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Subject: New Condo HOA Rule - No Working On Sundays
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JenniferD8
(Michigan)

Posts:29


11/05/2019 6:39 PM  
My board recently had a meeting. Some board members proposed a new rule to ban all contractors, volunteers and board members from working in the common areas on Sundays. I feel that this is favoring one religion over another and could potentially cause the board some legal issues down the road -- i.e. religious discrimination. The board members in favor said the rule had nothing to do with religion. Umm, yes it's implied.

My question is -- do other condo HOAs have similar rules? Are they even enforceable?
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6703


11/05/2019 7:41 PM  
Our high rise condo doesn't permit noisy work by residents or contractors on weekends & on weekdays only 8-5pm.

I think it'd be tough to argue that quiet Sundays are a restriction based on a religion.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8711


11/05/2019 8:08 PM  
Don't think it's a religious thing at all not to work on Sundays. There is a church that goes on Saturdays and don't believe in doing any work until after sunset that day. So not working on Sunday's would not encompass them.

It's not unusual for a HOA or Condo have a no work rule for certain hours or days. We don't allow it before 7 and after 5 pm. No weekends. That is because that is time most people are at home enjoying their homes. They don't want bothered with the sounds of contractors.

Former HOA President
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:508


11/06/2019 4:58 AM  
To be safe, they could just ban work on both Saturdays and Sundays, since that's in line with common practice and people want to use common areas and other amenities on the weekends.

However, some of your volunteers and board members may work full time Monday - Friday. When else are they going to to be able to take care of their HOA tasks, if not on the weekends? More people are out and about on Saturdays and having rest and quiet time on Sundays (just compare road traffic on those two days if you don't believe it), so a work ban on Sundays fits in with the behavior of the majority. This may have had its origin in religious practices, but we've gone well beyond that by now.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:818


11/06/2019 5:20 AM  
Good luck with that when you need a plumber, security or other tradesman on the property on a Sunday.
JenniferD8
(Michigan)

Posts:29


11/06/2019 5:51 AM  
Thanks for the quick responses! Our condo development consists of single story buildings spread out over 40 acres. Most residents are retired, so it's always quiet in the development. We also don't have a pool or any other amenities on the common grounds. With the development being in place for decades, I just find it odd to enact such a rule at this point in time. Trust me, there's more important issues that the board needs address.

We do have board members that still work full-time, so it will make their jobs a little tougher to accomplish - - but not impossible. It was suggested at the meeting to make exceptions for emergency repairs and snow plowing, however, the majority of the board didn't understand the reasoning behind it. I'm glad to hear that this type of rule is common in other condo developments. I was afraid that we were moving backwards, not forward.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1373


11/06/2019 6:20 AM  
Jennifer,

Did you attend the Board meeting in question? Or, are you on the Board?
ND
(PA)

Posts:366


11/06/2019 6:31 AM  
I wouldn't read too much into the new rule without first asking the Board for clarification. Why do they want to prevent things being done on Sunday? They say it has nothing to do with religion, but why is the rule even necessary?

You stated that your Board wants to enact a rule that will . . .

Posted By JenniferD8 on 11/05/2019 6:39 PM
ban all contractors, volunteers and board members from working in the common areas on Sundays.




I would think that your Board already has complete control of what contractors are working in the common areas at any point. All they need to do is tell contractors that work on Sunday is not permitted. No rule necessary.

Also interesting that they are trying to create a rule that limits when they themselves (the Board) are permitted to work . . . perhaps some sort of Board-level disagreements going on. And limiting when volunteers can volunteer is a little silly as well. Could be some of the only time that those individuals have to do whatever work they are doing. Maybe the Board is trying to get volunteers to stop volunteering.

JenniferD8
(Michigan)

Posts:29


11/06/2019 6:34 AM  
I forgot to state in my initial posting that I am on the board, so I was in attendance at the meeting.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1373


11/06/2019 6:49 AM  
OK - great.

I think I would consider setting up a small committee to consider the implication, and particularly to poll the community to see what the breakout is, while compiling the basic pros and cons. Put some time into it and develop some statistics to show what the community wants ... broad statements won’t be as helpful as data.

Since it has been so many years, there probably is no hurry.

The Board could also use this time to determine if they are on solid legal footing.

