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Condo building needs expensive elevator replacement

Posted on Tue, May 29, 2012 @ 07:12 AM
I would love to hear from anyone with elevator experience. We have a service contract that keeps ours running, have two of them, but get a lot of complaints. They are safe, we're sure of that, however, they're 40 years old and we're told getting harder and harder to maintain. The prevailing industry trend is that the service companies are all poor performers. New elevators cost a half million. Divided by 70 units, that a big, big assessment.



It's a sad fact but we have to spend our money to maintain our building. It's fact of life.

posted @ Tuesday, May 29, 2012 7:26 AM by Lydia Figueroa

Elevator modernization is a predictable major common area expense. It fits the National Reserve Study Standards definition of a Reserve project. If elevators exist, they should appear in the Reserve Study.

posted @ Tuesday, May 29, 2012 7:31 AM by Robert Nordlund

Elevators cost a lot of money. Maintaining them also costs a lot. Elevator maintenance companies like to charge a lot. We've changed from one company to another, and we agree, they're all money grubbing but usually effective. In any event, your elevator is 40 years old. Parts must be hard to come by. Get a new one.

posted @ Tuesday, May 29, 2012 7:31 AM by Boriis and Charlie

We replaced our Otis elevators with Thyson over ten years ago. As did FSU in their women's dorms. 
Over the years while visiting our girls during their college days we noticed we shared the same new elevator problems, over and over and over and over again. Good luck and be sure to budget annually for thousands of dollars for weekly service calls. We miss Otis.

posted @ Tuesday, May 29, 2012 8:01 AM by Dan

Start proceedings to increase the dues, a lot , to accumulate a reserve fund for the elevator replacement, in addition to any planned assessment.

posted @ Tuesday, May 29, 2012 9:00 AM by john_mastro

I'm A property manager in Northeast Ohio and Akron. If anyone is looking for a change in their current management please take a look at my website,www.lindaciarlillo.com. 

posted @ Tuesday, May 29, 2012 9:06 AM by Linda

I live in a 22 unit all under one roof condo. I can't remeber if it was just MN or a fed regulation but by the end of Jan 2012 all elevators would have to meet new code regulations or their elevators would be shut down by the state. So in 2010 we opted to replace our elevator (which was working fine). Instead of waiting for the deadline which meant cost would have gone up and their are not that many companies that install new elevators.. We a have had a monthly inspection for years. The cost for our new elevator then was $131,800. We had no choice re should we do it. Reserves of course did not have that kind of money. So our board which I am pres of and also handle all of the financial things, explored ways to finance it. Each unit was assessed according to their percentage of ownership. If they paid all of their assessment they were not charged any interest. If they chose to have their portion added on to their monthly assessment for 5 years then we added on the current interest rate to theirs. We were lucky that the former live in caretaker's unit was owned by the association so we were able to use that for collateral for what we thought we would have to borrow. But lo and behold, 16 of the 22 owners elected to pay all of their assessment and we only needed to borrow $50,000 which I paid off in less than a year. I guess what I am saying is find out if there are any code changes coming down the road or if there are and you just aren't aware do them.

posted @ Tuesday, May 29, 2012 9:30 AM by Jan

There is virtually no reason that an elevator has to be completely replaced. The first elevator ever installed was in Chicago and its still running. While expensive, parts that are no longer made can be fabricated. The main problem with elevators is the computer controls that most of them have these days. The car really never has to be replaced.

posted @ Tuesday, May 29, 2012 9:47 AM by Bill

Bill..has made very succinct comments. We have 3 elevators. Constant service on 25 year old equipment was a financial burden upon our owners. We found a company that furnished a bid with three options. 1) Complete replacement 2) Upgrade all controls to solid state components retaining the cars, doors, interior panels. 3) Fix the existing system without upgrades. We chose option 2 and are completely satisfied.

posted @ Tuesday, May 29, 2012 10:02 AM by BC Martello

In theory you are right but if you have never gone through the process then maybe you may not know that most of the codes have to do with safety. The panel that has telephone, Braille on numbers etc etc is where the money goes plus cables etc. in order to just get our elevator up to the current codes we would have had to put $10,000 into it and most of that would have be in just a new panel. We had an elevator consulting firm work with the elevator company which we ended up choosing the one we were having do our monthly inspection by. They were a very respectable firm who did the new elevator installiations at our hospital etc plan ahead if your state doesn't have new codes. Do your homework.

