Monday, June 11, 2007
Help Me Howard: Condo versus Kid
Over the river and through Hollywood to grandmother's house we go, but if the condo says, no way the kid can't come play. What is a grandma to do? Well, she turns to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- When Rose Barrett walks out of her condo every afternoon, she has an extra spring in her step.
Rose Barrett: "I was real sick, real bad, didn't think I was going to make it. This little guy coming here gave me a reason to get up and get going again."
The little guy that restored her health is her 5-year-old grandson Luis.
Luis: "'L' for Luis."
Who she takes care of every day after school.
Rose Barrett: "He is a good little kid, very smart."
Good kid, good story, big problem.
Rose Barrett: "He said, 'No, as of now, you don't have that kid over anymore. That's it, he's not coming here anymore.'"
The he that demanded Luis stay away from the 55 and older condos is the association president.
Rose Barrett: "The dictator. I call him the dictator now."
Rose says it makes no sense. Luis stays in her condo, never goes outside and never makes any noise.
Rose Barrett: "He gets off the bus, comes in here and is stuck in this place, and we do activities inside."
Then, when his mother gets off of work, she comes and picks him up.
Rose Barrett: "He doesn't reside here. He doesn't live here."
And, after reading her documents, Rose believes Luis' afternoon visits are allowed.
Rose Barrett: "Children under such age may be permitted to visit and temporarily reside."
When she told her friendly condo association representative that, he politely responded.
Rose Barrett: "Said he is going to turn me in to a lawyer, and I'm going to pay for all the legal expenses: 'Whatever it costs, you are going to get stuck with the bill.'"
Not fair says Rose.
Rose Barrett: "I was shocked, really shocked, and he hurt me, and he upset me so much that I started having heart pains and had to go to bed."
Rose thought about giving up and obeying the condo president's order.
But then realized that would mean she would have to give up seeing her grandson every day.
Rose Barrett: "I took orders from my father, then I got married, I took orders from my husband. I ain't got nobody to take orders anymore or give me orders or yell at me and tell me I have to do this and have do that."
But does she have to keep Luis away?
Luis: "Help grandma, Howard."
You heard him, Howard. What do you think?
Howard Finkelstein: "This is wrong. Even though this is a 55 and older community, they don't have the right to tell you that your grandkids cannot visit you as often as you want, and even if they had that rule it would be unreasonable, unenforceable and illegal, so Luis can and should visit his grandmother."
When we spoke to a condo board member, she told us people came there to retire and not have kids running around. When we spoke to the association attorney she said she was unaware of this problem. The board had not complained to her, and she could not comment on it.
Bottom line, Howard says, Luis can visit.
Luis: "Is the movie all done?"
Yeah, Luis, we are done, and now Rose can relax and spend time with the little guy who helped her get healthy again.
Rose Barrett: "I think we should be allowed to come and go and be in peace."
Patrick Fraser: "A board can block kids from using the pool, the clubhouse, etcetera. The bottom line, if you want to avoid an overbearing condo board, get involved, get on board, get on the board and live in an association where common sense is common."
Condo commandos confounding you? Need a lawyer to pay them a visit? Contact us. The law is not child's play, but it's so simple we can handle it.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: