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Can unit air conditioners units be a liability to condo associations?

Posted on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 @ 07:50 AM
Our Condominium in Maryland was built 13 years ago. The a/c units are considered part of the Residential Unit and the responsibility of the owner. As such, the BOD requires an architectural change form to replace the units. The a/c units delivered with the units are not in production anymore, and there is no specific guidance in any of our governing documents or in our real estate documents stating the dimensions and regulations for new a/c units. Several years ago there was a struggle with the BOD president and an Owner over the size of his replacement a/c. (More personal between the two than anything). However, the issue was dropped, but no architectural guidelines were established. So, if the Board require that a form be submitted but no rules on what constitutes an acceptable a/c unit, what recourse do we have if the unit is too big, since we don't have a standard? Also, the a/c units are grouped (3-4 a/c units together, outside of certain ground Units Resident's bedroom window. Would the Board have liability if the a/c units obstruct their view or impeded their escape during an emergency? Also, what is a Resident can't remain in the home due to heat while we make our decision? Would we have to pay for their hotel? 



This question was submitted and answered on 7/24. I don't see a difference...please advise.

posted @ Tuesday, July 30, 2013 8:14 AM by RS-FL

As RS-FL stated; asked and answered. 
Did you not like the answers from your first post? Were you hoping to get the answer you wanted but did not? 
Stop wasting everyone's time.

posted @ Tuesday, July 30, 2013 8:17 AM by Ron - NC

Honestly. I never heard of such a thing in my life. The air conditioning units are the responsibility of the owners. Why should anyone have to pay for their hotel while the unit is being installed? It should be placed in the same space the old was in. It only takes a matter of hours to have it installed. I speak from experience. My unit was from the early 90's and it finally went in January for good. I called Sears and they put a new unit where the old unit had been. The work was completed in one day. 
Why go through so much expense? The owners are responsible and the new unit can be placed where the old unit was. That is all there is to it.

posted @ Tuesday, July 30, 2013 12:38 PM by Mari

This is so weird ! Please explain the following so we(I) can better understand. 
You say - " the a/c units are grouped (3-4 a/c units together, outside of certain ground Units Resident's bedroom window. Would the Board have liability if the a/c units obstruct their view or impeded their escape during an emergency?" 
Sounds like the remote Compressor is ground mounted so how can it obstruct any ones view? 
If the Developer originally installed these, or anyone else, they would have to pass the Local Fire Depts. guidelines for an escape route. Right !? 
How are the Cooling units mounted. 
Any part of them extending into the outside Common Area ? 

posted @ Tuesday, July 30, 2013 4:17 PM by James

It seems to me that most of the spaces for the units are either inside or in the window. No one's view is obstructed. I am sure that was taken into consideration when the condos were built.

posted @ Tuesday, July 30, 2013 11:27 PM by Mari

If they improperly place those air conditioning units, then it is their fault for sure.

posted @ Tuesday, August 20, 2013 11:21 AM by Charles Neslon

Do not worry about a new unit not fitting in the space where the old unit was.  
My central heating /air unit went out in January. It was a goner from the 70's and I had Sears install a new unit. Sears put the new unit in the space where the old one was, no problem. It is in my hallway installed. The units can be custom made to fit where the old one was. I say there is no problem about the units obstructing. much ado about nothing.

posted @ Tuesday, August 20, 2013 12:58 PM by Mari

It depends on where they are located: in condo or part of common area. When I was in Dallas tx, cooling units were the associations problems due to the fact that is was of the common area. So it completely depends.

posted @ Thursday, September 12, 2013 11:45 AM by Elisa Jed

I agree. It depends on how the air conditioning is categorized in the contracts.