posted @ Tuesday, May 29, 2012 10:03 AM by Jan

Per BC Martello, I would again recommend the board and assoc.. start accumulating funds via reserves, look into long term finance solutions, in addition to assessments. I would look hard at the 3 options. he outlines with my preference for refurbishment and upgrading. But locally that may not be the best solution.. 
Plan , take your time and be choosy. No need to rush to a decision you might regret.

posted @ Tuesday, May 29, 2012 10:20 AM by john mastro

Legitimate complaints regarding defects should be resolved if at all possible. However, for all the other complaints you may want to mention that a special assessment would be required to resolve and would they be willing ante up? 
As long as the elevators pass annual inspections by what ever government agency does them, just have them maintained on a regular basis. 
You may consider having them inspected by a qualified engineering firm, not another maintenance company, just for recommendations. 
Our condo complex currently has three elevators but only for four floors and they are less than ten years old.

posted @ Tuesday, May 29, 2012 10:36 AM by Ron

After reading this I was thinking the same thing..... 
40 years and now you want to assess the people for something the the association neglected to do for all those years. 
These associations/ HOA need to be put on notice for future  
We had the same thing, however we are being turned around. Thanks to the former board members who never took a serious note since 1987 and squandered are money and never took things serious for the future of the building. 
I think there should be someone who is in charge of taking audits of the accounts and if there is not the money in their accounts to take care of these repairs they should be seriously find.  
Associations should not be allowed to be self managed # 1 and number # 2 and if self managed they sec/ treasurer should be bonded. 
These are just my thoughts 
P.s. we are now back on track and hopefully 20 years from now our building will still be in good standing with plenty of money in our account for tat rainy day. 

posted @ Tuesday, May 29, 2012 11:37 AM by S

Where were all of the owners since 1987. Don't blame everything on the board. I assume you got an annual financial report and I assume you voted in those board members that got you in debt. I disagree with not being self managed-our 22 units bldg has been for approx 30+ years.  
We are in better financial shape including the update to the elevator than a lot of condos that are managed by a management company. Owners need to take responsibility for asking questions and asking to see the financial books if they have concerns. Re: bonding-When I took over the financial things after a previous owner had done it for 30 years-I consulted an attorney who had previously lived in our bldg re: did I have to be bonded. The answer was no if I sumitted an annual financial report at our annual meeting and the owners voted to accept the report. Also the understanding is that at any time any owner may ask to see all of my records. Owners need to take some responsibility and not always blame it on someone else.

posted @ Tuesday, May 29, 2012 12:37 PM by Jan

I don't know why this seems to be the rule but Condo assn board's, by and large, don't seem to realize the importance of having a reserve fund. After 40 years of adequately contributing to a reserve fund there most likely would be enough $$$ to replace the elevator. However, it apears these 70 condo members either need to get ready for a really big special assessment or just start taking the stairs.

posted @ Tuesday, May 29, 2012 1:37 PM by mary

Sorry, but IMO your attorney gave you very bad advice in saying you do not need to be bonded. The reason he gave -- if the members vote to accept your annual financial report you're OK, is absolutely ludicrous! Anyone who handles money should be bonded, if only for their own protection. You never know when someone may accuse you of theft. Also, there have been many cases of treasurers disappearing with all the funds. I don't think it costs very much -- it's just like any other type of insurance; you hope you'll never need it but know you should have it just in case.

posted @ Tuesday, May 29, 2012 1:51 PM by Mary

Our elevator was damaged, by our board president, observed on camera in several acts of vandalism. We got a new president.It also gave us the opportunity of installing/ rewiring and updating the elevator's electrical and computor system. This was all done with funds on hand, and did not require any special assessment. 
There needs to be an owners defence fund, nationwide, that will aid homeowners in getting financial records-which many boards wrongly refuse to yield. 
Our board claimed not to have any money-but we owners knew far better. Magically the funds were found to get the job done. 
These boards are out of control-there are no penalties or enforcement laws that can deal with many who have no financial few, or no records.It will be up to owners probably nationwide to defend their homes from this epidemic.

