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Legalease
Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 16288
Experience:  13 years experience in RE Law, including LL/Tenant, contractor disputes, comm'l prop. issues
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I am a community manager in DC. If you fined someone based

Customer Question

I am a community manager in DC. If you fined someone based on current rules. You find out after the hearing that you sent him the old rules before the hearing. One of the rules you fined him for is listed on the old rules with a fine that's more than the current rules. Can you go back and fine him based on the rules you gave him?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  J. Warren replied 9 months ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note:This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

A fine would need to be based on the current rules in place at the time the infraction occurred. If the older fine penalty is greater then the current penalty amount, the current penalty amount is the appropriate fine.

All my best and encouragement. Thank you for allowing me to help you with your questions. I have done my best to provide information which fully addresses your question. If you have any follow up questions, please ask! If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service as OK, Good or Excellent (3 stars or more). I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating!

Please be aware that the information provided here is not legal advice. Rather it is simply general information. All states have intricacies in their laws and any information given is simply information only and specifically is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, legal advice. This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship with you.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
But does sending him rules that would be the rules that the resident was aware of nullify the the fines you determined against him based on the current rules then?
Expert:  J. Warren replied 9 months ago.

Let me make sure I understand your correctly. You fined the resident more then what the current rules allow based on the fact you sent him a copy of the old rules with a higher penalty fee? And the infraction that gave rise to the penalty occurred during the time the current rules were in affect?

Expert:  Legalease replied 9 months ago.

Hello again --

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I believe I just asked you some questions on this matter based upon another question you posted. My question still remains the same -- were all residents mailed copies of every rule change and amendment when those rule changes and amendments happened?

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Also, do the rules and regulations of the association require that when a tenant is informed of an infraction and a fine, that they be sent a copy of the current rule that they broke ? Is there anything in writing in those rules and regulations requiring your management company to send a copy of each rule broken at the time they are broken?

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My answer depends upon your answers to the above questions. If the written charter documents or other written rules and regulations require that you either (a) send a copy of the rule broken to the tenant together with the notice and fine, and/or (b) you send copies of amendments and changes to the rules to every tenant whenever those rules are amended or changed and you did not send those out to every tenant (including this tenant) before issuing a fine based upon changed rules, then the tenant has a valid argument for at least a second hearing on the matter. However, if the tenant has been sent all amendments to the rules and regulations when they happened and the rules do NOT require that you send a copy of the rule broken to every tenant every time you send notice of an infraction and a fine, then your management company is on firm ground to tell him that he had notice of the changed rules when they occurred and the only reason you sent the rules to him with the infraction notice was as a courtesy.

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Finally, unless there is a provision for mediation in the rules for tenants, then the association does not have to participate and the tenants only recourse against a valid fine would be to file a civil lawsuit regarding the matters.

I hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. If not, can you please press a positive rating above this box to pay me for my time. I am paid nothing unless you press the middle star or the fourth or fifth star on the right of the ratings section. Pressing a positive rating will not cost you any additional money -- it simply acts as the trigger to Just Answer to pay me for my time assisting you today. THANK YOU VERY MUCH

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MARY

MARY

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
there is nothing that says I have to send anyone the rules when they violate them although they usually ask for them. So if I didn't provide the most updated rules but the Board made their decision based on the most updated rules, can you still fine the person based on what you sent him?
Expert:  Legalease replied 9 months ago.

Hello again --

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Is every owner sent updates of all rule changes and amendments when they happen and can the management company prove that these rule changes and amendments have been sent out to each owner when they happen?

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MARY

Expert:  Legalease replied 9 months ago.

Hello -

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I think we may be getting lines crossed on the two questions. Do you want to simply finish this up here and we can close the other question since the prior expert opted out ??

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MARY

Expert:  Legalease replied 9 months ago.

Hello again --

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This is from my other answer to your additional question posted........

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If the owners are sent updates of the rules with any amendments or changes and you can show that this was done, then this owner, no matter who he is, is not entitled to an additional hearing on the matter. If he was sent the updates then he is legally notified of those updates.

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I make an exception to this ONLY if the rules of the condo association require in their written textthat when an infraction notice and fine is levied against an owner and sent to the owner for payment, that you are required to enclose a copy of the rule that was broken with the infraction and fine notice. If there is nothing in writing in your rules for this and you enclosed the rules simply as a courtesy, then he is not entitled to a break on this point at all.

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You see, private owners are permitted to come together and form or join an already formed association and the law permits these people to make and enforce rules for their own everyday governance (the condo law only speaks to setting up these types of organizations and voting rights of a board when there are no specific voting rights listed in the charter documents or bylaws of any particular condo association (it then defaults to state voting rights laws for condo associations)). Anything other than that, the owners are free to organize a board and they are required to follow the rules and regulations of that board. So your ultimate question is -- is every owner notified of all rule changed and amendments as they happen by the board AND if so, are you required to enclose a copy of the rule in any infraction notice to an owner. If this owner received updates then he has been put on what is called legal "notice" by the board of the current rules and he has no right to try to rely on a mistake made by an employee of the management company if the rules do NOT require that the text of the entire rule be sent to every owner who receives an infraction notice and fine.

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Please let me know if you need clarification on this.

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I hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. If not, can you please press a positive rating above this box to pay me for my time. I am paid nothing unless you press the middle star or the fourth or fifth star on the right of the ratings section. Pressing a positive rating will not cost you any additional money -- it simply acts as the trigger to Just Answer to pay me for my time assisting you today. THANK YOU VERY MUCH

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MARY

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