By Bob Gourley
Have you ever wondered where unit owners and residents turn to get advice on things they can and cannot do in their condo or HOA? In a perfect world, they would open their carefully constructed package of documents and fully comprehend the rules and regulations of their common interest community. However, as anyone who lives in, works for or manages a condo, PUD, HOA, or other common interest community can attest, that rarely happens. More often than not, condo owners and other common interest community members learn about the rules of their association the hard way. They get fined. They get sued. They get frustrated. They get angry.
In Connecticut, the state where I live, our local chapter of CAI (Community Associations Institute) had an idea to help these unit owners and also help themselves. This idea has taken the form of “Ask Mister Condo.” a friendly forum where unit owners can ask any question they would like and get a friendly answer. “Mister Condo” is not an actual person. He is a manifestation of the public relations arm of the CAI chapter that represents the knowledge base of the local chapter. Questions are received from visitors to the website and the answers are farmed out to various CAI members who offer their expertise in the form of friendly answers. You can visit the website by going to www.askmistercondo.com.
Of course, “Ask Mister Condo” does not dole out legal advice. There is a disclaimer on every page of the website indicating that “Mister Condo” is not a lawyer and that no legal advice is given. What “Mister Condo” does offer is a friendly environment for people to ask questions about their condo experience. Recent questions have included inquiries into the importance of FHA approval, insurance requirements, use of common elements, board etiquette, noisy neighbors, and much more. As “Mister Condo” provides answers and advice to these queries, the knowledge base grows larger and remains online for future website visitors to see.
While it is currently being sponsored by the Connecticut chapter of CAI, there are plans to roll out “Ask Mister Condo” to other interested CAI chapters. By providing this valuable resource free of charge to common interest community members, CAI is helping to fulfill its mission of seeking “to foster vibrant, competent, and harmonious community associations”. Well-educated community association members make the best residents. “Ask Mister Condo” is one more tool to aid in that goal.
Bob Gourley is Founder of MyEZCondo, a communications firm that produces newsletter and website content material for condominiums and homeowner associations throughout the USA. He also serves as Board President of his local HOA.