As a member of your local condominium board, excitement may fill you as you take your elected seat. Then reality sets in. Not only do you have power, but you also have responsibilities and a rather thankless job. As a board member, you make decisions and govern the community ideally in good faith. Here are some legal implications of being a member of a condominium board.
The unit owners and shareholders in the condo place their trust in the elected board members to act on their behalf. The decisions the board makes affect the community at large and individual unit owners. Having a lawyer who understands condominium law Loudoun County VA on the board helps educate board members. The main fiduciary duty of the board focus on the common areas and the upkeep and repair of those areas.
As with any position of power, a breach of duty indicates abuse of power. Preferential treatment of board members is a common example of a breach of duty. Another common abuse of power is self-dealing where they use their board position for their personal advantage. Fair dealing is related to self-dealing and involves dealing fairly with vendors not engaging in self-interested activities such as hiring your cousin to maintain the pool because he needs the business. Abusing your power as a board member or as a complete board has very real consequences. The board or board member may be sued by an individual or vendor for abuse of power. Criminal penalties may arise for theft or embezzlement of funds. Court costs and fees are the responsibility of the board if sued.
Even if you don’t have a lawyer on your condominium board, it is a good idea to consult one at the beginning of a board term. The board members have an opportunity to have any questions regarding the legal responsibilities of the board before they make any decisions for the community. Legal knowledge can help prevent legal consequences from violating the fiduciary duty of the board.