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Is condo association or owner responsible for window replacement?

Posted on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 @ 07:18 AM
I own a condo in Massachusetts and the windows are leaking badly and have caused water damage to my walls and wood floors. The bylaws of our condo association specify the windows are part of the association’s responsibility to repair/replace. The management company will not replace the leaking broken windows or pay for the damage in our unit. The condo management property said we can replace the window at our own expense because they have no money in reserve or budget to do so and will not give a special assessment for windows for the condo building ( many people with same issue with windows they are very old). They will not give an assessment for windows for building because they said that they will get sued by the homeowners. What can I do to get the money back from the condo management property for the windows I not have to pay for to replace myself. We have had a hurricane and a bad ice storm that has made the problem increasingly worst in the past year. A little background info...the management property is owned by one person who lives in the condo building and is also the on site repair man and nothing gets fixed in the building. Legal advise/ or guidance as to what I can do?

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Take a copy of your documents to a lawyer that specializes in Condo Law. Tell your story to him and he can advise you on how to proceed.

posted @ Wednesday, August 31, 2011 7:33 AM by Harold

You need to read and review the condo laws in your state and your by-laws/deed to determine the appropriate action. Here is a link to your state code: 

posted @ Wednesday, August 31, 2011 7:41 AM by Bill

Wonderful question----very poor, non responsive answer.

posted @ Wednesday, August 31, 2011 7:56 AM by donald kelly

First of all you are talking to a wrong entity. Management company is hired by the board of directors to help manage the building. A management company cannot make decision or approve/disapprove requests. All they can do is forward your request to the board and forward their response back to you. 
I would suggest that the first step you do is write a letter addressing the board requesting repairs. Don't request replacing windows but request that they address the problem of leaks.  
Your next step is to attend the next board meeting and address the board with the same request. You need to make sure that there is a record of their decision in minutes. 
Your best bet is to stay calm and reasonable. DO NOT TALK ABOUT REPLACING WINDOWS. TALK ABOUT FIXING THE PROBLEM. 
The board is opening a Pandora's box by telling you to replace windows. What happens when you have problems with new windows in some number of years? Who is responsible? What if every owner installs a different type of a window? 
The board has a responsibility to maintain the building. Special assessments are within their rights (to a certain amount per year). Have a conversation with your board members. Point out exact sections in your CC&Rs talking about the subject. They may not be aware.

posted @ Wednesday, August 31, 2011 7:58 AM by Jeff Ross

You have not indicated how old your unit is. Depending on its age, you may have some recourse against the window mfg, building contractor, or building inspector or all three. Check out the statute of limitations regarding shoddy material and/or construction.

posted @ Wednesday, August 31, 2011 9:29 AM by Bob

I suggest you heed Jeff Ross' very sound advice. 
Many assn's have a BOD that they let run the show. This is not proper. It appears this is what is happening in your assn. And on top of it, the owner of the mgmt co is the onsite repairman and a unit owner which may be a conflict of interest. Another example of poor management on the part of the board. I would suggest a recall of the board members or to lobby to replace them at the next election; they are violating their fiduciary resp. to the assn.

posted @ Wednesday, August 31, 2011 10:44 AM by mary

Jeff Ross is right. Ask the board to fix the problem and let an expert decide if the windows need to be replaced. It doesn't matter if this is happening to other units, you still have the right to make the board abide by the rules. It does sound like a conflict of interest having the property owner be the repairman. Check to see if the by-laws permit this. Also if he is getting a break on rent or some sort of payment, IRS may want to weigh in on this set up. Your association may lack the funds to do large maintenance projects, which means that a special assessment would be the only remedy. If the board rejects an assessment then seek counsel from an attorney specializing in condo law. As a board member myself, I have to be very careful about the projects we fund. Our members hate special assessments and the mortgage companies holding titles to the condos don't want to see reserves fall below a certain point. My board, however, never lets any unit continue to leak. We take care of the leak on a case by case basis. Do what Jeff suggests.

posted @ Wednesday, August 31, 2011 11:22 AM by Renee

This sounds like a financial issue. There is no money available to make any necessary repairs.Check financial reports to see where dues are being spent and if expenditures are proper. 

posted @ Wednesday, August 31, 2011 2:48 PM by mels

Thank you everyone for feedback! The condos have orig. windows from the 70's. As far as the condo committee there is only 3 people on the committee and one does not live in the building but owns about 30-40% of the units. The other 2 members are friends of the "manager" and maintenance man and do not wish to vote him out. So I found out today that the condo management company owner, whom lives in the building and is the maintenance man and also contracts himself for snow removal also, is the listing agent on several units for sale. Seems like a conflict of interest to me but not sure what to do at this point. The committee knows of the window problems they themselves have leaks but they do not want to have a special assessment...so I am going to review the laws I guess. I contacted a lawyer he said it’s an easy case but I would pay about 5 grand in legal fees that I may never recover.

