As we find ourselves approaching Valentine’s Day, the subject of love comes to mind, with pictures of hearts, flowers, and Cupid as far as the eye can see – in every subway station, on every bus stop, and in your local Duane Reade, as you resist the temptation to buy a heart-shaped box of chocolates for “no one in particular.” Maybe we find ourselves looking around those places we frequent often – the local Starbucks, the gym, our office building or apartment building – to see if Cupid’s arrow will find a conveniently-located target. After all, when people spend a certain amount of time together, friendly and romantic connections are bound to happen.
However, if you’re a member of your building’s board and your Valentine’s Day dreamboat is a building employee, contrary to what the Beatles taught us, the love you take may only be equal to the problems you make. Your relationship can create a host of problems you may not have anticipated. As a member of your building’s board, a romantic entanglement with a building employee could create a conflict of interest, disclosure of which is strongly encouraged by applicable law. Should an issue come up before the board regarding your love interest, you are also supposed to abstain from voting, for example, if the keeper of your heart wants to hire additional staff or recommends termination of a part-time doorman. Regardless of how the board votes, building residents may wonder whether your budding romance affected the board’s decision. Other residents may also feel reluctant to report complaints about your better half give your position on the board.
Ultimately, the choice to pursue the object of your affection is yours, but given the potential consequences, it just might be better to look for love outside of your building.