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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 27663
Experience:  JA Mentor
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Several of our condominium board members have added

Customer Question

Several of our condominium board members have added lavatories to their units without receiving approval from the board as a whole. Now an owner wishes to modify the plumbing in their unit in order to install a washing machine in their kitchen, and the board is telling them that this is an unauthorized invasion of the common elements, which is prohibited without a modification to the bylaws by at least 75% of the owners. Can the board enforce the bylaws against one owner when several of the board members seem to have already violated them in a more serious manner?
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 8 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

Members of the board have an obligation to act in the best interests of the entire community. They're bound by the same rules as everyone else. If regular people who live in the community cannot hook up washing machines because it modifies the plumbing, then board members cannot install new lavatories. I can't imagine any way they were able to make these additions without also modifying the plumbing. So, of the plumbing is a common element, then the board members have violated the bylaws. And if the plumbing isn't a common element, they have no basis for denying th washing machine.

Any unit owner can file an action against the board for breach of their fiduciary obligation. The more owners that join together in protesting the board's action, the better, because then you can pool your resources to hire a lawyer if you want. Another option is to review the bylaws to see if your community has a procedure for removing board members. It may be possible to recall the rule breakers and get new board members who won't participate in selective enforcement. If the bylaws are silent, the members can recall a board member with a simple majority vote. Fl. Stat., Section 718.112. The third option is to speak with the members of the board who weren't involved to see if they are willing to take action - since they ALSO have an obligation to act in everyone's best interests, they can be compelled to get involved if there are enough non-rule-breaking members of the board to make a majority.

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