Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Homeowners Associations

Mr. Bean, String Bean, and I just got home from the annual homeowners association meeting for our condo association. The usual voting for new board members and approving the budget happened. I restrained from asking why us first floor condo owners had to pitch in for paying for new balconies for the second, third and fourth floor condos. But, I think I was the only owner who showed restraint at that meeting.

There were really only two moments of fireworks. Of course, I put my two sense worth in both times since, in my opinion they were both silly. First, a guy got up and spoke about how our building manager is overworked and how great she is. Then the same guy wanted to know why the minutes were not more detailed. He was told that the bylaws (or some official document like that) had it listed in them. Then he insisted that the building manager (who he just said was overworked) find that for him and point it out. I chimed in and said, "Don't we all have copies of the constitution and other association documents in our binders that are required to stay in our units when/if we move out? Why don't you just look it up yourself since our building manager is really busy." Everyone nodded in agreement, especially the building manager. Under his breath, he said, "I can't understand what that stuff says anyway." Interestingly, he used to be a board member.

The other heated moment occurred when I asked how the laundry receipts were going.

First, you should know that our laundry is done on the honor system here. We just pay cash in a locked box for all our laundry needs. We sign in with how many washers and dryers we used. Second, you should know that we have a lot of people who don't bother to either sign in or pay for their laundry. This has been a point of contention for years.

The response was, "Well, same as usual; not everyone is paying. In fact when our contract on the laundry machines is up in two years, we are more than likely going to go to a coin-operated laundry system." This lady immediately got up and started ranting and raving about how she was going to go out and purchase machines and make people pay for laundry when she owns them and how she works hard for her money and she's tired of being the only one to pay. Literally, she was talking over everyone else at the meeting and the poor board members couldn't get a word in edgewise. She demanded the name of the company that our laundry contract was with and all sorts of other nonsense. Every time we thought the discussion was over, she'd yell "You haven't answered my question, yet! Why can't I just go out and purchase laundry machines and run it myself?" I finally jumped in and said, "You can't do that because we are under contract with a company that will not end for two years. When it ends, go to the board and propose running the laundry yourself. Until then, nothing can be done!" After I said that and one of the board members mentioned there was a large penalty for cancelling the contract (and we just raised association fees by 10% so they were not willing to do that), she finally calmed down and the meeting was quickly adjourned.

Geesh. What a way to spend the evening.

1 comment:

Ginger said...

Honor system?! Honor system? I mean I know it's Wheaton and all, but still. Honor system? Maybe you could put a lock on the door that requires a keycard to get in. Then you can ask people what they do in the laundry rooms every Monday if not laundry.