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I purchased a condo a year ago knowing of the assessment…

Customer Question
I purchased a condo...

I purchased a condo a year ago knowing of the assessment that is now beginning to reclad the buildings. Now they say that they have designed a new landscape of which includes a path in front of condo where there was just a nice courtyard before and the reason I chose this unit. Can they do that?

Lawyer's Assistant: Where is the property located?

Seattle wa

Lawyer's Assistant: Has any paperwork been filed?

They showed the plans at a meeting for the new landscape, don't know if filed

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

A tenant wrote a nice letter appealing the changes but management is not interested and it was mentioned that they decided on the changes themselves. Although the condo manager said it was discussed in meetings that I could find no reference to.

Submitted: 8 months ago.Category: Real Estate Law
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Answered in 1 minute by:
9/22/2017
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 8 months ago
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 11,251
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
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Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 8 months ago

Thank you very much for your patience. Generally, if the HOA is going to be making changes, they have to have some authority to do so through the bylaws. Thus, the answer is yes, they can do that, so long as it was consistent with the bylaws. If they did not do that, then they would be engaging in a breach of contract for acting outside the duties of their bylaws.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
I have read through the bylaws twice and it isn't clear. Looks like they may need a vote to make such a big change but I am not sure. This is where I need help.
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 8 months ago

I see what you mean. If it is not clear that they have the authority to do so, then this this appears to be a classic breach of contract. A breach of contract just simply means that one party was obligated to perform and they have either have not performed or have said that they will not perform. Typically, the aggrieved party is entitled to be returned to the same position they were in before the breach. So, this means that the owners could potentially be reimbursed for all of the changes that they made or they can get an injunction (a court order) stopping whatever they plan on doing. There’s a site that I’ve used in the past where you can find a good template for advising of a breach of contract (click here). It's a bit easier (and cheaper) than going through litigation and I have seen it be effective in the past. If this doesn’t work, sadly, the only other option is to either go through an informal mediation or file a lawsuit in your local court. Before you do that though, I'd probably recommend that you have a revote on the matter if their authority is not clear to either update the bylaws or give everyone of the owners a chance to voice their opinion. What other questions did you have for me?

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Can you review the bylaws?
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 8 months ago

Sure, if you'd like to upload the relevant section, I can take a look and give you my thoughts.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
http://www.7001condos.com/editor_upload/File/7001%20-%20Exhibit%201%20-%20Declarations.pdf
The bylaws don't mention common area but more info in the declaration. There is a couple of mentions but not sure which ones apply
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 8 months ago

Ok, based on what I can see, so long as this is a common area, Article 10 subsection (f) and subsection (g) give the Board authority to make structural alternations to the common areas. Thus, so long as it is in the common area, then they have the right to do so.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
you think they have the right to add a path where they want without owner input or votes? This will affect the privacy and value of the 5 condos on this courtyard. Do you have any other suggestions that would help with this situation?
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 8 months ago

It seems like they have the authority to do so, so long as it is a part of the common area. My recommendation would be to explain to the board that this may significantly impact your privacy which could impact the value of the home. Both the HOA and the owners have an interest in maintaining the values, but that'll be hard to do if privacy is an issue, particularly if the community is for older adults who would like to not have to deal with everyone else.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
A very well written letter had been sent without any acknowledgement of the issues brought forth. I just needed to know if I had any other options or rights.
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 8 months ago

I see what you mean. You could think about some other legal bases to help you out, and you may need to consider arbitration or mediation. What I mean by that is this appears to be a violation of the implied covenant (promise) of good faith and fair dealing because they may not have authority to reduce your privacy. Under the Uniform Commercial Code Section 1-304, every contract comes with implied promises from both parties that they are going to be acting fairly toward one another. The failure of one party to act fairly toward the other can result in a breach of contract. To facilitate your situation, there’s a site that I’ve used in the past where you can find a good template for advising of a breach of contract (click here). It's a bit easier (and cheaper) than going through litigation and I have seen it be effective in the past. If you send this letter and they do not respond, then you may want to consider bringing a lawsuit after that because it will be clear they will not be willing to settle the issue.

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