Thursday, December 14, 2017
Home and Garden

Community Living: Leak repair may be unit's responsibility

Leak repair may be unit's responsibility

Q: We have water leak problems in our building as it is over 25 years old. Does the rule of owner's responsibility still apply to damaged walls? The condominium has always assumed responsibility for leaks in common pipes and the owners take responsibility if the leak comes in his unit. Are we correct?

A: First check your documents to see if they have different requirements. Most documents do not require the association to do more than replace unfinished drywall. Regardless of the source of the water, each party would be responsible for his own repairs for the loss and damage. A better source for this information would be your association attorney and your insurance agent. That brings up a point that I have made in previous columns. That is the requirement for an owner to be insured. About seven years ago, the state changed the statutes and required each unit to have property insurance. Since then, however, the law was modified and owners are not required to provide their own insurance. That, however, does not relieve the owner from paying for his own loss. If water comes from another source but damages a unit, the owner would be responsible for his own loss.

Board must keep up all common areas

Q: We requested an agenda item to be included at the next condominium board meeting. I know the information was conveyed to the board but the board dismissed the item without any discussion or vote. In our 2011 reserve budget, they included repaving a parking lot that is listed as a limited area parking lot. Our documents do not address limited common areas but the statutes do. They say that a limited common element shall be maintained by those entitled to use the limited common elements.

Should this be a reserve item? It seems to me that if an owner has rights to a limited element and the statutes say they must maintain them, why should the other owners pay for paving?

A: I read two parts to your question. The first is the agenda question. The board has a responsibility to operate and maintain the condominium. An owner with a question or request does not have the right to demand an item be discussed at a board meeting. Owners do have a right to send a letter requesting an answer to a question but that would be outside, not during board meetings.

Your question really involves the maintenance of limited common areas/common elements. Understand that the section to which you refer in the statutes places an obligation on the unit owner who has a limited common area assigned to their unit. That obligation does not include the total repairs or replacement as the limited common elements wear out. It places an obligation on the unit owner to use the area properly and keep the area clean and safe.

The board has the responsibility to maintain all common elements and that includes those that are limited to specific units. From the information provided, it appears that the board has properly included the parking paving in the reserve budget.

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