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Question: Recently, a less than enthusiastic board member sent an email suggesting that we place a limit of 1.5 hours on the board meetings. I have a strong belief that no time limits should be set for a meeting since the board has a fiduciary duty to all our members. If this particular director can't see fit to hang in there for a 2-3hour meeting once a month then that individual should not be on the board!

Answer: 1.5 hours is probably a bit too short but, generally, board meetings should not go longer than 2 hours which seems to be the limit of concentration for most. Meetings are more effective when there is an "action" agenda and related information which is circulated in advance to the directors for review. If this is not done, rambling discussions usually ensue as directors try to get up to speed on the issues. The board is there to make informed decisions, not BS the night away. A lot can get accomplished in 1½ hours if the board is prepared in advance and focused on goals.

Question: I have repeatedly contacted the board and management company for repairs to my condo (the fence was falling down, my roof in desperate need of repair, my skylights are leaking etc.) with no action. When I call the management company, either my calls are not returned or when I do get them on the phone, they state that they are busy, will call back and don't. I have attended board meetings in person and the board promises to get the repairs done and doesn't. The HOA is financially healthy so I can't figure why I'm getting stalled. What are my rights?

Answer: You have the right to prompt repairs, especially when there is potential damage to your property. Write a detailed letter to the board with a copy to the management company making a demand for repairs and citing the previous requests (what, when, etc.). Put a deadline of 10 days to get it done. If they are not done by that time (or in progress), have the work done and submit the paid receipt for reimbursement. Hopefully, the demand letter will prompt action. There seems to be an unprofessional attitude at work on your board and management company. I suggest you run for election the next round, get elected and start making a change.

Question: The board recently imposed a fee of $500 per year on all owners that rent their units. Is this discriminatory?

Answer: Yes, it is discriminatory. The board has no authority to assess a special fee based on class of owner. The board could enact reasonable charges like a Move In-Move Out fee where the HOA actually incurs costs. Or, if renters damage the common area, the board certainly can require the landlord owner to pay for repairs.

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