High & Mighty When Boards Go Overboard

There’s nothing worse than being a unit owner in a building and seeing someone on your board breaking a rule and seemingly getting away with it.

Some board members or trustees believe that they are “above the law” so to speak, and seem to be operating under a different set of rules than the rest of the residents. This could be anything from giving themselves preferential treatment for parking spots, flouting pet rules, fast-tracking their own alteration projects or voting on financial matters when they themselves are in arrears.

Diane Rubin, a partner with the law firm of Prince Lobel & Tye LLP in Boston has seen her share of board members try to get away with things, and she does what she can to help right the ship.

“By and large, most board members are more aware of what the bylaws and rules are than non-board members,” says Rubin. “But there’s two things that I’ve seen happen. One is where you get a board member or sometimes a whole board that is completely disconnected and they don’t pay any attention to the governing documents. They just run the place the way they want to. They run amok and are not respectful of the documents. It’s very rare but it does happen. The other thing that I have seen from time to time is that sometimes you’ll get a board member who not so much wants to ignore the bylaws but they’d like special treatment.”

Rogue board members or trustees are awful for building morale and can have a corrosive effect on residents’ confidence in their board.

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