Q: We own a condo townhouse that has serious flaking of paint on the exterior of our property. You cannot help but notice the poor appearance and I’m embarrassed when friends come to visit. This defect was reported two years ago to the management/board and still no repair. What recourse do I have? Can I hire a contractor myself and submit the receipts to the board or deduct the expense from my monthly condo fees until the bill is paid in full?
A. If the corporation is responsible for the maintenance of the exterior of the building, then the board has an obligation to make sure the work is completed. If there is insufficient funds, owners may have to pay a special assessment to get the work done. The first thing you should do is ask the directors and the management what their plans are regarding the flaking paint.
You should never take matters in your own hands and hire a contractor. The board would not be obligated to pay you back. If you deducted the expense from your monthly condo fee, the board can place a lien against your unit because you will be in arrears for your share of the common expenses.
If your letters to the board have gone unanswered and you cannot get any answer by calling and speaking to board members directly, then you should speak to a condominium lawyer about the situation. Regular maintenance is very crucial so the appearance of the condo building does not deteriorate. It’s imperative that the resale value of the building remain intact for all owners who have trusted the board with their valuable investment.
Q. Recently the fire department inspected our highrise building. Their report indicated that the fire safety closure mechanisms at the top of some of our entrance doors leading into owners’ units were defective. The board says they will replace the defective parts, but each owner must pay the cost. Isn’t this a common element expense? I thought that’s why we pay condo fees.
A. Read your condominium declaration. Most high-rise condos almost always provide that unit entrance doors are common elements. Repairs under the Condominium Act are the obligation of the corporation, not the owners.
Q. I’m an investor looking into buying a few condo properties. Are there any limitations on how many units I can purchase in one particular community project?
A. The number of units that can be purchased by an investor all depends on the individual builder. Some do have restrictions concerning investment purchases. It would be wise to talk to the agent/developer regarding specific properties you’re interested in.