Problem Boards What to Do When Your Board Breaks the Rules

A condominium, cooperative, or homeowners’ association elects a board for a specific purpose: to navigate the ins and outs of association management on a day-to-day basis. In fact, the board has an inflexible fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the community as a whole. Inflexible! 

Surely this means that boards consistently stay on the side of good, advocating for residents, and promoting neighborly well-being, right? Well, in short: no. Sadly, humans are wildly fallible. Having sampled even a morsel of power, some find themselves starving for more. And other less malicious folks simply make mistakes, and rather than correct them, keep on stumbling down a wrong path. 

Once a board crosses over to the dark side, it can mean serious consequences for not only its members, but every owner or shareholder in residence. Infighting, backstabbing, loss of funds, declining property values, and even legal consequences may well ensue should the ship not be righted.

As Henry A. Goodman, a principal with Goodman, Shapiro & Lombardi, LLC,  a law firm that has offices in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, puts it, “in any organization, things can go wrong; either by virtue of error in judgment, human frailty or even corruption of one sort or another.”

Therefore, it’s imperative that both boards and residents be aware of the reasons and signs that an operation has gone bad, in order to avoid the former and correct the latter as quickly as possible. 


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  • Geraldine (Geri) Kay on Friday, July 12, 2019 9:53 AM
    Does the Ombudsperson act, regarding complaints require a written response, marked final determination, apply to all complaints? Meaning owner about another owner, breaking rules and/or Board/Association operating outside of all government and condo documents. I know the act clearly states the Ombudsperson can only assist in the latter but it does not state any exceptions regarding written response marked final determination. Please clarify this as we need transparency In the handling of complaints, at least for the one making complaint to know the board is acting fairly. Please help me get the correct interpretation. Thank you. Geri Kay