How much power should a condo association have?

Our condo association wants the power to assess fines for people who somehow break the condo rules. The example they repeatedly give is that someone owns an incontinent dog who is ruining the carpeting in the hallway. I agree that the owners of the dog should probably pay for new carpeting, but I don’t like the system they are proposing.

  1.  The notification of a hearing is by first class mail. That sounds reasonable, but it will come down to a “We sent it.”/”I didn’t receive it.” argument. But the defendant has no recourse. If he doesn’t show up for the meeting, he will be assessed fines, and there is no way of verifying that that the letter was actually sent. In case you are saying to yourself that first class mail almost always goes through, the management company, hired by our condo association, told my husband that they sent out some information to him, and it arrived ten days later. Was the USPS unusually slow? I don’t think so. I think they were lying or misinformed about when the letter was sent. If the management company can’t get it right, how can we trust the condo board that hired them?
  2. There is no consideration of the meeting time being convenient for the homeowner. This is not a court of law, this is a condo association. The homeowner could be working or out of town when the meeting is scheduled. It is assumed that the meeting will take place entirely at the convenience of the condo board. There are three condos in our building whose owners are absent for months, and two other condos are rentals. I would not expect the condo owners to come back from Florida, Thailand, Africa, or Jamaica for the meeting. Yet if they don’t come, they will be assessed fines.
  3. The only recourse a condo owner has after being assessed fines is to go to court. If that is so reasonable, why can’t the condo board sue the dog owner?
I am sure the two lawyers on the condo board will say that they will be reasonable, but they have written the rules in such a way that give them too much power.

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