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(TNS)—Q: Our association’s board of directors is not doing their job. Overgrown landscaping, boats and inoperable vehicles in driveways, and houses that need painting are among the many problems in our community. What can a homeowner do when their board and management company are ineffective? — Margaret

A: The board of directors of your community association must maintain the common areas and enforce the rules and regulations. This is not an easy task, and many associations hire a property manager to help.

Board members have their own lives, jobs and concerns. Even so, having volunteered to take a leadership role in their community, board members need to fulfill their responsibilities.

The first step in getting your neighborhood back in shape is to let the board know your concerns.

Gather other members who feel the same way and request a meeting with the board.
You can also sign up to air your grievances at the next board meeting. Cite specific examples and maintain a professional and helpful tone when you do.

If this does not work, and enough of your neighbors agree with you, you can have a recall vote. If this succeeds, you can remove some or all board members and replace them with volunteers willing to do the job.

Another possibility is running for the board yourself at the next election and improving the board’s performance from the inside.

If all else fails, you can sue your board to make them enforce the rules and properly maintain the grounds.

Litigation is expensive and time-consuming, and often the losing party pays the winner’s attorney fees, so this option should be taken only as a last resort.

Another option is to move to a community that more suits your standards. Your neighbors may be okay with the way things are run and not want things to change.
Finding the right community for you may be the best choice.

Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation. Send him questions online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.

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