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CCOC Decision Summary

#06-12, Davis v. Chevy Chase Crest Condominium Association (July 26, 2013) (Panel: Dymowski, Brandes, Weinstein)

The unit owner complained that her association failed to take and maintain minutes of its meetings, that it failed to give advance notice of its meetings, and that it failed to make its books and records available for inspection.  She also complained about changes to the laundry room equipment that the association agreed to in its new contract with the laundry room equipment company.

[Editor’s note: the Commission voted to accept jurisdiction of the first three claims, but rejected jurisdiction of the dispute over the laundry room contract and equipment.  The Commission believed that it had no jurisdiction over the dispute because the only relevant ground of jurisdiction was “the failure to maintain the common elements if that failure causes significant personal injury or property damage,” and the contract for the rental of laundry room equipment was not a common element, nor was there a claim that the equipment was defective or dangerous.]

The unit owner did not appear at the hearing on her dispute.  The association presented evidence in its defense, and after hearing all the evidence, the hearing panel found as matters of fact that the association has a practice of holding its board meetings on the third Tuesday of each month and that it states the date of the next board meeting in its minutes which are available for inspection; that it regularly prepares minutes and did so for all the meetings held in the year prior to the filing of the dispute, and that the complainant was denied access to the records only because she appeared at the office without advance notice to demand to inspect the records.  The association’s policy [and the Condominium Act] require reasonable notice for a records inspection, and the complainant never requested an appointment for this purpose.  Furthermore, when the complainant requested copies of specific records, the association did respond and mail the copies to her.

The hearing panel ruled in the association’s favor on all three issues.

At the conclusion of the hearing the association requested $4,545 in attorney fees on the grounds that the complaint was frivolous and pursued in bad faith.  The hearing panel denied the request on the grounds that the documents requested by the unit owner were not given to her until after she filed this dispute, and the association did not adopt a written policy on document inspections until after the dispute was filed.  In addition, the association did not suffer any extra legal fees because the unit owner did not appear at the hearing, because if she had appeared, the association would still have to attend to defend itself. 

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