posted @ Wednesday, December 04, 2013 4:06 PM by Garrack Kert

It seems like the unit would be completely on the owner. If it is obstructing an escape route, it should be taken care of. The board should look into things if there is conflict, but the owners should take care of the situation. 
Jen Kirk | http://www.thompsonheatingcooling.net/Heating-/-Cooling-Products/

posted @ Thursday, March 20, 2014 7:48 PM by Jen Kirk

When our air conditioning unit broke last summer in Arizona we had to stay in a hotel for a few days. We did ask our HOA if they covered it, but they said no. The HOA did give us a list of companies that would do the needed repairs and a general pricing matrix though. Really cut down our search time. http://www.springerbros.net

posted @ Friday, June 13, 2014 10:01 AM by Rodhe Stevens

Since you said each residential unit is responsible for their own ac unit, I think that means you'd have to pay the cost for everything. It seems like you're trying to impose some of the costs onto the association, but since it's in the bylaws that the ac is your responsibility, all of it is on you. Fans are also a good alternative to staying in a hotel. 
Claudia Rosenburg | http://www.bowmanheating.com/air-conditioning.html

posted @ Monday, June 16, 2014 9:47 AM by Claudia Rosenburg

I agree with Claudia, an AC unit is part of your contract, and you should be liable for what happens to it. I don't know how I would survive without having an AC unit in my apartment though. It would be worth the extra monthly fee for me to have central air, over having to only use fans. http://www.emc-company.com/hvac-mechanical-maintenance/

posted @ Wednesday, July 09, 2014 1:27 PM by Emily Merrell

You should be liable for all of the appliances that are found within your home, AC included. As long as you keep up with the maintenance, and don't run it for ridiculous amounts of time, your air conditioner should be fine though. It would be horrible to have to live in a house with air conditioning. http://www.hayesheating.com/products/air-conditioners/

posted @ Thursday, July 17, 2014 10:23 AM by Tony De Azevedo

I doubt that it would be a liability to the association. However, I don't know. I would suggest asking someone who works for the complex, or someone who works on AC units.  
Jayden Eden | http://www.lakesideheating.com/central-air/

posted @ Thursday, July 17, 2014 10:41 PM by Jayden Eden

I can see almost anything being considered a liability. I'm just glad that we haven't had any problems with our air conditioner since we moved in. This has been one of the hottest summers since I could remember. http://www.darylsheatingandair.com/services

posted @ Friday, July 25, 2014 5:42 PM by Talmage Dangerfield

Air conditioners are the responsibility of the owners. I would consult with a contractor or a lawyer about any liability beyond that. Otherwise, I'd say you are safe. 
Anita Mas | http://www.universalrefrig.com

posted @ Saturday, July 26, 2014 11:17 AM by Anita Mas

I don't think that is the case but I could be wrong. I hope that you are not held liable for heating and air conditioning units. I feel if they were there when you moved in, then it is not your responsibility. http://www.southwestheatingandcooling.com

posted @ Monday, July 28, 2014 6:48 PM by Brittany Matthews

I haven't heard of many incidents. There could be a potential for danger though. It's just like anything else. 

posted @ Tuesday, July 29, 2014 5:11 PM by Elias Rufus

Air regulation is necessary. It's all about comfort. I would really hope that they'll help you live comfortably. 

posted @ Tuesday, July 29, 2014 11:50 PM by Elias Rufus

It might be worth it to see about getting central air for the buildings. It seems like the individual units are getting out of hand. If it's come down to a fight between the board and unit owners, then it's probably worth it to spend the extra money to get things resolved. 
Jenn | http://www.arnicaheatingandair.com

posted @ Thursday, July 31, 2014 1:24 PM by Jennifer Davies

I can see it being used as a liability for to condo associations, but I wouldn't worry about it too much. Living without AC is terrible, believe me, I know from experience. The cost of having the cooling that you need really outweighs all other considerations. http://www.virginiamechanical.com

posted @ Friday, August 01, 2014 12:10 PM by Edmond Vandergraff

I agree with Edmond. You shouldn't worry about it but I would make sure you get it done fast. Ask one of the complex head person about the air conditioning and having it be replaces.  