posted @ Wednesday, August 31, 2011 5:44 PM by Jen

Jen, given your latest updated a legal action might be the only viable one. Assuming you win your case in court you might be entitled to legal fees as well. 
What I would suggest, before going a full blown legal battle, have your attorney write a powerful but still polite letter and send it to the board. You should come to the next board meeting and discuss what it would mean for the association if you proceed with the case. 
I understand they might not want to have a special assessment, but you need to explain to them that if you win the case not only they'll be paying for windows but also for legal expenses. The person who owns 30-40% of the units has a lot at risk here. You might consider talking to other owners who are not on the board. Sometimes that helps. 
Another option is to vote your board off and have a new board serve. I realize that might be a difficult task with 40% of the units owned by one person. It would pretty much take everyone else to vote against his wishes to win. 
Good luck.

posted @ Wednesday, August 31, 2011 5:53 PM by Jeff Ross

Thank you Jeff. I will look into further action and try to remain calm in the process. No other owners in the building want to be a part of the board. I need to replace the windows and repair the damages since it could cause mold and we are expecting a potential hurricane once again next week and windows leak so bad I have to have buckets and plastic taped to windows to collect water pouring down glass and onto floor. I will contact a real estate lawyer who specializes in condos. Thank you again! I just want to sell my condo and end the headaches and troubles.

posted @ Wednesday, August 31, 2011 6:23 PM by jen

Jen, I feel your pain. You can't imagine how many people I deal with that have similar problems. Besides being a director of the board where I live I am also doing consulting where I help owners and boards resolve their differences without legal battles. It works most of the time, but not always :) 
The real problem that you are facing (and the same that is faced by majority of my clients) is not what board wants or doesn't want to do. It's people leaving in the building that don't want to get involved.  
I frequently come across situations where owners are displeased with the board but still refuse to run for a position. Or worth, I see building that don't have any functional boards at all. Someone is technically on it, but they don't want to be but can't get of because there is no quorum at the annual meeting and thus no elections. 
Living in an HOA/Condo environment is not the same as living in a rental building. There is no owner who is responsible for things. All owners are equally responsible and all must take part in keeping the property up.

posted @ Wednesday, August 31, 2011 6:33 PM by Jeff Ross

HI I have served on our Board for 4 years. I live in Wisconsin, check your by-laws. Ours require unit owners to replace them at their own expense, but they need to match existing windows. For us the general rule is drywall in is the owner, drywall out is the association. Windows fall in between. Good luck! 

posted @ Wednesday, August 31, 2011 8:33 PM by Sue Herrmann

It sounds like it would be easier to just hire your own repairman and have it fixed. Send a copy of the repair bill to your board but don't count on it being paid. There is easy to use squeeze tubes of clear color caulking that you can use yourself from the inside.  
Caulk aroung the windows and the window sills and under the window sills. I did mine myself instead of trying to get the board to do it.

posted @ Thursday, September 01, 2011 11:35 AM by lisa

Yes we have had the windows sealed many times but thank you for feedback.

posted @ Thursday, September 01, 2011 11:59 AM by jen

im wondering what Im paying hoa fees for, besides the grass which is mowed down tothe dirt, i have someconcerns reguarding safety, broken windows, fences falling down etc,shouldnt they provide security/

posted @ Friday, October 21, 2011 3:52 AM by sherry hester

I agree with you guys, usually the condo association is responsible for replacement windows. There was a big storm a couple of weeks ago, and a tree branch blew through our front window. I'm glad that nobody go hurt. The association agreed to pay for the costs to get it fixed. http://www.cadwestwindowsanddoors.com/Custom-Windows-Torrance-CA.html

posted @ Friday, October 10, 2014 5:24 PM by Deuce Masterson

I can't believe that they won't pay for the window. My family had a condo back in the day and we always had bad windows. They would let water in when it would rain and we would have to put towels by the windows. The condo ended up replacing ours so I'm curious as to why they won't replace yours. http://www.ramglass.com/Glass/HomeOwners

posted @ Friday, October 31, 2014 2:34 PM by Caleb Hart

I would think that if the bylaws say that the windows are up to the owners, then it should be time for them to get replaced. If you don't get them replaced, the leaking from them could cause other problems that will need to be taken care of. In the long run, then, this would be much less expensive for them. I would advise discussing this with them so they understand the damage it is causing, and then hopefully you will be able to get new windows put in! http://www.randkaz.com

posted @ Monday, January 26, 2015 3:24 PM by Skylar Mitchell

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