As a kind BTW, almost everyone who disagrees with a particular board’s direction, believes there are better things for that Board to be doing ... remember, in the end it simply comes down to votes. Being businesslike, and working to build consensus for your position will usually yield better results. Most boards can do more than one thing at a time. 🙂
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3865


11/06/2019 6:54 AM  
Posted By JenniferD8 on 11/05/2019 6:39 PM
My board recently had a meeting. Some board members proposed a new rule to ban all contractors, volunteers and board members from working in the common areas on Sundays. I feel that this is favoring one religion over another and could potentially cause the board some legal issues down the road -- i.e. religious discrimination. The board members in favor said the rule had nothing to do with religion. Umm, yes it's implied.

My question is -- do other condo HOAs have similar rules? Are they even enforceable?



It looks like Michigan is one of the 28 states that still has some form of blue laws.

See http://worldpopulationreview.com/states/blue-laws-by-state/

Originally based on religious grounds, these are justified on non-religious grounds today - or they would be considered unconstitutional. So I don't think there's a legal basis for a claim of religious discrimination, but that won't stop anyone from making those claims. If you lived in a non-blue-law state, I might respond differently.

On your question about enforcement, I'm wondering what kind of enforcement policies you have. Does your HOA have the right to fine for these infractions? Is your BOD going to have the courage to actually fine someone for doing something on common ground on Sundays? Seems bizarre. Can of worms, but I doubt it's illegal.






Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
JenniferD8
(Michigan)

Posts:29


11/06/2019 6:57 AM  
You are very perceptive, ND! I'm new on the board (within the last month). I have been attending all of the meetings over the past year to gain some insight on how the board functions, etc. I must admit that I have walked into a hornet's nest, since the board is very split in their goals/ideas for the development. I've found that most of them are there for self-serving purposes but also loathe one another. The meetings are less than productive and often result in them squabbling among themselves. I was assigned the grounds, which is what I was hoping for since the common areas have been neglected and need to be improved. I'm currently working on assembling a group of residents (i.e. volunteers) to assist with ideas and perhaps help on the grounds. I was caught off guard at the meeting that two of the board members insisted on this new rule. I, too, think it's silly and unnecessary.
JenniferD8
(Michigan)

Posts:29


11/06/2019 7:03 AM  
GeorgeS21 - Thanks for the wise words.
JenniferD8
(Michigan)

Posts:29


11/06/2019 7:10 AM  
The Board doesn't have any policy in place for levying fines. That's why I think having this new rule is silly, since they have no method for enforcing or penalizing a rule-breaker.
ND
(PA)

Posts:366


11/06/2019 7:45 AM  
Just curious . . .
How many Board Members do you have?
And do you have other non-Board Member Officers involved? (Typically Board Members also serve as Officers, but that's not always the case.)

Asking because it's important for you as a new Board Member to know the difference and if there are an excessive amount of people involved, that may be part of your overall issue . . . "too many cooks in the kitchen" sort of thing. Perhaps some of the folks involved are only Officers and not actually Board Members but are offering opinions, being part of the discussion, and trying to help make decisions when it's not really their place to do so.
PaulJ6
(New York)

Posts:351


11/06/2019 7:54 AM  
Posted By JenniferD8 on 11/05/2019 6:39 PM
My board recently had a meeting. Some board members proposed a new rule to ban all contractors, volunteers and board members from working in the common areas on Sundays. I feel that this is favoring one religion over another and could potentially cause the board some legal issues down the road -- i.e. religious discrimination. The board members in favor said the rule had nothing to do with religion. Umm, yes it's implied.

My question is -- do other condo HOAs have similar rules? Are they even enforceable?




I've never heard of a building allowing work on weekends, or in the evening.

So a "no-Sunday" rule is totally fine.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3865


11/06/2019 8:08 AM  
Posted By JenniferD8 on 11/06/2019 6:57 AM
I was assigned the grounds, which is what I was hoping for since the common areas have been neglected and need to be improved. I'm currently working on assembling a group of residents (i.e. volunteers) to assist with ideas and perhaps help on the grounds. I was caught off guard at the meeting that two of the board members insisted on this new rule. I, too, think it's silly and unnecessary.


Seems like the roadblock was intended for you. Maybe someone doesn't want to be shown up for the previous poor maintenance.

Two possible paths IMO

- Fight the rule.

- Ignore the rule and motivate volunteers to make the place look nice again. Tell the volunteers that there are no penalties for non-compliance and they should follow their own conscience. What do they want? What time do they have available?