posted @ Tuesday, August 05, 2014 3:27 PM by Ray Smith

You can live without an air conditioner. It's more fun with one, though. I know I'm not a fan of not having one. 
Anita Mas | http://www.aggressivemechanical.com

posted @ Thursday, August 07, 2014 6:36 PM by Anita Mas

If they are really old or if they were put in without permission I would say they are a liability. Are you saying this because you have one, or because you're going to put one in? I would check to see if that is okay with the condo association first. http://www.cblucashvac.com

posted @ Monday, August 11, 2014 12:21 PM by Dolores Brown

I don't think that they are a liability to the association. As long as the association is doing the yearly checkups on the air conditioning unit, they should be just fine. Keeping up with the maintenance of an HVAC system is always so important. http://www.reliable-mechanical.ca/residential_maintenance.html

posted @ Thursday, August 21, 2014 12:10 PM by Edmond Vandergraff

There are some instances where the association is liable for broken air conditioners. It is the association's responsibility to set a maximum temperature limit that owners must follow. This makes sure that owners are suffering under unsafe living conditions.  
Elisa Jed | http://www.timoniumheatingandair.com

posted @ Monday, August 25, 2014 8:41 AM by Elisa Jed

I was thinking the same thing Dolores. Be sure and have the air conditioning units inspected before making any rash decisions. This will be essential to whether the units need repaired or replaced. http://www.airquipheating.com/Services.aspx

posted @ Wednesday, August 27, 2014 10:29 PM by Bob Strong

I see where you are going with this, but I think that it is the responsible of the owners to get central air repair themselves. I would really love to get mine fixed. It had been a while since it has been working. http://cbrothers.com

posted @ Thursday, August 28, 2014 3:43 PM by Brittany Matthews

Before anything is submitted it should pass the fire code. The fire department can give guidelines on that. It's all a matter of asking the right professionals. 
Anita Mas | http://www.honestairinc.com/ac-repair-replacement

posted @ Monday, September 08, 2014 9:44 AM by Anita Mas

I'd say it really just depends on the type of heating system you get. The main thing that they would be strict on is fire code, so if you can get past that I think you should be fine. If it doesn't pass the fire code then I would just try to avoid using that system, because they would for sure flip on that.  

posted @ Friday, September 12, 2014 8:48 PM by Pavlos Lombardi

I think it will partly depend on your local laws and your bylaws. In this day and age it really seems like anyone can be liable for anything. I really think the best you can do is be clear on the specifications of the AC units for safety and adequate cooling capacity. Talk to the HVAC companies in your area, they may be able to answer your question. http://www.lmac.com.au/services

posted @ Monday, September 15, 2014 7:59 PM by Julia

I think it will partly depend on your local laws and your bylaws. In this day and age it really seems like anyone can be liable for anything. I really think the best you can do is be clear on the specifications of the AC units for safety and adequate cooling capacity. Talk to the HVAC companies in your area, they may be able to answer your question. http://www.lmac.com.au/services

posted @ Monday, September 15, 2014 8:00 PM by Julia

The ceiling fan in my apartment is starting to go out. Its actually pretty scary sometimes, we called down to the office and they said it was my job to fix it. Weird I thought! http://www.jfelectricalcontractors.com

posted @ Wednesday, September 17, 2014 11:05 PM by Emily Dye

I have never looked into any of the regulations regarding an AC unit in a home. I remember one summer our air conditioning was out; as you can imagine it was awful. I would look into a professional installation. http://www.kruman.com/johnstown.html

posted @ Thursday, September 18, 2014 8:21 PM by James Clarkson

Having air conditioner in a home is important. I don't want to be sweating all the time in my own house! I also like having a heater in the winter. I think it is essential that homes have both in them. 
Emily Smith | http://scr-mn.com/hvac/

