The weeks are stacking up since May 1, the start of this condo living, and I'm learning bit by bit what it means to be a member of a residents’ association, and how ‘community’ issues come to color the atmosphere of my days. Not my intent to imply that every day is governed by a group of owner-board members wielding whips, passing out rules and decrees and telling residents what to do and what not to do. No such thing. If I chose to do so, I could push it all off to the side, out of sight, leaving my days undisturbed and with little awareness of board discussions and decisions.
But I've chosen to be involved, because as one of few owners living full-time in the condominium, my thoughts on problems and conditions have the advantage of daily on-site observation. In other words, I see what’s going on around here more than the majority of owners who live far away, and visit on holidays.
For the most part, the issues at hand are minor matters easily fixed with a little discussion at board meetings. No question, the discussion of ‘pool rules’ has more complications than rocket science, and is an endless cycle of ridiculous, repetitive talk. What escapes most of the debaters is the reality that there is no one waiting around the pool to enforce rules, whatever they are. If there’s no sheriff in town…
But lately a larger question has come up, and this one does strike me as interference and manipulation by the association board. Like homeowners anywhere, once in a while an owner decides to sell his condo and go elsewhere. Nothing new; happens frequently. At the last board meeting—open of course to all owners—a proposition was raised to involve the board in the sale of individual owner condos, to give the board right of veto, to step between owner and prospective buyer and influence the sale.
Objection to that idea came from all corners, including my own voice, but the board has yet to lay the plan aside. I'm confident it will never come to pass, but in the meantime imagine the following owner/board member exchange…
OWNER: I have put my condo up for sale and have an interested buyer. But then someone told me that I need your approval. I mean, hello! Duh! Have I heard right?
BOARD: Well, we’re sorry to see you go, but yes, a committee of three will have to investigate your prospective buyer before any sale can be approved. We don’t want to have any pedophiles buying into our community.
OWNER: Mmm…That’s distressing. I can vouch for the buyer myself because we are friends. But now I suppose I should worry that your decision will be swayed by the fact that my friend and hopeful buyer is a one-legged black Arab lesbian.
BOARD: (choking, clearing his throat) Uh…er…Oh, yeah? Well listen, we’re gonna have to get back to you on that. Meanwhile don’t sign any papers!