Q&A: When a Board Prez Takes Over Treasury Duties

Q. My condo has three units. We have three owners and we recently sold one unit to a new owner. He is the president and I am the treasurer. One day, he asked me to give him the checkbooks that have been in my handling, and stated that he will be the one to pay all the bills. Yesterday, we had a condo meeting and he addressed the same thing – that he would be the one to pay the bills My questions to you is: is it legal for a president be paying the bills? And what about the treasurer? What am I supposed to do ? 

 This same person is also looking to refinance his unit which was mortgaged by FHA. At the aforementioned condo meeting, he presented a bill for $499 from HUD to pay for the building to be “FHA certified,” and said that certification will only last for 18 months, upon which it will have to be renewed for another $499. I think it is unfair for the HOA to pay for his refinance needs. Also is it necessary to pay for “FHA certification?”

                             —Caught in a Quandary

A. “Nothing the president has said is accurate,” says Chicago-based attorney Sima L. Kirsch of the Law Office of Sima L. Kirsch. PC. “The treasurer needs to read the bylaws, [which] set out the duties of each of the officers. It also sets out the procedure if the board wants to change what the bylaws direct. Nothing in an association just happens because the president says so. Most decisions and mostly all changes need to happen by vote of the board. 

“FHA certification is another issue that a board is to vote on. It is prudent to approve it, since a board does not want to stand in the way of an owner trying to get refinancing, or a buyer seeking financing and they only qualify for FHA. However, even if a board agrees to it doesn’t mean the board must pay for it. That is also something that needs to be voted on by the board. 

 “Stand your ground – and next time, tell the president he is not correct. In the end however, there may be no way to stop the president’s demands or his harassment without taking some action, even if it’s only to have an attorney write a letter to the board. Please note that without exact facts and the ability to review the operating documents, none of this information should be taken as legal advice and you should consult an attorney in the field who can help you assess your particular factual situation. Good luck.”

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