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Dear PoPville – Condo Association Help

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr. T in DC

Dear PoPville,

I live in a small boutique condo. It is a 1904 building converted into 9 units. We are a new condo association and working through our growing pains. Our condo docs from the developer were very generic and set up for a larger commercial operation. Our board and owners are going through a revamp of the by-laws and condo documentation to correct all of the things that don’t work for us. There are some simple changes like changing “only white” window coverings to be used to “white or neutral tones”. There are other things much more serious like the “rental” rules. Currently there are no rental restrictions and if we are to keep our FHA approval for the building that must change to limit the number of rentals allowed at any one time. I know many of your readers must have gone through this at one time and I wanted to ask for suggestions. We would like to do this only once and want to get it right.

1. Is there anything in YOUR condo docs / rules that you wish were changed either to allow or restrict something? (we currently don’t have any language about noise after a certain time but I think we should, in my last place any audible electronic noise or voices was restricted to 10pm during the week and 11pm on weekends)

2. If you have gone through this before what were some important things you added or adjusted that we might be missing?

3. Any suggestions you want to make from personal experience are welcome!

4. If you can suggest a good Attorney with Condo Document experience it is also welcome.

5. How do you handle the politics? EVERY owner HATES restrictions when they apply to them but LOVES them when they apply to other owners; one example, owners who rent hate paying a higher condo fee for doing so, but owners who live there hate having a moving van blocking the drive way 2 – 4 times a year when renters move in and out, and the growing pains of renters having parties and owners living here having to call the rental owners to get them to talk to their renters about the rules and regulations etc. How do you get people to see that the by-laws are mean to be “what’s best for everybody” not just what’s best for your personal enjoyment. There has to be a middle ground, how do you get people to meet there?

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