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CCOC Decision Summary

#679-O, #685-O, Halaby & Abboud v. Glen Waye Gardens Condominium (June 13, 2005) (Panel: McCabe, Fleischer, Gannon)

These complaints were filed by 2 separate homeowners (HO's) disputing a notice from their condominium association (CA) ordering them to remove the washing machines they had installed in their units.  Because the complaints involved similar facts and legal issues, the Commission consolidated them for a single hearing.

Evidence at the public hearing showed that the two HO's had installed washing machines in their units at least 20 years earlier and that these were hooked up to the unit's plumbing system.  Each HO proved she lived on the 3rd floor of her building, and had physical disabilities that made it difficult for her to carry her laundry to the building's laundry room.  The evidence also showed that the CA had long had a rule requiring that all laundry must be done only in the common laundry rooms provided for that purpose, and that the CA's plumbing system was not designed to handle private washing machines and that such machines could leak and cause damage to other units.  The CA also offered to accommodate the needs of the HO's by providing someone on request to carry their laundry for them, which offer the HO's had rejected.

The hearing panel held that the rule against private washing machines was reasonable and valid, and that the HO's were in violation of it.  The panel further held that the CA had the right to enforce the rule even though the HO's had already been using the machines for 20 years, because the HO's could not show they were harmed by the CA's delay in enforcing the rule against them.  However, the panel ruled that it would not award the attorney's fees requested by the CA, because the HO's extended use of the machines had created a "reasonable expectation" that they had to right to continue to use them and would be successful in this dispute. 

The panel ordered the HO's to remove their washing machines within 30 days, and that if they did not do so the CA could fine them $5 per day for every day the violations continued after the 30 day deadline.

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