Condo boards can require unit owners to replace their water heaters every 10 years to avoid potential damages
Q. Our board has permitted general proxies to be used in voting on a number of items for our condo association. Is this legal?
A. The use of a general proxy is not permitted to vote on association matters. There are two types of proxies, general and limited. A general proxy allows the proxy issuer (the owner) to permit the proxy holder to vote on the owner’s behalf for any matter. A limited proxy only permits the proxy holder to vote on a specific item or items. Both types of proxiesmay
be used for purposes of establishing a quorum and may specifically state that “This proxy is to be used for quorum purposes only.”
Q. Our board recently passed a rule requiring all owners to replace their water heaters after being used for 10 years. Is this legal?
A. If, in the water heater industry, it is known that once a water heater turns 10 years old that it ismore prone to leaking or malfunctioning, then the board would have a good reason
to pass such a rule for the purpose of preventing damage to the common elements and units of the association. It probably would be a valid rule; however, I would recommend that the language of the rule be implemented into an amendment to the association’s declaration.
Q. How does a fining committee function? Does a fining committee act on recommendations from the board?
A. When an owner violates a rule, the board first should
hold a boardmeeting and vote on fining the owner, state how much the owner is being fined, and the reason. A fine may not be more than $100 per occurrence or per day and may not exceed $1,000 in the aggregate, meaning that if the owner violates a rule 11 times at $100 per occurrence, the maximum fine would be $1,000. Then, a hearing of the fining committee, also called the grievance committee, must be held and a letter must be sent to the owner. It must be sent at least 14 days in advance of the hearing at which such owner is informed that
he or shemay make their case to the committee as to why they should not be fined. The committee has the ultimate decision regarding whether the owner will be fined.