Regarding the Feb. 10 front-page article “The spat that laid low Olde Belhaven”:
I will resist the urge to take sides in Sam and Maria Farran’s Pyrrhic victory over their homeowners association because both sides showed a lack of judgment. However, after 35 years in my own homeowners association (including eight years as board president), I can offer these pithy pearls of wisdom:
First, if association members cannot live within the community’s declarations, bylaws or rules, no matter how trivial they might appear, their choices are to try to change them, get elected to the board or move out (or not move in).
Second, board members have a fiduciary responsibility to stay within the bylaws and rules and enforce them consistently, reasonably and fairly. They may need to be occasionally reminded about this, even if by a judge.
The Post’s article confirmed for me why association members should elect to their boards people who know when to bring in the lawyers and when to keep them out. I have seen lawyers working for associations who are more concerned about following specific board members’ wishes than advising on what might be in the best interests of the community. Fortunately, with the number of law firms specializing in homeowner association law increasing, more community-centric lawyers are beginning to appear on the scene.
This article also serves as a warning to prospective association homeowners who are interested in a community and not just a place to live. They should go beyond the kind of due diligence enabled by the legal disclosure statements. Little in those documents reveals what one really might be buying into.
Ed Mulrenin, Washington