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Association opts out of deck repairs

Question: We had severe termite damage to our 18-unit condo complex. The association had the termites and the damage taken care of and assessed the units for the cost.

So far, so good. The association has refused to pay for repairs to our original wooden decks, since the governing documents state the decks are to be maintained by the individual unit owners.

I contend that there was nothing a unit owner could have done individually to prevent termite damage to his decks, and that the association was negligent in not having the termites exterminated before the damage became severe. What is your opinion? _ Tampa

Answer: Apparently your governing documents refer to the wooden decks as "limited" common elements, limited to the use and upkeep of the unit to which they are assigned.

In that case, the board of management could have taken one of two routes, as I see it.

They could have repaired all the damage and then prorated the charges individually back to each deck owner.

Or, acting as they did, let each owner of a damaged deck make his/her own repairs.

They probably took the second course of action because some folks could just make repairs while others could use the opportunity to make a complete replacement of their deck.

You can take the board to court for negligence if you want to, but I think you just want the other unit owners to pay for part of your damaged private deck.

Another helpful role for dogs

READER FEEDBACK: All associations now seem to accept seeing-eye dogs, but I feel they should also be told about hearing dogs, which act as the ears for people who are deaf.

These dogs are specially trained and certified. For more information call Dogs for the Deaf in Oregon, (503) 826-9220. _ St. Petersburg

Jack Holeman is a longtime condominium manager, owner and board member. He welcomes your questions. Write to Jack Holeman, Condo Line, The Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Sorry, he can't take phone calls or provide personal replies. You can call the state Bureau of Condominium

office with your questions at (800) 226-6028 or (904) 488-0725. Or write to the Bureau of Condominium, Correspondence Unit, 725 S Bronough St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1033.