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How Bad Do You Have To Be?

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Being BAD got Michael Jackson to the top of the charts.  It could get you kicked out of High Rise Society. You could be sent packing, your apartment sold at auction, the proceeds used to pay any amounts the building says you owe, and what’s left tossed to you like a bone.

How can that be after you spent two million dollars for a two bedroom.  Doesn’t matter.  Most buildings have documents that say if you engaged in Objectionable Conduct –- the High Rise Society definition of Being BAD – you can be sent on your way.

mj_badSo how BAD do you have to be?  It’s sort of like pornography.  You know it when you see it. Recently one penthouse owner was found to be BAD for pounding on the walls of his fellow penthouse owner, and shouting obscenities and death threats.  A tribesman who left dog poop in his apartment for his neighbors to smell while he went off to vacation in the Caribbean (this not having been the first such occasion) was BAD.  Some lawyer (who else) who spent fifteen years suing and being sued by his building for not paying maintenance and letting his air conditioner drip on the people below, and generally doing his best to make life miserable for everyone was BAD.  And a pain in the neck, who made noise and dirt and harassed security guards and defaced building property, was BAD.

Now that the BAD genie is out of the bottle, I promise you the list of things that are going to be found to be BAD will expand as rapidly as Americans’ waistlines, eventually encompassing conduct you thought was good, or at least not BAD.

But the real question is who gets to decide if you are BAD.  It used to be an objective judge in a courtroom.   Not anymore. There was a big case a few years back (I talk about it in The Co-op Bible) where the court said don’t bother us.  It’s for the board, with approval of owners to decide because they know best.

Here’s the real news flash – and what you should take away from all this.  Now the courts have said it’s okay for the board on its own to decide if a fellow tribesman is Being BAD (assuming that’s what the building’s documents provide)..  Say there’s a board of seven directors. As few as four of them can rule that you are BAD, and sentence you to the ultimate sacrifice — forcing you to sell your apartment and banishing you forever from High Rise Society.  That’s what I call scary – scary enough to sit bolt upright in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.  Because those of you who live in High Rise Society know how dispassionately objective directors are – as thoughtful and unbiased as members of The Supreme Court.

What happens if there are a few people on the board who hate your guts?  I’m not saying they’ll play the BAD card if you’re squeaky clean and quiet as a mouse.  They’ll look stupid and could get into legal trouble.  But most things aren’t that black and white.  How many complaints do there have to be against you, and by whom, before the board considers ousting you for Being BAD, and will the measure be the same for friend and foe alike?  If you know what’s good for you, you won’t be the one to put it to the test.

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