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Community Living: Documents should reveal whose responsibility it is to pay for plumbing woes

Check docs for details about plumbing problem responsibility

Q: My kitchen sink recently became completely stopped up. I called a plumber, who snaked the pipes from the roof vent. He reported that he cleared my discharge drain as well as the unit above me. I sent the bill to the management company but they never replied to my request to pay the bill. Could you advise me what law covers this situation? Also, could you provide the state department to report the management company?

A: To determine responsibility for plumbing blockages, you must read your documents. Each condominium has different areas of responsibility for plumbing stoppages. As for management responsibilities in this situation, they have no responsibility to pay the bill as that would fall under the board of directors. If your documents say that the condominium association is responsible for such blockage, you must send a letter to the board of directors with the invoice and refer to the document section involving your problem. You can call the Division of Condominiums at (850) 488-1122 but frankly the matter is primarily between you and the board of directors and I do not believe the division can help.

Board should seek legal counsel regarding under-55 occupant

Q: Our documents clearly state that as an adult community, all residents are required to have one permanent resident who is 55 years or older and no occupant under the age of 18. Recently the board allowed an 18-year-old daughter to live in her grandmother's home when the grandmother was placed in a nursing home. The home was trashed and later was foreclosed by the bank. We now have a similar situation where we have a new 18-year-old daughter living in her grandmother's home alone. Are we to allow this to happen again when it is clear that we are an adult community?

A: Do not compare one 18-year-old by another 18-year-old as it seems to comply with your documents and the Federal Adult Community Codes. I am sure that the board is compassionate in this situation but they must seek a legal answer to the question. I would suggest strongly that they ask the association's attorney for an opinion letter. As for the second young woman, do not judge her by your past experience. Not all young people are bad. At some age a person must accept maturity, and some enter this at a younger age than others. You cannot look into another home at how they are keeping it clean or in a state of disrepair unless the exterior affects the community's appearance and values. I would suggest that you write the board of directors a letter with your concerns and ask them to discuss the problem with the association's attorney.

Need new insulation? Petition to get it on the agenda

Q: I recently had an energy audit of my condominium unit by the power company. They reported that my doors and windows were well insulated and caulked. The only suggestion is to install additional insulation in the attic. Since the condominium board is responsible for the roof, would they be responsible for the attic? Also, who is responsible for cleaning the dryer vents in the roof?

A: Even if the association has responsibility to maintain this area, they may not have a duty to improve or add new insulation. More than likely they would need to have the members approve the improvement and vote at an annual meeting. If you want to add the insulation at your expense, you should send the board a letter and ask for their approval. Or petition the board to add the improvements to the next annual meeting agenda for the members to vote to add insulation. As for the vents, that would be a document requirement for either the association or the owner to clean these pipes.

Richard White is a licensed community associations manager. Write to him at 6039 Cypress Gardens Blvd., No. 201, Winter Haven, FL 33884-4115. Please include your name and city.


Community Living: Documents should reveal whose responsibility it is to pay for plumbing woes 09/10/10 [Last modified: Friday, September 10, 2010 4:30am]
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