Question from Kiki, How can I get my HOA to pay for exterior work on a condo in the USA?
Answer from AI:
In the United States, the responsibility for maintenance and repairs in a condominium complex is typically divided between the Homeowners Association (HOA) and the individual unit owners. This division is usually outlined in the HOA’s governing documents, such as the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) and the bylaws.
Understanding the HOA’s Responsibilities
Generally, the HOA is responsible for maintaining and repairing the common areas, while individual owners are responsible for their units. However, the specifics can vary greatly depending on the terms of the HOA’s governing documents.
It’s crucial to review these documents to understand the HOA’s responsibilities and your own. If the documents state that the HOA is responsible for maintaining and repairing the exterior of the units, including decks, then the HOA may be obligated to pay for the work on your deck.
Addressing Customizations by the Prior Owner
If the prior owner customized the deck in a way that is outside of the HOA’s bylaws, the situation can become more complex. The HOA may argue that it is not responsible for maintaining or repairing these customizations.
However, this does not necessarily mean that the HOA can refuse to pay for all work on the deck. For example, if the deck needs repairs that are unrelated to the customizations, the HOA may still be responsible for those repairs.
Steps to Take
If you believe that the HOA is unfairly refusing to pay for the work on your deck, you may want to consider the following steps:
- Review the HOA’s governing documents: Understand what they say about the HOA’s responsibilities and the rules for customizations.
- Communicate with the HOA: Explain your position and provide any evidence that supports your claim. This could include photos of the deck, estimates for the work, and relevant sections of the HOA’s governing documents.
- Mediation or arbitration: If you cannot resolve the issue through communication, you may want to consider mediation or arbitration. Some HOAs require these steps before a lawsuit can be filed.
- Legal action: If all else fails, you may need to consider a lawsuit against the HOA. This should be a last resort, as it can be costly and time-consuming.
Consult with a Legal Professional
This is a complex issue that can depend on the specific facts of your situation and the terms of your HOA’s governing documents. Therefore, it’s recommended that you consult with a legal professional who specializes in HOA law. They can review your situation, provide personalized advice, and help you understand your options.
For more information on HOAs and their responsibilities, you can visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website.