Second Half 2017 Condo Association Horror Stories


Can you believe it?  2017 is heading to the finish line.  Holiday decorations are up, and New Year’s plans are being made.  As we look toward the end of 2017, it is important to carry out a retrospective of 2017 Condo Association horror stories for the latter half of the year.  You should always keep bad news in perspective, but it is important for Owners to make sure they know what signs of trouble they should look for.  Here are the second half of 2017 Condo Association horror stories – and what you can do to keep them from happening to you.

Five Years of Marijuana Smoke

Why can’t stoners vape?

Covered in the August 2017 News Roundup.  Original story by CBC News

No one likes a nuisance neighbor.  For non-smokers, the smell of cigarette or marijuana smoke can be the ultimate nuisance, and the smoke poses potential health threats, as well.  A young couple with a small child dealt with smoke penetration for more than five years, despite attempts for legal remedy and engagement with their Condo Association.  The issue has dragged on without resolution, creating a significantly detrimental environment.  Their experience was also further complicated as Canada, where they live, is now looking to fully legalize marijuana.

How to Make Sure It Doesn’t Happen To You

Be a pest.  Research your rules, Bylaws, and laws, and engage fully at every level.  If the Board is not inclined to help you quickly, bring friends and form an angry mob.  In this particular case, it appears that the Board was slow to make rules to help battle the issue.  Make sure you understand how your own Bylaws work.  If necessary, draft your own proposed rules for the Board to implement.  Worst case, run for the Board yourself.  

In these chronic, dragging issues, it can be easy to lose heart and give up.  The bottom line is you need to outwork your Board.  Sometimes this means battling with them.  Other times, it means helping them do their jobs correctly.  And in worst-case scenarios, it means engaging in legal action.

Foreclosure – Over a $1,200 Late Fee

Covered in the September 2017 Newsletter (Don’t get the newsletter?  Sign up here).  Original story by the Arizona Republic.

In some U.S. states, Homeowners Associations can foreclose on properties for very small sums – as little as $1,200 for some areas.  This has created issues where there are predatory communities that aggressively go after delinquent Owners.  The exact cause of this behavior – other than enabling laws and corrupt Boards – is unclear.  The impact to some Owners, however, is significant

How to Make Sure It Doesn’t Happen To You

Know the Bylaws and laws that impact Owners the most.  The worst of these communities have made the news.  Foreclosure proceedings are also typically publicly available.  Before you buy a property in a state – particularly one like Arizona – do your research.  If the community ends up in the news frequently for predatory practices – maybe this isn’t your dream home after all.  

Embezzlement – Again

Covered in the October 2017 Newsletter (Don’t get the newsletter?  Sign up here). Original story by CBS Boston.

Don’t let corrupt individuals steal YOUR money.

It wouldn’t be a horror story roundup without a story of good, old-fashioned embezzlement.  A community in Boston felt that their Management firm was doing a poor job.  When they looked to change companies, they started to discover a number of concerning red flags.  The biggest one?  $200,000 was missing.  

How to Make Sure It Doesn’t Happen To You

Remember that you need to be an informed Owner.  Apathy has its costs.  Most Boards and Management are hard-working and working on behalf of Owners.  But the best cure is to be engaged.  Make sure you are keeping involved and know that you have your eyes on your community.  


The second half of the 2017 Condo Association horror stories show that bad things can happen to Owners in a Condo Association.  The best way to prevent them is to be active and engaged in your community.  Stay involved and get to know the people who govern how you live.  Not every horror story is preventable.  But it is possible to make a difference by being involved, and you can lead a better Condo Life.  

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