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Irwin Law
Irwin Law, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 6851
Experience:  Lawyer- Broker 30+years - foreclosure, short sale, liens, title attorney.
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I was doing some research on my rights online and ran

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Hello. I was doing some research on my rights online and ran across this website. I'm not sure what to expect but here it goes...
I live and own my condo. It's a 4 story condo building with 3 units on each floor. The problem is with the building manager. Since we (me and my husband) has moved in, we have noticed an increase in abuse of power. When my husband addressed these concerns while quoting the condo assoc docs, the building manager (we'll name him W) has threathened to take our storage unit away. We do not have condo meetings, there are no financial documents, or anything. We can call him or email him. But right now, his focus is building 2 $1K penthouses ontop our building (5th floor/roof?). The construction crew he hires parade in and out our building without tee/jackets that clearly identify them (I ask who they are... we have had theft of postal packages). W rarely gives notice of building activities. He also has not addressed the water damage/paint warping in the common area (4th floor hallway) despite our many emailed complaints with photographs. W employs his 20-something sons to vaccumn and do minor activities like taking out the garbage. Everyday for the last 5 months, we have had loud construction (m-sat from 8am - whenever). I am recovering from having breast cancer. I spent a lot of my time resting at home but lately home has been a place of stress. I feel so helpless and now sure what rights I have. If I need to clarify anything, please ask... I know that there's a lot of info here.
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 7 months ago.
Dear Customer,I am very sorry to learn of this situation.Unfortunately dealing with abusive or negligent property managers is a difficult issue for property owners in common interest developments (such as condos and HOAs).The problem is that the manager works for the Association, not the owners. So while the manager is indirectly responsible to the owners, the owners lack any direct control or input into the daily activities of the manager.Similarly, the obligations to produce financial documents, etc. are not the obligations of the manager, they are the obligation of the HOA (the HOA Board is the one responsible for this).So your concerns and complaints should be addressed not to the manager, but to the Board.The Board should be responsive to your requests for documents (you have a statutory right to documents (Penn. HOA Code 3316 http://www.ncsl.org/documents/environ/PAcondo.pdf).The Board is the one that is responsible for oversight and control of the HOA's employees (both the manager, and those he employs (his son, his contractors, etc.): (Sec 3302)The Construction that is occurring should not be due to the Manager's decision, major construction and renovation which changes the nature of the units should only have occurred due to a majority (in many cases supermajority) vote of the members (this will fundamentally change the HOA's structure (physical and voting/governing) and the Board cannot unilaterally do this by a board vote, it requires a membership vote). (See voting rules and rules re: amendments throughout the Code sections).Given the scope and nature of what is occurring, you may need to retain a local attorney.If the board has abdicated its duties, you may want to consider attempting to recall board members, and install new board members willing to do their job.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I'm partially satisfied with the answer... I think I have omitted key information that may or may not change your views. W, the building manager is also on the condo board (he has said many times that he would never step down). There are 3 people on the condo board: my husband and one other neighbor, A, (is threatening step down - he has an accounting background and said that he would look at the condo financials but has not done so) and W. My husband has sent emails to the other condo owners and A (the other condo board member) and their response has been... "you do all the work, we somewhat support you but we don't want to do the work bc we have no time". I understand completely that my complaints regarding W and building upkeep is a matter of priorities. It's frustrating bc the other condo owners/their tenants do not seem to want to get involved. Am I powerless in this situation? I'm starting to think that they one way to rid this stress would be to move out. Am I right?I also do not know if W answers to a boss (he claims that he's the majority holder of the condo board... the other 2 positions are a courtesy). He has installed a fancy elevator car garage in our building for the penthouses. However, he never had a meeting to discuss construction of the garage. He just did it without any heads up. Who's going to to pay for the car elevator garage upkeep/insurance/etc? It does not seem fair that W installed a garage without approval from the Board. This is just one example of the abuse.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
When my husband and I moved into this condo in 2008, we were told that W had plans to build penthouses on the roof. Adam, cited that the construction of the PH were past their due date according to the condo docs. At the one condo meeting the building has had, Woody argued (yelled and used curse words) and everyone seems to think it'll raise the value of our building. Ok... I'm not convinced but ok, I'll go along. However, there is no mention of the construction of the garage unit in the condo docs, nor was there a motion or a vote. (There is increased construction in our neighborhood... $600-800K houses with either 1 or 2 car garages. Originally, the PH on roof were only going to be PH for $1million dollars. However, in order to remain competitive in this housing market, W had to build a car elevator garage and so he did without any discussion/vote/financial breakdown/etc.
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 7 months ago.
Dear Customer,I am going to "opt out" and allow another expert to follow up with you.Please do not post any further at this time as it will delay the next expert's ability to follow up.If you need any assistance in the meantime, please contact our customer service at: http://ww2.justanswer.com/helpThank you for using our forum, and I do wish you the best of luck.Bill
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 7 months ago.
Good morning. Another expert here and I would be happy to take over from Bill on this question. Do you wish to continue? This is a complex situation, and I find that telephone consultations work much better than this question and answer format. If you would be interested in that, please reply and I will see if I can set it up. Please note, do not send me your personal contact information in a regular reply.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Well, this week is somewhat hectic... I have my father and my father in law's bday. I would be happy to talk to you on Monday, however I do have some concerns. Will a phone conversation run my charges up? Bc I don't want to have a lengthy and costly conversation with little solution/recommendation/compromise. Can you maybe explain how this would work?
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 7 months ago.
I would offer what we call our "Premium Service" which is simply personal contact by phone. The additional charge would be $59 over and above what you have already offered to pay for the answer. I cannot guarantee you a magical solution, or a compromise, but a recommendation is a certainty. In order to do that intelligently I need a more thorough understanding of the situation that you are in, which is best done via direct conversation. I'm particularly curious about the financial details of the penthouse construction.

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