posted @ Wednesday, May 30, 2012 12:52 AM by serola

You asked many good questions. Ones I cannot answer. I cam on board in 2005, and when I started to see that the sec/tres was not giving out the information the other unit owners needed I started to dig myself and found out that since 1987 the books were not being kept up to date. This chick moved her in 2004 and then seen that what the person before her did and had a mess to clean up. Instead of cleaning up she seem to follow what the other bookeepers did. Each President and Vice President that was elected, either quit or sided with her. The last set of board members sided with her until I stirred the kettle. 
I was not going to sit back and watch this being carried on. When I was refused to see a copy of the books, I started my little campaign by getting a petition started and had the backup of other members. 
Needless to say I found out much of the b.s. to be true when other owners came forward. 
When she the sec/tres. found out what I was up to she was furious, but I held my ground and didn't back down. 
Then all of a sudden one day she moved, filed bankrupcy, and rode off into the sunset leaving all of us with very little money in our account. (2500.00) Nice little story huh? 
We did not go after her for we really had no proof without actual records, records that was much covered up. 
I began my search for a company that would take us on and that was in 2009, and today I am much thankful for them, for they have turned us around. Many repairs have been made, and liens put into place, yep the V.P. now fired was behind 4.5 years on her dues, and 1 lien owner who sold out paid us back $9,000.00. We are now back on top with $16,000 in our account after 3 years and most repairs paid in full.  
So you see this is why the self managed board members should be bonded. If our management service can turn us around, then they should be the professionals that should take care of our association. Yeah it cost us 22.00 per month each member, but it is well worth it. 
I will never as long as I am alive allow this place to ever be self managed again, and believe you me when I say I have the backup of every member in this place. 
Yes I am on the board along with 2 others that support my decisions. 
As for the last board people the former V.P. is in for a rude awaking if she dosen't come current with her dues. I don't care whos feet I step on, she is going to pay or she is going to sell out and then we will get our money. 
Self manage assoc/HOA's bond your people you will not be sorry!!!!

posted @ Wednesday, May 30, 2012 12:58 PM by s

We have Otis elevators that are 50 years old. We considered buying new ones. Then we learned that they could be renovated and upgraded. It will be expensive, but much less expensive than new ones. An elevator consultant has figured out what needs to be done and is getting bids from companies to do it. (I'm in Chicago.)

posted @ Thursday, May 31, 2012 9:56 PM by Eleanor Hall

Ours were Otis and that is what we did. The key words that people seem to miss is be sure to see what codes are especially ones that maybe going to put in place in a very short time. Our elevator maintenance company we had for years clued us in that new codes were to be in place in 2 yrs. It doesn't pay to go by the old saying "if it ain't broke don't fix it"

posted @ Friday, June 01, 2012 7:21 AM by Jan

When replacing your elevators you need to be aware of the equipment you are putting in. You need to install NON-PROPRIETARY controllers. This will allow you to seek competitive pricing and keep your maintenance costs down. Contact us for help with your elevators!

posted @ Tuesday, March 12, 2013 8:26 PM by KMITCHELL

I was recently using the elevator at my condo because I was too tired to take the stairs. I was joined in the elevator by a pizza delivery boy. Halfway up, the elevator stalled. It didn't move for about 10 minutes, and eventually a manager must've heard our hysterical cries. When it started up again and the door open, everyone found us quietly eating the pizza that to be delivered. Funny story, but I agree that elevator maintenance is important. Luckily tons of companies exist. http://www.capitalelevatorservice.com/maintenance.php

posted @ Wednesday, September 17, 2014 8:34 PM by Tyrone

I didn't realize that replacing an elevator would cost so much. How long should an elevator remain functioning? I think if my elevator was having trouble I would contact a maintenance company right away. I am always nervous about stuck in an elevator. http://www.goldenstateelevatorservice.com/service/2184734

posted @ Wednesday, January 28, 2015 11:42 PM by rachel benson

I didn't realize that replacing an elevator would cost so much. How long should an elevator remain functioning? I think if my elevator was having trouble I would contact a maintenance company right away. I am always nervous about stuck in an elevator. http://www.goldenstateelevatorservice.com/service/2184734

posted @ Wednesday, January 28, 2015 11:43 PM by rachel benson

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