posted @ Tuesday, September 23, 2014 7:36 PM by Emily Smith

I am so happy they are finally putting in a new heating and air conditioning unit. We have had some really hot summers and some really cold winters. I will be able to sell my space heater now. http://www.oilheatserviceandsupply.com

posted @ Wednesday, September 24, 2014 5:13 PM by Jim

It depends on what they told you when you moved in. Sometimes unit owners are responsible for their air conditioning. You should call and find out. http://www.comfortsolutionscooling.com/air-quality.stage

posted @ Friday, September 26, 2014 7:42 PM by Tripp Vanderbilt

They usually tend to be pretty safe. I've never heard of any problems. Its always good to check though. http://www.eliteairinc.com/product-list.php?cat=2

posted @ Friday, September 26, 2014 8:09 PM by Gary Birtles

When it comes to policies regarding liability, responsibility, etc, it tends to vary between associations. Some will cover more than others. A lot also depends on the specific situation surrounding the cooling system. I'm going to get a new cooling system installed in the spring, and since I don't live in a condo, I'm paying for it myself. I'm trying to find one that fits my specific needs as a result. Hopefully you don't have to do the same since you actually live in a condo. Good luck! http://www.petersenhhph.com/Products/

posted @ Monday, September 29, 2014 7:20 PM by Tyrone Hill

I think condo owners are responsible for a/c repairs, but I don't think that has anything to do with liability. The condo association won't pay for anything, unless it affects one or more condos, or if they are at fault for the damage. http://www.westcountryhvac.com

posted @ Tuesday, September 30, 2014 4:12 PM by Tom Stubbs

As long as you have an a/c unit that works I don't think they will have problems with your a/c. They are more concerned that each unit has an a/c unit. It needs to be up to date and fully operational. That's the only time where I think you're going to have a problem with the condo association. http://pkairsystems.com

posted @ Thursday, October 02, 2014 2:21 PM by Dolores Brown

I think that the best path to take would just be to ask the association all these things next time there is a meeting. Then they can decide what the sizes should be and where they should be located. I think that if the responsibility is yours to take care of the air conditioners, then they shouldn't have too much say in what should be done. If you need a new air conditioner then you should be able to get one that fits your needs. http://www.freshairfast.com/ac_heaters.htm

posted @ Thursday, October 02, 2014 2:33 PM by Grant Harper

To be honest I feel like they could easily become a liability. I would say it really just depends on how well you take care of it. I mean if you treat if like it's a piece of junk I could see it becoming a liability fast, but if you treat it well I bet you would be fine.  

posted @ Monday, October 06, 2014 10:30 PM by Pavlos Lombardi

I agree with Grant that if you treat your plumbing well, and keep up with repairs you should be able to keep it from becoming a liability. Just make sure the drains are clean and that you check them periodically. In most cases they won't become a liability. http://www.kendallplumbingandheating.com

posted @ Friday, October 10, 2014 2:08 PM by Tom Stubbs

I don't think that home air conditioning units pose much of a safety threat in any situation. Heating, on the other hand, can be very volatile as there is sometimes fire involved. We don't often need to worry about that in Orlando, though. Nature heats us up just fine! 

posted @ Friday, October 10, 2014 7:54 PM by Derrick Sly

We had a problem with the air conditioners at my apartment complex too. They were out of date and a lot of them actually had a problem with cooling. We think it was a problem with the freon. I know that some people called in some other people to have them fix the units. What has your association said they will do? http://www.gouldsac.com/index.php/services

posted @ Tuesday, October 14, 2014 2:51 PM by Caleb Hart

I was wondering the same thing. I have an air conditioner in my unit, but I really need it fixed. I don't know if it's part of a liability issue or not. Does anyone know what I should do? http://www.mrheating.com/lennox-air-conditioning

posted @ Tuesday, October 14, 2014 6:35 PM by Brooke Bowen

I see where you are coming from. But I do think just from past experience, it is the renters job to put in central air. I'm in need of getting mine fixed before next summer actually. http://www.biggerstaffsne.com/air-qulaity-services

