Speaking of condominium issues, that Maui jury award of nearly $3.9 million to a Molokai couple who were harassed by their condominium’s board of directors has probably rattled a lot of volunteer board members in condos across the state.
Intense political wars within condominium boards are all too common, although in this case things certainly went to the extreme!
The case was also picked up by a number of mainland blogs that deal with condominium legal issues, including the HOA Law Blog, Court.us (which links to an MSNBC story), Ward Lucas’s Blog (with a catchy headline, ‘Think Las Vegas HOA Crime is Bad? Try Hawaii!’), and The Privatopia Papers (written by Evan McKenzie, author of “Privatopia: Homeowner Associations and the Rise of Residential Private Government”).
For more of the gory details, check out the plaintiff’s trial memo. It’s in legalese, but it has some graphic descriptions of what went on at this Molokai condo.
A comment on the Privatopia blog raises a significant issue:
According to a story at themolokainews.com/2012/03/27/ke-nani-kai-residents-receive-3-87-million-jury-award-against-condo-association/
“Aldrich, who didn’t join the Bevills lawsuit because he couldn’t afford the $900,000 of attorney fees…”
Unless you literally have a million dollars to spend, it is unlikely you will receive justice from a court of law when being abused by your HOA.
As Professor McKenzie said two years ago:
“The transaction costs of enforcing an owner’s rights are so great that they are hardly ever able to do it.”
With so many people living in condominiums, and such potential for conflict and abuse, is there a need for more places where people can turn for assistance without having to hire lawyers and go to court?