Skip to main content

Decisions and Orders Main Page

CCOC Decision Summary

#12-13, Parkside Condominium Association v. Cayzedo  (August , 2014) (Panel: Ethier, Kabakoff, Cromwell).

The Condominium Association (CA) filed a complaint against the unit owner claiming that she was in violation of the Bylaws for failing to allow the CA’s staff full access to her unit for preventive maintenance inspections since she purchased her unit in May 2007. The Bylaws established a “unit inspection program” (the “program”) for the purpose of  determining whether conditions existed within a unit which might damage the common elements or waste CA resources. 

The unit owner did not reply to the CCOC complaint until after the CCOC held her in default and ordered her to reply.  She then replied that she worked long hours, was seldom home, and blamed the CA staff for not being more flexible about inspection times. The CA rebutted this argument stating that it offered her a reasonable alternative – an after-hours inspection, if she agreed to reimburse the CA for the personnel cost at a rate of $66 per hour and advised her “that sanctions of $5.00 a day would be imposed for each day the unit remains in violation of the Bylaws…”

The CCOC set a hearing for January, 2014 but was rescheduled following a last- minute request by the unit owner. A second hearing was set for May, 2014 which the unit owner attempted again to postpone at the last minute. The panel denied the postponement request and the hearing took place as scheduled with the unit owner participating by speaker phone.

The evidence showed that between June, 2010 and December, 2010, the CA gave several written notices to the unit owner concerning its intent to inspect her unit.  It then notified her that she was in violation of the Bylaws and that it would hold a hearing on the violation in December, 2010; but she did not attend the hearing, which was held without her. After the hearing the CA sent her the board’s decision finding her to be in violation of the rules together with the minutes of the board meeting.  The board’s decision including daily fines for noncompliance.

There followed several additional failed attempts to communicate with the unit owner and in July, 2011, the CA notified the owner that if she did not allow an inspection, it would take legal action against her . However, the CA did not follow up with enforcement but instead continued to send notices of hearings and reminders to the unit owner for almost two years during which the daily fines continued to accumulate.  Finally, in March, 2013, the CA filed its complaint with the CCOC seeking access to the unit and a payment of $3,735 in fines. In October, 2013, the unit owner allowed an inspection to investigate the source of a water leak into the unit below her, but refused to allow the staff access to her master bedroom and bathroom.

The hearing panel found the unit owner to be consistently uncooperative and difficult to communicate with in her interaction with her association as well as in the CCOC process. The panel also found that the CA had properly followed its rules and had attempted to accommodate the unit owner’s request for flexible inspection times and hearings. The CA also fully complied with it enforcement procedures, giving due notices of violations and hearings and conducting documented hearings appropriately.  The panel agreed to order the unit owner to allow inspections.

Nonetheless, the panel disallowed the CA to collect the full amount of fines imposed on the unit owner. The panel wrote that fines are justified if they encourage voluntary compliance with the rules. In this case, the panel found that the fines failed to serve their intended purpose because it was clear the unit owner ignored them. Therefore, the panel determined that the fines were reasonable for a period of six months -- total of $900 -- from the day they were initially imposed up to the day that the CA warned the unit owner that it would take legal action but failed to do so.

The panel ordered the unit owner to make firm arrangements with the CA for inspection of her entire unit in accordance with the Program within 30 days. If the unit owner failed to comply, the panel authorized the CA to conduct its inspection without the owner’s consent, with a 10 days advance notice, even if it required the services of a locksmith. The panel ordered that the expenses of such entry could be added to the unit owner’s account. The panel also ordered the unit owner to allow the CA to perform its annual inspections in the future with sanctions if she did not obey.

 

Go Top