As you can guess, I'm a strong fan of getting things accomplished that the rest of the community will appreciate. People will appreciate the better look. Don't think that people will appreciate your efforts if you get caught up in the squabbling. To me, it comes down to a one-or-the-other decision.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:508


11/06/2019 9:04 AM  
Something to keep in mind: many contractors charge more for evening and weekend service, so your finances can drive the board where it wants to go without actually enacting a rule.
JenniferD8
(Michigan)

Posts:29


11/06/2019 9:22 AM  
I am a big supporter of volunteers and promoting community involvement. I plan to keep plowing ahead and improving the grounds. The residents that I've communicated with thus far are excited and willing to lend a hand. I'm hoping to use that excitement to band the community together and make everyone proud of our development. Perhaps once some of the board members start to see the positive changes, then they will take notice and either join the movement or step down.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3865


11/06/2019 9:26 AM  
Posted By JenniferD8 on 11/06/2019 9:22 AM
I am a big supporter of volunteers and promoting community involvement. I plan to keep plowing ahead and improving the grounds. The residents that I've communicated with thus far are excited and willing to lend a hand. I'm hoping to use that excitement to band the community together and make everyone proud of our development. Perhaps once some of the board members start to see the positive changes, then they will take notice and either join the movement or step down.


Makes a lot of sense.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
JenniferD8
(Michigan)

Posts:29


11/06/2019 9:27 AM  
We have a total of 7 members on the Board. Of the seven, three board members are also officers.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:508


11/06/2019 9:42 AM  
Posted By JenniferD8 on 11/06/2019 9:22 AM
I am a big supporter of volunteers and promoting community involvement. I plan to keep plowing ahead and improving the grounds. The residents that I've communicated with thus far are excited and willing to lend a hand. I'm hoping to use that excitement to band the community together and make everyone proud of our development. Perhaps once some of the board members start to see the positive changes, then they will take notice and either join the movement or step down.




If you're going to be using a lot of volunteers, be sure your association carries adequate liability insurance in case someone is "injured on the job" and expects the association to pay their medical bills. Talk to your insurance agent (and do NOT use volunteers for snow removal - you're asking to be sued). Also consider getting signed waivers/release forms from your volunteers, although these won't necessarily protect you 100%.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6703


11/06/2019 1:48 PM  
CathyA is right. Our volunteers are NOT cored to climb ladders or involvement themselves with any electrical or mechanical items.

What if there's compromise whereby only "noisy" work is forbidden on Sunday's, e.g., leaf blowing, weed whacking, mechanical tree trimming, etc.

How, by the way, can only two of a 7-member board create a new rule??

I agree that volunteers are an impiratna part of communities and committees often can be good pipelines for further board service.
JenniferD8
(Michigan)

Posts:29


11/06/2019 6:56 PM  
I checked and our insurance covers medical expenses up to $5000 for volunteers. I don't think this is enough. A trip via an ambulance and a visit to the Emergency department will quickly eat that up. I'll check with the board on increasing the amount. I envision the volunteers will mostly help with planting shrubs, perennials, and maybe weld a paint brush once in a while.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6703


11/06/2019 7:01 PM  
Are you sure, Jennifer, that the policy permits them on ladders, etc.? Are you sure these "volunteers" refer to committee members and not directors?

I'm not at all strong about insurance, but it seems very generous of your policy to cover $5000 in injuries to volunteers??

(Even our custodians in their contract aren't allowed to do work more than 12 feet above their heads)
JenniferD8
(Michigan)

Posts:29


11/06/2019 7:04 PM  
KerryL1 -- I like the compromise that you proposed. Definitely workable. There were 4 board members that voted in favor of the rule. As I mentioned, there's a lot of infighting and posturing with the board members. There was an unofficial meeting a day prior to the official meeting between 4 of the board members. Those individuals voted in favor of the rule. I think of the board as an onion. Lots of layers and a tad dirty.
SueW6
(Michigan)

Posts:608


11/06/2019 7:37 PM  
“Unofficial meeting”? No such thing.

The meeting had to have been noticed to the members according to the bylaws.

Motions cant be made at a work session either.

Anyone there know Roberts Rules?
JenniferD8
(Michigan)

Posts:29


11/06/2019 8:07 PM  
Oh, they won't be on ladders. When I mentioned painting, I was thinking of our wooden posts for our signage and wooden guardrails. They will always have two feet on the ground.

We do have separate insurance coverage listed for board and committee members.
JenniferD8
(Michigan)

Posts:29


11/06/2019 8:20 PM  
I agree. There's a lot of dysfunction with this board. Four board members met a day prior to discuss issues ahead of a special meeting that was called. Being new on the board, I feel that I must pick my battles, but it is frustrating. Our bylaws only state that a meeting notice is required for the annual meeting. The State of Michigan doesn't require open meetings for condo HOAs. I think the board should follow this practice, since transparency is needed in our development.

