 11:52 AM
So I raised the point. I really don't feel that I was either shouting or interrupting, or that I have a special insight, but hey whatever. To make a more positive contribution, I'd note that pcford having spent the last 6 weeks almost full time on this, and being concerned about being up for $50,000 of unnecessary expenditure, might do well to step back just momentarily. If you have become focussed on the notion that these old biddies just don't have the nouse to handle the situation, and are only on the board because no one else could be bothered, don't fall into the trap of attacking them head on. Play the issue, not the man. Or woman. Surely in the rules there is provision for the members to call a special or extraordinary meeting? Or some external laws about condo associations which override the rules if there is no such internal mechanism? Invest a bit of money in some good legal advice about what process is available to you to challenge this expenditure. And another approach is to get onside with these board members. Become their trusted adviser, save them from making what might turn out to be the silliest mistake of their lives. And appreciate the time they've spent taking on this boring mundane and thankless task.

First the guy implies that I am ageist and sexist, if not a racist and homophobe...then he advises the most basic strategies...things that I have done weeks if not months ago.

Oh, well, not much to do in Tasmania, one supposes. This is the Bilge, and yes, what did I expect? But again, thanks to those that offered sincere help. I appreciate it. This is really tough stuff.

Osborne Russell
08-06-2016, 12:14 PM
PC, don't get all Trump about it. If there were slights, let them slide, and be glad someone took the time to give good advice. How could he know if you already taken it, and more importantly, what's the diff?

I should know better than to get between.

pcford
08-06-2016, 12:26 PM
PC, don't get all Trump about it. If there were slights, let them slide, and be glad someone took the time to give good advice. How could he know if you already taken it, and more importantly, what's the diff?

I should know better than to get between.

Believe me, I was troubled by his statements no longer than it took to write a reply. There are bigger fish to fry.
And this is the Bilge, after all.

oznabrag
08-06-2016, 12:40 PM
Yes that is exactly what is happening to us. It's a racket. . .

Something tells me that somebody ain' playin' it straight.

According to what you have revealed in this thread, there are ~20 owners.

That is a pretty small group. The two board members you describe as 'old women', therefore make up 10% of the vote.

You have said that there are more than a few owners who are in unstable financial condition due to layoffs at Boeing.

Add in their refusal to even hold a meeting, and all of a sudden it smells like a hostile takeover.

If the 'old women' (or their Trump-Wannabe nieces/nephews/grandchildren) have the means to buy out those who can not afford to stay in, they can become 50% owners real quick.

Then they do a minimal repair to the exterior, buff out the flaws in the newly-acquired units, and rent them out while they wait for the rest of you to fold.

pcford
08-06-2016, 12:49 PM
Something tells me that somebody ain' playin' it straight.

According to what you have revealed in this thread, there are ~20 owners.

That is a pretty small group. The two board members you describe as 'old women', therefore make up 10% of the vote.

You have said that there are more than a few owners who are in unstable financial condition due to layoffs at Boeing.

Add in their refusal to even hold a meeting, and all of a sudden it smells like a hostile takeover.

If the 'old women' (or their Trump-Wannabe nieces/nephews/grandchildren) have the means to buy out those who can not afford to stay in, they can become 50% owners real quick.

Then they do a minimal repair to the exterior, buff out the flaws in the newly-acquired units, and rent them out while they wait for the rest of you to fold.

Yes, that idea has been proffered, but I don't think it is correct. More likely arrogance, incompetence and defensiveness.

But in Seattle's white hot real estate market, it does naturally spring to mind.

oznabrag
08-06-2016, 12:52 PM
Yes, that idea has been proffered, but I don't think it is correct. More likely arrogance, incompetence and defensiveness.

But in Seattle's white hot real estate market, it does naturally spring to mind.

I might agree with you except for the non-negotiable $50K ante.

That looks like strong-arm tactics from here.

David G
08-06-2016, 03:38 PM
https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-0/s480x480/13900207_855951614504983_7691254763246114331_n.jpg ?oh=bc9302b06d5f6ff10a8743ec0906537b&oe=582A45BB

Wait... is this the right thread???? <G>

pcford
08-06-2016, 05:27 PM
no comment, David.

Phil Y
08-06-2016, 05:34 PM
Whatever, hope you get it sorted.