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Subject: Metered Water to Private Property -- Legal?
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Author Messages
MichaelK27
(Massachusetts)

Posts:2


06/18/2020 12:35 AM  
Hello, new here.

I learned yesterday, that somehow our condo associated has decided to run a metered water line to private property adjacent to our condo. Basically, 2 out of 4 trustees own adjacent land to our condominium. To save money, they are using the condo's main water line, and thus the condo's funds to pay for water use on their private property.

We received our annual budget from 2019, with a note for "reimbursement" for water "TBA". It's half way to 2021, and they (2 Trustees) still haven't paid citing "complex calculations" based on photos of they have taken of the meters.

It feels pretty wrong that our condo fees are being used to pay for water on private property, even with reimbursement. I'm not sure if I'm being out of line in this assumption? Honestly, I am surprised to hear this and a Google search doesn't return any results for a situation like this. Up to 2017, these 2 Trustees had been leaching water for the 20 years for free via garden hose. After complaining about it, they said they would install their own water lines, along with a sprinkler system. But, I had no idea that they were planning to tap our Condo's main water lines to achieve this. I'm not sure how this was even decided, if agreed by Trustees, and I also don't know why non-Trustee weren't notified or asked about this.

Any thoughts or advise?

To be honest, our association is very corrupt. We have 8 units in the condo, and 4 Trustees that were friends or had a relationship prior to purchasing. As is, because they do have a monopoly slightly over 50%, it's impossible to do anything or make any changes. I'd be curious about other items, but trying to stay on topic. Our condo is located in Boston Mass if that matters.

Thanks!
Michael
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9413


06/18/2020 4:55 AM  
Legal? Is anyone going to go to jail over this? No. So it's just a business decision. It should be written into your documents about this set up. That way if someone is to purchase the land later they are aware of the set up.

I am confused about what this water supply is being used for. Is it their sprinkler system? Is there a home? What is the purpose?

Former HOA President
MichaelK27
(Massachusetts)

Posts:2


06/18/2020 5:22 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 06/18/2020 4:55 AM
Legal? Is anyone going to go to jail over this? No. So it's just a business decision. It should be written into your documents about this set up. That way if someone is to purchase the land later they are aware of the set up.

I am confused about what this water supply is being used for. Is it their sprinkler system? Is there a home? What is the purpose?




How is it in the Condominium/Trust's benefit to pay for watering private property, regardless if they intend to pay it back or not? Also, it seems very easy to use the meter readings to short-pay or take advantage of the situation. It is for sprinkling grass on adjacent empty private property.

I digged into this a little bit more. Apparently this is called sub-metering. In Massachusetts, there are so many requirements to do any sub-metering in a condo. It certainly would be against the law to sub-meter the individual units. So in that sense, how on earth could it be legal to sub-meter private property?
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1077


06/18/2020 5:30 AM  
Yeah, it's wrong. If they fail to reimburse, then it's theft. The question is, how do you want to fight something that probably costs less than a lawyer would?

You could try sending the board a cease-and-desist letter and see what happens.

The other option is to rally the rest of your neighbors and conduct a recall election to remove the two offenders. Your bylaws should address the necessary steps. That is the cheapest solution, but you'll need to have others who are willing to replace the bad actors, and this is where recall efforts can come unglued.

(Have 4 board members in an 8-unit community is nuts, not least because it's impossible to break tie votes. Double check your bylaws to see if that's required - I'd expect 3 at the most.)
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9577


06/18/2020 8:30 AM  
Posted By MichaelK27 on 06/18/2020 5:22 AM
Posted By MelissaP1 on 06/18/2020 4:55 AM
Legal? Is anyone going to go to jail over this? No. So it's just a business decision. It should be written into your documents about this set up. That way if someone is to purchase the land later they are aware of the set up.

I am confused about what this water supply is being used for. Is it their sprinkler system? Is there a home? What is the purpose?




How is it in the Condominium/Trust's benefit to pay for watering private property, regardless if they intend to pay it back or not? Also, it seems very easy to use the meter readings to short-pay or take advantage of the situation. It is for sprinkling grass on adjacent empty private property.

I digged into this a little bit more. Apparently this is called sub-metering. In Massachusetts, there are so many requirements to do any sub-metering in a condo. It certainly would be against the law to sub-meter the individual units. So in that sense, how on earth could it be legal to sub-meter private property?




We sub-metered our units in a MA association in the late 90's.
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