Our condo association which consists of 64 units has been under the ruling of a management company since the beginning of 2014. Many co-owners are not satisfied with this arrangement. For the past two years our annual dues have been increased $10 per month. The co-owners receive nothing in addition to our designated accommodations – insurance on outside of building, trash pick-up, mowing and scheduled lawn care applications, and snow removal. Any concerns on the outside of our condo must be addressed directly to the management company. Some items take several months to accomplish the desired result. Can the co-owners have a meeting and sign a petition (provided there is 51%) to remove the management company and present this to the Board of Managers?
No – the unit owners do not have the right to remove the management company. Only the board of managers has this right.
Homeowner association by-laws typically contain a “powers and duties” provision which provides the board of managers with “the powers and duties necessary for the administration of the affairs of the condominium,” and permits the board of managers “to do all acts and things on behalf of the condominium except those which by law or by the declaration or by the by-laws may not be delegated to the board of managers by the unit owners.” The board of managers is typically provided with the power to the “operate, manage, care, upkeep and maintain the common elements.”
Moreover, some by-laws specifically provide that “the board of managers may employ for the condominium a managing agent at a compensation established by the board of managers, to perform such duties and services as the board of managers shall authorize, including, but not limited to, the powers and duties set forth in the provisions of these by-laws.” As such, the board of managers (and not the unit owners) have the authority to hire and fire the managing agent engaged by the board to operate, care, upkeep and maintain the common elements.
In fact, there are relatively few matters which, pursuant to the by-laws, are not delegated to the board of managers by the unit owners. Typically, a vote of the unit owners is required only to (i) amend the declaration and by-laws, (ii) remove a member of the board of managers, (iii) spend funds in excess of a specified amount for alterations, additions and improvements to the common elements, and (iv) the borrowing of money. Unless these matters are involved, all other matters are left to the discretion of the board of managers.
In effect, living in a homeowners association is like living in a mini-democracy. While the unit owners have the right to elect members to the board of managers, who will operate and manage the common elements, they have almost no say in how this will be accomplished by the board.