As for Robert's Rules, we only have myself and another board member that makes reference to them in meetings. Again, it's frustrating.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3865


11/07/2019 5:11 AM  
Posted By JenniferD8 on 11/06/2019 8:20 PM
The State of Michigan doesn't require open meetings for condo HOAs. I think the board should follow this practice, since transparency is needed in our development.


PA is not an open meeting state either.

But ... this is not about the rights of homeowners to prior notice and attendance at a BOD meeting.

This is about the right of a BOD member to prior notice and attendance at a BOD meeting.

Under our bylaws, any gathering of a majority of the BOD members IS a BOD meeting. And no BOD member can be excluded from prior notice and attendance rights. Are you sure there isn't any provision in your bylaws that would prevent a selective gathering where a duly elected member of the BOD can be shut out? Very odd indeed.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6703


11/07/2019 8:34 AM  
NpS gives you something to look into. If you're incorporated (and you probably are) look at your state's corporations codes for further info.
CjC


Posts:202


11/07/2019 11:33 AM  
We do not allow and yardwork like grass cutting, edging or anything that is using electrical tools before 9:30am on Saturdays or sundays and after 6pm on those days.
JenniferD8
(Michigan)

Posts:29


11/07/2019 2:13 PM  
Our bylaws do state that: meetings by written notice to each Director of the time, place and purpose of such meeting, at least three days prior to the date of such meeting shall be called

I realize that the 4 members meeting a day prior to the actual meeting was in violation of our bylaws. If they are the majority, they would just overrule any complaint that was filed by the other three board members regarding the illegal meeting. Correct? What would you suggest?
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8827


11/07/2019 3:17 PM  
Jen

4 BOD Members meeting is in itself not improper. It depends on what they did and/or did not do.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6703


11/07/2019 3:26 PM  
But it was improper, John, because they did not give the notice required by their bylaws to the other directors of this "meeting."

Hmmm, Jennifer--what to do? At your next board meeting you three who were excluded or even just you can go on record in the minutes as complain about the majority ignoring your governing documents. You three could "censure" them on the record. But I don't know if you want to get so adversarial with them.

By the way, what is your HOA's policy for making rules? Ours is based on CA state law. Does MI have any statutes about this?
JenniferD8
(Michigan)

Posts:29


11/07/2019 7:42 PM  
The four members met the day prior to discuss the new rule that was going to be proposed and passed at the official meeting. So, it wasn't a social event, but board business.

Being so new to the board, I'm trying to play nice, however, I think the unprofessionalism and infighting is unacceptable. I wanted to be on the board to start making some much needed changes/improvements to the development. Now, I'm questioning my own sanity. Lol!

The development is currently self-managed. Would a property management company help with the enforcement of bylaws and keeping the board on task? Or, could it have the potential of just adding another layer to the chaos?
JenniferD8
(Michigan)

Posts:29


11/07/2019 7:46 PM  
KerryL1 -- I like your suggestion to go on record with the complaint. Unfortunately, the next board meeting isn't until April. For some reason, the board only meets April - October. They do, however, conduct some business via email.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3865


11/07/2019 8:59 PM  
Posted By JenniferD8 on 11/07/2019 7:42 PM
The four members met the day prior to discuss the new rule that was going to be proposed and passed at the official meeting. So, it wasn't a social event, but board business.


I like that you are picking your battles carefully.
As I see things, you have 2.
- Improving the appearance of the grounds. My impression is that you will be very successful and gain the respect of the homeowners.
- Not allowing other BOD members to hold a meeting behind your back. The rule that you as a BOD member are entitled to prior notice of any BOD meeting is essential to the legitimacy of your organization. I like what Kerry said. I would go a step further. I would demand minutes from that supposed pre-meeting. It was not a pre-meeting. It was a meeting of the BOD. Minutes are required. You are entitled to a record of what was discussed and what was decided. Holding the meeting without you cannot be reversed. But not producing minutes can be reversed. Demand it. IMO, you shouldn't show any weakness on this one issue. If you don't like their response, contact the HOA lawyer directly yourself. Ask for written verification that the supposed "pre-meeting" was in fact a meeting of the BOD, you were entitled to prior notice, and minutes must be produced. If they say you are not authorized to add legal costs, tell them that they are not authorized to hold a BOD meeting without you.

Posted By JenniferD8 on 11/07/2019 7:42 PM
The development is currently self-managed. Would a property management company help with the enforcement of bylaws and keeping the board on task? Or, could it have the potential of just adding another layer to the chaos?


