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Q&A: This Is for the Birds…

Q. I have lived in my condo for more than a decade, and every winter, I (and a couple of other owners) have fed the birds with no problems. Watching the birds has been a comfort to me, especially this year with so many other activities limited due to the pandemic.

However, last month some residents complained that the bird seed was causing an influx of mice. I’m not sure if it really is the bird feeding that’s the problem, or just an unusual winter season. After the complaints, my condo board announced new rules that prohibit this activity. This was done with no input from the majority of residents as far as I can see. With the pandemic, there have not been any public meetings. I’m not sure how they could have enacted this without a discussion and vote.

Can the board enforce this rule? It seems arbitrary, since this has never been an issue before, and could be a short-term problem unrelated to any bird-feeding activity.

                                          —Cheep Thrills

A. “In most instances, your condominium association’s board has the exclusive authority to operate the common areas, including enacting rules which it reasonably believes will prevent damage to property,” says Frank Lombardi, partner in Lombardi Law Group in Lincoln, Rhode Island. “This includes what it perceives as a need to avoid the migration or infiltration of rodents, including, as here, mice and of course, their distant cousins, squirrels—if it has proven the nexus between the birds and the mice.

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