Condo, Strata and HOA News

Condominium Board Fines Resident $4500+ for Flowers

I don’t know if Kimberly Bois, of the Portsmouth’s Atlantic Pointe condominiums, New Hampshire, is the nefarious evil doer her condominium board makes her out to be. I mean, if the board doesn’t stop her green thumb, perennial planting, capers – who knows what seeds of chaos and tendrils of civil unrest she may cause to root in her neighbourhood.

Seriously though, the specific perennials that she’s planted (daisies, irises, lavender, hydrangeas and tulips) may be counter to the by-laws and she may very well have to dig them up. I indicate specific perennials, because this sales video shows numerous colourful swaths of flowers when tooling through the condominium complex. There definitely are flowers there.

What I very much object to, and I think Kimberly has a leg to stand on, is the overbearing and unreasonable process of fining that is going on. On 24 October 2011 the board started fining $25/day, and has since increased it to $50/day.

That is completely unreasonable, and a great example of a condominium board – being judge, jury and executioner – attempting to financially bludgeon an owner into cowed submission. I very much think that Ms. Bois should be legally refuting all demands from the board, and use that in front of every judge as a means to be excluded from any judgement against her.

Boards have a duty and a responsibility to act reasonable, especially given the fact they act as the sole body to enforce and punish for condominium by-law infractions. A board failing to respect the powers they have been granted (and that’s not the power to cudgel owners) needs to be rapped on the wrist, turned around, and sent on their merry way.

It’s especially important, as many boards are filled with “regular joes” who, though have the best intentions, fail to act outside of personal emotion and vendetta. There are significantly too many complaints about the mismanagement of board power. Colorado Division of Real Estate recently found:

What we discovered was that the complaints we received primarily involved the board of director’s failure to follow corporate governance rules and procedures of the HOA; the transparency of the board of directors, particularly as it related to the finances of the HOA; and harassment and bullying of homeowners by the board of directors and management company by arbitrary fining, preclusion from providing input into the associations’ affairs, and verbal harassment.

Ahh, that last point is specifically applicable to this situation. The inordinate and unreasonableness of the fine Ms. Bios has received shows it.

The board needs to get their feelings and their actions pruned.

2 responses to “Condominium Board Fines Resident $4500+ for Flowers

  1. digger 20 March, 2012 at 10:57 am

    The board’s tyrannical actions need undoing and unfortunately for the rest of the community it will likely mean more money lost to attorney’s and any settlements that may occur from any litigation. Kimberly needs an attorney that will go to bat for her and her rights. It appears from what I’ve read that the covenants are not specific to the situation; even if it were, there are requirements in place that the board must take before they administer fines, etc. If not, then they are likely going to be held to account not only by a court but by their fellow members due to their abuses of power at the expense of the community. It should fall under their fiduciary duty. If they willingly went after a member without following certain protocol a judge would likely find in the members favor and the board and community could pay a high price for the practice of ignorance with lost reserves, higher dues and or special assessments.

  2. Pablito 8 May, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    She was planting flowers and/or plants prior to the Boards existence and should be able to continue. The law states the “Board must be fair and reasonable” – not abusive. I believe a “Grandfather clause” should settle this.

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