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Nightmare neighbor has Sherry desperate for advice

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis March 1, 2012 07:01 AM

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Just call it yet another example of small condo association purgatory.

If you have a three-unit condo association, and one member is a belligerent jerk, you may just be stuck up a creek without a paddle.

That's the dilemma "Sherry" and her husband find themselves in as they try to repair their condo building near Boston.

The lady in the unit next door is on board, but the gent who owns the remaining unit is a problem. Instead of forking over his share of the repair bill, he's turned out to be a rogue handyman, trying to fix things himself and instead making a complete hash of things.

How lovely.

Sherry is tearing her hair out and is looking for some good advice.

Here's her story. Be thoughtful and if you can't be that, at least be nice - she's doesn't need mindless zingers from anonymous folks to compound her misery.

We are a small condo association - three units, total. Myself and my husband own Unit #2 and another woman owns Unit #3, giving us the majority ownership.

The owner of Unit #1, to put it nicely, is a nightmare. 

- He is 14 months behind on paying condo fees
- He has not paid any money for a repointing assessment we incurred last year, which cost nearly $10,000. It was so expensive because the owner of Unit #1 decided to "repoint" the building a few years back using cement and not mortar. He was also not approved to do this work by myself and the owner of Unit #3. Instead, he just did it on his own, causing more problems.
- He has done repairs within the building that are not approved by the majority ownership. All and all, he owes us nearly $10,000 for the above repointing, "fixing" our deck (which needed to be refixed), replacing locks, painting, etc, etc.
- He has a lien on his property for owed property taxes
- He is aggressive, has physically threatened my husband, and drops racial and homophobic slurs, amongst other lovely character traits.

He does not live in the building, but instead rents it out to two tenants who smoke in common areas and continuously cause issues. The owner lives in another town and I suspect he is having issues paying his mortgage at his new place, and therefore, he is using the money from the condo to pay his massive mortgage.

Our biggest concern right now is the money and getting the association in good standing. Our building is old...1890...and there are some upkeeps that need to happen (even though it was gutted and refurbished in the 1980s). We have tried letters and even speaking with a lawyer, but he just doesn't do anything.

We are at our whit's end. Might you have some ideas or suggestions as to how to solve this issue?

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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