Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Now HE expects compassion

Three years ago, I was a newbie on our condo association board and found myself embroiled in my first controversy. Nearly 30% of the units were illegally rented. All three of us on the board admitted it was a problem. The issue was how to deal with it.

Our then-treasurer, a young man who loves Ayn Rand and proclaimed himself "all about personal responsibility," wanted to evict all the renters within 30 days. We could have legally done that since they were living here with invalid leases. "Rules are rules," he insisted. 

But the renters signed those leases in good faith! It was the unit owners who rented their condos illegally that were at fault. I didn't want to toss those poor people out into the autumn night. (The 30 days would have been up on November 30.) We fought and fought and finally agreed on a humane compromise -- all renters had to be out in six months, or May 30.

Fast forward three years: guess who wants special permission to rent his unit because of hardship. Yes, it's Ayn Randman. He can't sell his unit for a decent price because of the corona virus, can't afford to pay the mortgage and assessments because he lost his job, and wants to rent it out for a year while he moves in with friends. But "rules are rules," and rentals aren't allowed. Wah wah. 

It gets better. While he has a tenant waiting in the wings, Mr. Personal Responsibility has also asked those of us now on the board to look the other way because he can't scrape together the money to pay a lawyer to put together a rental agreement. Wah wah.

What happened to "rules are rules?" What happened to being "all about personal responsibility?"

Of course, I'm going to vote to let him rent his place because it's the decent thing to do for a neighbor who is struggling during a pandemic. I suggested we let the association lawyer review the rental agreement and we'll absorb the cost (about $200) because a properly-worded lease protects us, too.

But galls me. It really does. 

There's a line from the Hal David-Burt Bacharach song, "Alfie," that keeps running through my mind, "If life belongs only to the strong, what will you lend on an old golden rule?"


  1. Tables turned on that snotty pants! He's lucky the board is genuinely concerned about the tenants.

  2. That's karma in a big way.