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CCOC Decision Summary

##206-O, Quakyi v. Parkside Condominium Inc. (June 27, 1994) (Panel: Bromberg, Huson, Mehler)

The condominium owner (CO) complained that the condominium association (CA) improperly found that she was in violation of the community rules by having a washer and dryer in her unit, and improperly denied her request for an exception.

The evidence at the hearing panel showed that the CO lives in a building of 954 units, that the plumbing system of the building was not designed to accommodate individual washing machines in the units, and that one of the problems such washing machines caused was sudden variations in the temperature of the hot water reaching other units, so that the water could become unexpectedly hot.  As a result the governing documents prohibited privately owned washers and dryers.  In 1985, the CA discovered that the CO had such units and notified her that she was in violation.  The CO responded that her washer and dryer did not work and she preferred to store them in her unit rather than in the CA's storage area.  The CA took no further action until 1992, when it again notified her of the violation, and she repeated her earlier response, but the CA refused to accept this and told her to get the appliances out of the unit entirely.  She refused to do so and the CA board of directors found her in violation of the rules and fined her $5 per day until she removed them.  The CO testified at the hearing that she does not use the appliances, but there was no evidence at the hearing to corroborate that the appliances didn't work.

The hearing panel held that the rule prohibiting washers and dryers was reasonable under the facts of the case; it further held that the application of the rule to washers and dryers not in use was also reasonable because "the large number of units in the Condominium prohibits the [CA] from efficiently monitoring use of washers and dryers, which can be easily connected and disconnected to water and electricity sources" and because the CA provides laundry facilities for the members' use as well as storage areas for appliances not in use.  The panel held that the CA acted reasonable to refuse to grant an exception to the CO because the CO's appliances have not been made inoperable.

However the panel refused to uphold the fines of $5 per day, on the grounds that the 6-year delay by the CA in enforcing its violation notice could have created the good-faith belief by the CO that her first response was sufficient and that she was not in violation of the rule.  The panel therefore ordered the CO to remove the washer and dryer within 30 days and ordered that if she failed to do so, she must pay the CA a fine of $5 per day thereafter until she did remove the appliances.

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