posted @ Wednesday, October 15, 2014 9:28 PM by Emily Dye

I think air conditioners can be a liability to anybody. I had an air conditioner that was more of a liability than an asset. Mine had a split in its freon line and I always had to get it fixed. Does your HOA cover the costs of fixing the air conditioners? http://www.935cool.com

posted @ Thursday, October 16, 2014 2:16 PM by Caleb Hart

It can and often is. This is typically a true scenario when dealing with older homes. I stayed in a home from the 1900's that was in good condition but they just installed air conditioning and so it worked well because it was new. I also stayed in a house that was built in the 70's and the ac hadn't been replaced and it was awful. http://fixmyacfast.com

posted @ Thursday, October 16, 2014 7:32 PM by bobby roosco

I agree with Ron. I've never heard of this happening. What a bother. I hope you are able to get your air conditioning fixed soon. Until then, I suggest using a fan. It has been a hot summer. http://www.foxrefrigerationandair.com.au/cooling-services

posted @ Wednesday, October 22, 2014 7:43 AM by Julia Carlson

I don't think it should matter too much. I would do everything they ask you to just to avoid any issues. But ultimately if you need to replace your a/c you should do what you need to to accomplish that.  

posted @ Wednesday, October 22, 2014 8:28 PM by Jackson Willis

I would talk to the board to make sure you are doing everything you can to comply with them and keep things civil. However, with there being little to no information on how this situation should be handled I would suggest going forward with either replacing or repairing your air conditioner. Whichever option will be better for you. 

posted @ Wednesday, October 22, 2014 10:24 PM by Anna Jones

I never thought an air conditioner would be a cause for a dispute. This seems like a pretty basic amenity that nobody should have a problem with. At least you're not trying to put a swamp cooler on the roof of your condo.  

posted @ Monday, October 27, 2014 11:38 PM by Anonymous

I think that heating and air conditioning should be something that is offered without question or argument. It's unfortunate that this is causing disputes and potentially harming the health of people. I hope the issue gets fixed quickly. 

posted @ Tuesday, November 18, 2014 12:36 AM by Anonymous

Typically I think the owner is responsible for AC repairs. The same goes for heating services. Don't take my word for it, though. I live in my own house, so I cover the costs myself. I'm therefore not much of an expert in that field. Speaking of which, my heating recently broke down. Considering the fact that autumn's here and winter's coming, I definitely need to get that fixed. Hopefully I find a good service in my area. I hope everything works/worked out for you! http://www.enrightandsons.com

posted @ Monday, November 24, 2014 8:27 PM by Calvin James

That's a good question. I would suggest contacting an air conditioning and heating company. I'm sure they'd be able to replace the units for a low price. I hope you're able to figure that all out. Good luck! http://www.controlledclimatesinc.com/HVAC-Repairs-Hayes-VA.html

posted @ Wednesday, November 26, 2014 3:41 PM by Cathy

I think the a/c is only a liability on the older buildings. If your condos are newer you shouldn't have to worry too much about it. I think the a/c is supposed to be the individual owners responsibility anyways. http://www.lucedfurnaces.com

posted @ Saturday, December 06, 2014 11:17 AM by Tom Stubbs

I couldn't go a single summer without air conditioning. It's simply too hot where we live for that. I hope that yours will be up and running for next year. http://www.a2zheatingandplumbing.com/our-services.html

posted @ Wednesday, December 17, 2014 9:05 AM by Bob Strong

If the problem of heat does arise, you should probably worry about it then. Setting up a regulation now is unnecessary, especially since it will probably be handled on a case-by-case basis. You should also have the AC's regularly maintained, so this doesn't become a problem. | http://www.bradlec.com.au/services

posted @ Tuesday, January 13, 2015 1:52 PM by jenn davies

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