As I said above, you've got 2 important battles to work on. Certainly, you should speak to other BOD members about it, but unless you get support to move in that direction, too much to take on IMO.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3865


11/07/2019 8:59 PM  
Posted By JenniferD8 on 11/07/2019 7:42 PM
The four members met the day prior to discuss the new rule that was going to be proposed and passed at the official meeting. So, it wasn't a social event, but board business.


I like that you are picking your battles carefully.
As I see things, you have 2.
- Improving the appearance of the grounds. My impression is that you will be very successful and gain the respect of the homeowners.
- Not allowing other BOD members to hold a meeting behind your back. The rule that you as a BOD member are entitled to prior notice of any BOD meeting is essential to the legitimacy of your organization. I like what Kerry said. I would go a step further. I would demand minutes from that supposed pre-meeting. It was not a pre-meeting. It was a meeting of the BOD. Minutes are required. You are entitled to a record of what was discussed and what was decided. Holding the meeting without you cannot be reversed. But not producing minutes can be reversed. Demand it. IMO, you shouldn't show any weakness on this one issue. If you don't like their response, contact the HOA lawyer directly yourself. Ask for written verification that the supposed "pre-meeting" was in fact a meeting of the BOD, you were entitled to prior notice, and minutes must be produced. If they say you are not authorized to add legal costs, tell them that they are not authorized to hold a BOD meeting without you.

Posted By JenniferD8 on 11/07/2019 7:42 PM
The development is currently self-managed. Would a property management company help with the enforcement of bylaws and keeping the board on task? Or, could it have the potential of just adding another layer to the chaos?


As I said above, you've got 2 important battles to work on. Certainly, you should speak to other BOD members about it, but unless you get support to move in that direction, too much to take on IMO.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:508


11/08/2019 5:10 AM  
Posted By JenniferD8 on 11/07/2019 7:42 PM


The development is currently self-managed. Would a property management company help with the enforcement of bylaws and keeping the board on task? Or, could it have the potential of just adding another layer to the chaos?




Just one comment on this: a PM works at the direction of the board, not the other way around. So the PM would have no right to tell any board members that they cannot meet, and since this small group appears determined to skirt the bylaws, it's unlikely that anything a PM says would stop them.

On the other hand, some external structure may be helpful, but a lot depends on the individuals involved. Are they more of the "go along to get along" or the "nobody tells me what to do" type?

(I still don't understand this group's motivation for having a no-Sunday work rule. As I'd mentioned earlier, they already have a perfectly good financial reason not to have work done on Sundays since many contractors charge more for service calls outside of normal business hours. Surely nobody would argue that paying more is a good idea.)
DonaldT4
(Massachusetts)

Posts:6


11/08/2019 7:21 AM  
Jennifer:

- We also had a no-Sunday rule (for move-ins and move-outs), and the rule came about because two of the board members thought that Sunday should be a "day of rest." I felt similarly to you: not everyone thinks that Sunday is the Sabbath (or Sabbath-equivalent). I suggested that we raise the question at the annual meeting and let the whole association informally vote on it. The other board members agreed, and a majority of attendees voted against the Sunday move ban.

- Our HOA also has a clause that says all meetings require a written notice before meetings. That never happened, until the board voted to do something that one member didn't like. When that board member raised a fuss, the board simply repeated the meeting, this time with the required notice, and re-passed the measure. My suggestion would be to use a technicality only as a very last resort.

JenniferD8
(Michigan)

Posts:29


11/08/2019 10:07 AM  
I'm going to take Option 1 at this time and concentrate on the grounds. I will, however, keep Option 2 in my back pocket. I want to get my feet firmly planted in the HOA board world before I tackle this one. I suspect that there will be more of these meetings in the future. My hope is to slowly make changes over the next year and continue to read this forum to gain knowledge. (I'm so glad I found this site!) When board elections occur next Fall, there will be two openings. Hopefully, I can recruit two competent individuals that will be able to unseat the existing board members.
JenniferD8
(Michigan)

Posts:29


11/08/2019 10:11 AM  
Thanks for the clarification of the PM. It would probably just add another element to the dysfunction

I completely agree with you on the no-Sunday work rule. I'm finding that these board members enjoy arguing with one another. It's all rather petty.
JenniferD8
(Michigan)

Posts:29


11/08/2019 10:14 AM  
Thanks, DonaldT4. I like the idea of taking it to the annual meeting for a vote. If the board proposes any additional rules, then I will suggest this idea.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8827


11/08/2019 10:21 AM  
Jen

Asking for owners to vote on BOD Rules & Regulations is setting up a deterrent to the BOD doing its job. The BOD must have the authority to do what they were elected to do even when you disagree. Usually, owners can overturn R&R's.
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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > New Condo HOA Rule - No Working On Sundays



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