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Ask the HOA Expert: Must All Owners Share The Cost?

Written by on Tuesday, 26 August 2014 12:55 pm
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Question: I live in a condominium with three buildings and the one I live in has an elevator that needs substantial repairs. The Home Owner's Association Board plans to assess all repair costs to our building. Can the board charge only our building or must all owners share the cost?

Answer: Unless the governing documents specifically allocate elevator expenses and repairs to certain units, the costs are spread among all unit owners and that can't be changed unless 100% of all owners agree to it.

Question: Our board has allowed unit owners to enclose patios, replace concrete sidewalks with pavers, add bay windows, greenhouse rooms, skylights and roofs to cover new rooms. The rationale was that such improvements increase the value of all units.

Answer: What you describe constitutes expansion into or modification of the common area. The board has no authority to expand owner use of common area. Any redefinition or reconfiguration of common area must be approved by an appropriate majority of owners which may be 100%. However, what is done is done. The board should deny further such encroachments into common area.

Whenever the board grants a legal modification, like carpeting an existing patio, the approval should be done in writing and include the condition that all maintenance and repairs are the owner's responsibility as well as any damage caused to common area resulting from those modifications.

Question: We have a homeowner who is having cable TV installed but the cable company won't do the installation without the HOA's approval due to the concern of running a visible cable under the eves of the roof. Should we have the owner sign a waiver accepting responsibility for damages resulting from the installation?

Answer: Generally, the board should have a written policy restricting or prohibiting cable, phone and dish installations that are attached to the buildings for the very reasons you point out. At the very least, these installations should be out of view. Cable TV wiring can usually be run in crawlspaces or attics to minimize exterior cable. It is more labor intensive but the end result is the building exterior looks cleaner and with fewer holes in the siding that could leak water. Satellite dishes should not be attached to the siding or roof unless these are the only locations where good signal is achievable. Erecting various out of sight 15-20' pole locations on the property allows the service providers places to hang their equipment without resorting to building installations.

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  About the author, Richard Thompson

Individual news stories are based upon the opinions of the writer and does not reflect the opinion of Realty Times.
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