Seven Tips For Getting Along

Community associations, such as Liberty Commons Condominium Trust, come with Rules and Regulations and other mandated obligations that determine everything from the type and number of pets you can own to what color you can paint your front door.

  1. Know the Rules and Regulations before you move in
  2. Follow proper procedures
  3. Go to your neighbor before you go to the Board of Trustees1
  4. If you don’t like a Rule, get your neighbors together to change it2
  5. Volunteer to help your community
  6. Try to stay out of court
  7. Have a long-range plan (i.e., Capital Reserves)

These are all addressed in “How to Handle Living in a Community with a HOA” written by Teresa Mears.

One of the biggest challenges for Unit Owners, the Board of Trustees, and the Managing Agent is Unit Owners not fully understanding what they purchased and the obligations that come with the purchase of a condominium or residing in one. Condominiums are not houses and Unit Owners nor their Non-Owner Residents cannot do whatever they chose to. Most Rules and Regulations are “common sense” to most reasonable individuals and are in place to regulate the consistent appearance and appeal of the property to yield market value or higher real estate values, to ensure safety and reduce liabilities to the association, and to provide a peaceful and respectful living environment for everyone.

People who understand what they purchased and don’t mind following the Rules and Regulations end up finding enjoyment in condominium living. For those individuals who don’t like Rules and Regulations and/or have the “it’s all about me” attitude will find it challenging to live in any shared community and potentially very costly to live in a condominium. No one needs that additional burdens and/or stress in their lives.

When Unit Owners work with the Board of Trustees, then positive things can happen and a group of individuals can continue to grow together as a community. We are seeing that right now with the transition from the previous Board of Trustees to current one. The majority of residents have expressed their overall happiness and excited with the transition and that positive things that have already come the new Board of Trustees leadership and that will come in the near-term and then in the long-term. There has been more involvement, willingness to assist and help out, constructive feedback, etc. from Unit Owners and Non-Owner Residents. Liberty Commons’ Board of Trustees wants to continue to build upon these initial successes and make progress toward our shared goals of being an extremely appealing place to live that is well managed and maintained. Yes, Liberty Commons’ Board of Trustees knows there are a lot of things that have been neglected and need to be addressed. We are prioritizing each and every item and working through this action items list:

  • Restoring Liberty Commons to pre-winter conditions (i.e., deck stairs, siding, roofing, etc.)
  • Investigating and potentially implementing an ice melt system for Liberty Commons’ roofs
  • Grounds maintenance (i.e., green grass, restoration of damaged fences, signs, etc.)
  • Completion of the LED Lighting Project
  • Long-term financial planning and budgeting

Grounds maintenance has been a topic of interest and we are working with Liberty Commons’ landscape contractor to make significant progress with that respect. Change takes time and is gradual sometimes, so we all need to keep that in perspective, and acknowledge that even incremental changes will turn into an overall big picture of positive change and a return on our investments. Please keep the constructive criticism and feedback coming. Everyone sees things differently and that broad perspective is helpful to Liberty Commons’ Board of Trustees.

Liberty Commons’ Board of Trustees wants to acknowledge the cooperation that we have observed in Unit Owners and Non-Owner Residents with the cleaning up of personal items outside of Units on their own (self-policing), and those who address issues when notified with a courtesy notice (a friendly reminder or warning). There is some more progress to be made, but overall, the Common Areas are looking much better than even a month or two ago. Some residents have a renewed excitement and are taking a renewed interest in making Liberty Commons look and function better. Some have taken it upon themselves to clean up some overgrowth of vegetation behind their Building and plant flowers, which is coming along nicely. Just a reminder, it is always better to ask before undertaking any project or alternation (not matter how small) in the Common Areas or to Common Elements, so Unit Owners are not taking on an unnecessary liability and/or costly restoration expenses. The Common Areas and Common Elements are not an individual Unit Owners to do with as they like and belong to the collective whole managed by the Board of Trustees to maintain a consist and uniformed look and feel.

1 In most cases, it is better to consult a Trustee or the Managing Agent about neighbor issues before engaging the neighbor.
2 Defiance of the Rules and Regulations only leads to daily fines and other compliance actions by the association.

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