What can happen to owner if condo rules are broken?

Purchased a new condo about 8 months ago. Now the board is creating all of these bylaw rules that never existed. Such as no renting out the place more than once a year. What can a condo board do if you break their rules? Can they take your place away? If so, what is there to protect the owners of condos. This is not a coop by any means, so I thought I owned my investment.

You own your investment subject to the bylaws of the association. In the normal course of events, the board can not unilaterally make changes to the bylaws. The board can propose changes to the bylaws that must be approved by the association membership at a members meeting – usually the annual meeting.

Penalties for violations of the bylaws are usually specified in the bylaws. Fines may be levied against the unit owners and attached as liens against the property. Unpaid liens can be foreclosed upon, forcing the owner to either pay the liens or lose the property.

If your bylaws specify that a simple majority of the total of the voting proxies plus members attending the meeting are all that is needed to pass amendments to the bylaws, then it may be possible to pass changes with few votes with respect to the full membership roster. Since most association members don’t actually attend the annual meetings, you may want to start a proxy campaign to secure the voting proxies you may need to defeat the resolutions with which you disagree.

Additionally, you may want to consider running for the board of officers. As a member of the board, you will have a much more effective voice and greater influence on the board should these proposals come up again.

Many condo associations have restrictions on rental use in their bylaws, especially in resort areas where short term and seasonal rentals are popular. In these associations, annual rentals or even six month rental terms are OK, but daily, weekly, and monthly rentals are prohibited. This usually does not prevent re-renting in less than a year when your annual tenant prematurely terminates the lease and you get a new annual tenant. I personally favor these restrictions because they don’t really prohibit me from engaging in annual rental activity, while at the same time, these restrictions help to keep common area maintenace costs lower and may help support property value.