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Subject: Access By Power-of-Attorney
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AugustinD


Posts:1886


08/01/2019 8:34 AM  
Hoatalk.com members: If you were on the board of a condominium, and an elderly member in pretty clear decline asked that his power-of-attorney (POA) be allowed to enter the gated grounds, using the elderly member's gate card, to help him move and get the property ready for sale, how would you recommend the board respond? The access requested will include the POA being able to be on the grounds when the elderly HOA member is not on the grounds. The paperwork for the POA states that the POA will be able to act on behalf of the elderly HOA member for all matters involving real property (and, as it happens, everything else). Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8550


08/01/2019 9:35 AM  
How can one not be fore this?
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:338


08/01/2019 10:18 AM  
I'd ask that the elderly resident provide a copy of the power of attorney to keep for the association's records. Then the board should communicate in writing with the resident and the person with POA notifying them that the request has been granted and spelling out what the board understands the acting POA's role will be.

I'd assume that the person acting for the resident has the same rights as the resident, but limited by his role. (Would the person acting for the elderly resident have any right to use the amenities like a pool? A question for the HOA attorney, but I don't see that this would be necessary for him to perform his duties.)

If anything changes, then that should also be communicated in writing to both parties.

This probably seems like a lot of paperwork, but since Fair Housing and other civil rights laws come into play here, it's best to dot the i's and cross the t's (and have written evidence of having done so).
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2621


08/01/2019 11:09 AM  
What Cathy said. And make sure you have the POA's contact information (home and work phone numbers, email, etc.)
AugustinD


Posts:1886


08/01/2019 11:17 AM  
Thank you, John, Cathy and Shelia. Will do.

John, it's one of those condos where the manager and board harass people they do not like. This particular elderly resident has been in the manager's cross-hairs ever since the elderly resident several years ago succeeded in compelling the condo to comply with the law on HOA records reviews and other basic matters.
AugustinD


Posts:1886


08/01/2019 11:21 AM  
Use of a HOA's recreational amenities by a power-of-attorney is neither legal nor appropriate, as far as I am concerned, unless the POA happens to be acting as a guest with the member present while the POA uses the amenities. The big issue is for the POA to be able to come onto the grounds, at will and without the HOA member present, to take care of the home while it is being prepped for sale; shown to potential buyers; inspected; appraised; et cetera.
PatJ1
(North Carolina)

Posts:93


08/01/2019 11:55 AM  
Just curious. Would you require all of this if someone hired an outside pet sitting/walking service, or if someone hired someone to clean their house when they weren't home? Or even a friend to come over and water their plants while they were gone.

Sounds to me like those would fall under the same access issues as the POA for the elderly resident.

Board members are volunteers. Many have no idea what they're doing. Educate them. Don't beat them up.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:338


08/01/2019 11:56 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 08/01/2019 11:17 AM
...
John, it's one of those condos where the manager and board harass people they do not like. This particular elderly resident has been in the manager's cross-hairs ever since the elderly resident several years ago succeeded in compelling the condo to comply with the law on HOA records reviews and other basic matters.




Ruh-roh. The manager and board really need to watch themselves. Their behavior is a problem no matter what the age of the resident, but since their target is elderly, it is easy to appear discriminatory. They may find themselves getting schooled again by someone who understands his rights.
AugustinD


Posts:1886


08/01/2019 4:07 PM  
Pat, some context: the condo is way strict about access. Management and the Board would never permit someone to have a gate card just so they could, say, water the plants. A member loaned his gate card to his plumber and got fined. There are security cameras on the front gates, and management can and will check who is using the gate card and whether the vehicle matches what is in the HOA's records. The neighborhood has seen burglaries in the past.

Cathy, I appreciate your reminding me that this is potentially either an age or disability discrimination issue. I think a reasonable accommodation here is, after providing a copy of the POA papers, granting the POA use of the gate card.

I will try to keep the thread updated with the outcome.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2621


08/02/2019 7:56 AM  
In light of that, you may want to get the POA's car information (make, model and perhaps license plate number) along with the other information suggested.

This may also be a good time for your board to consider developing some sort of policy for emergency or short term use of the gate card by people authorized by homeowners. Today it's an elderly person who's planning to sell the home (and you'll see more of this as our nation ages), but tomorrow, it could be someone who passed away suddenly and didn't leave a will, so the family is trying to clean up his/her affairs as best they can.
JZ2
(Florida)

Posts:43


08/02/2019 10:39 AM  
The Golden Rule is the best advice I can give you under the circumstances: reflect on how you would like to be treated under these facts, giving due weight to the reasons why the Association has such a strict access policy, of course.

If you have an on-site property manager, perhaps he or she can require the gentleman to coordinate all trips to the property with him or her in advance.

AugustinD


Posts:1886


08/02/2019 1:33 PM  
JZ2, I happen to favor a strict access policy. It promotes safety. Of course, I also want the policy to be compliant with Fair Housing law.

Thank you for the further input, Shelia.

Update: Management turns out to be fine with this (particular?) POA using the elderly member's gate card after the elderly resident has moved, for purposes of facilitating sale of the unit. It was no hassle. Of course I am glad the POA asked permission and did not assume anything.
JZ2
(Florida)

Posts:43


08/03/2019 12:36 PM  
//JZ2, I happen to favor a strict access policy. It promotes safety. Of course, I also want the policy to be compliant with Fair Housing law.//

I agree as a general rule, but you need to have a willingness to consider exceptions in exceptional cases. It appears that is precisely what your property manager did here.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3296


08/03/2019 7:51 PM  
My 2 cents......
If I'm going to die soon, I'm not going to follow anyone's rules. Fine me. I cant take my money with me. LOL.

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