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RI - It's Not all About You
The executive board at a condominium association in Providence, R.I., decided to remove the community picnic tables that had been on the common area for the past five to 10 years. The tables were not used much, had begun to get worn and unsightly, and management was having a tough time keeping up with the pigeons that used them as target practice. The board made a decision that they were not worth the cost or trouble and had them removed. A few weeks later, Ms. Erble, a very vocal yet non-participatory unit owner, sent a threatening letter to the board. Ms. Erble’s letter stated that she regularly sat at the picnic tables, and that the board had no right to remove her tables. According to the letter, Ms. Erble had a right to have picnic tables in the common area, and if they were not replaced within the week, she would file a lawsuit against the board. Scenarios like the one above happen all of the time. Unit owners often believe that they have the right to dictate what occurs on the common property based on their individual desires and preferences. What many unit owners fail to understand is the meaning behind the word “common” and what it means to live in a community.