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Richard
Richard, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 53966
Experience:  32 years of experience as lawyer in Texas. I'm also a Real Estate developer.
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I live in a condo and believe I am being harrassed by the

Customer Question

Good morning. I live in a condo and believe I am being harrassed by the board. I am being threatened with a $100 fine which will go on continuously unless I remove a beware of dog sign which has been outside my door for 3 years. Another owner who is an attorney had the same sign but removed his recently when his dog passed. The board is now coming after me with "guns blazing." While they are afraid of the attorney, they are not afraid of me. I have expressed a desire to resolve this issue by allowing the board to provide a sign it deems acceptable. I was given verbal assurance by members of the board that a sign would be provided to me. This was in mid-May and I have sent two written emails of my desire to resolve this issue. Despite their assurance that they would provide a sign they like, all I have so far this 30th day of June, is a threatening letter calling for immediate removal of my sign. As an aside, there are many, many violations to the rules that seem to go unnoticed by the board leading me to believe I am clearly being singled out and harrassed. I would like advice on what direction I should take. If I do get a fine, will Small Claims court be the place to have my case and the fine retracted? I appreciate any help and advice you can give me. Thank you. Violet Pace
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Richard replied 5 months ago.

Hi! My name is ***** ***** I will be helping you today! It will take me just a few minutes to type a response to your question. Thanks for your patience!

Expert:  Richard replied 5 months ago.

I would absolutely take the board on. The board members don't get to base their actions on whether or not they like certain owners; nor do they get to selectively favor certain owners over other owners. The board members serve at the pleasure of the owners and have a fiduciary duty to all owners. Furthermore, while an HOA has the general right to enforce the restrictions in the CC&R's, there are two circumstances where this right is lost...i) where the restrictions have been ignored in the past, and/or ii) where the restrictions have been selectively enforced. If, in spite of the restrictions in the CC&R's, if there are other instances where the situation exists that should fall within the restriction, then one of the foregoing must have occurred, and thus the HOA cannot then legally enforce the restriction against you. To get this resolved and to prevent the imposition of additional fines piling up, I would pay the fine and then file suit in small claims court to recover the money.

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Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thank you for your reply. Can the board send continuous fines for non-compliance of the same issue as they threaten or just a one time fine?
Expert:  Richard replied 5 months ago.

You're very welcome. The board can continue to impose fines. So, the best way to keep from having this escalate with fines piling up is to pay the fine and then remove the sign for now while you file your suit. Once you prevail in your suit, then put the sign back out.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thank you for your advice. I am feeling a little more empowered regarding my rights around here. I will gladly give you a favorable review when I discover that your advice was spot on. Thank you again and I will let you know the outcome. Violet Pace
Expert:  Richard replied 5 months ago.

You're very welcome Violet. It's been my honor and privilege to help you with this. If I can help you in any way in the future, I'll be happy to help. For easy access, my bookmark is: www.justanswer.com/law/expert-legalbeacon/ . Or, simply request “Richard only” in the first line of your question.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Hi Richard, I am wondering if the CC&R's you speak of are applicable in the state of New York. Also, in the state of New York I believe it is my legal right to inform people that I have animals in my home. Hence, the beware of dog sign that the board has a problem with. What part of the CC|&R can I find the part where it says that if something has been okay for a period of time, it can't be arbitrarily retracted. Thank you for your reply. I look forward to giving you a great review but I need more detail on this problem. I want to be specific when I deal with this board.
Expert:  Richard replied 5 months ago.

Good morning. CC&R's are enforceable in New York; it just depends what your particular CC&R's provide. This would be under signage. Usually with regard to signage, there are restrictions as to placement, but not entirely prohibited. It would depend upon the specific language. But, again, no matter what they say, if they have waived them in the past and/or there are other owners that are being allowed to do these things, the board cannot then enforce them against you.