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Should association reimburse all window repairs?


I have a sticky situation and interested how other boards may handle. We recently had a unit sell, and as part of the inspection, some rot was discovered as part of a bay window which was causing it to sag. We solicited bids, got a quote and the new owner stated they wanted to wait til spring for the repair and use their own vendor since they also would be re-doing all their windows and wanted to make sure everything was uniform. We agreed, the work was done, and the contractor broke out the bill which specifically specified the portion of the bay window that was structural as part of the install (i.e. the windows and casement I believe the term is was still unit owners responsibility) and bill was reasonable. Easy Peasy!

So here is the GOTCHA! I sent off the bill to our current Treasurer for reimbursement to the unit owner (I am the President) and they then bring up that they would like an equal reimbursement for similar work they had done two years ago (I think even before they were on the board) 

While I think part of it is reasonable, that the Treasurer was not aware that part of the window may be the associations responsibility (the structure portion that attaches to the unit of the bay is, but the rest is not, as well as the other windows and window frames are wholly the unit owners) unlike the new tenant, they never raised that there was damage needing repair, they never got approval, and I doubt that the bill specifically breaks out the costs (which was mentioned to the other vendor ahead of the work) 

I want to be fair, but struggle because not only is it after the fact, there is no documentation of needing repair. That is not to say that there wasn't rot or sagging as in the last repair, it was just not documented, and the board was unaware and not involved. At the same time, I can also see, that just because a portion of the unit is the Associations responsibility, if the unit owner takes it upon themselves to do work as part of a remodel, etc, if prior cause and need is not shown, that really should be on the unit owner, even though the Association is responsible for up keep. 

I struggle with this. I want to be fair, and it is crappy to reimburse one owner and not another, especially one who has served the Association, but paying without prior approval also opens a can of worms and who is to say someone else does not bring something from 5 years back. This is a prime reason why boards should be notified BEFORE work is done, and have a say in the cost, method and vendor., 

On the other hand, they really were not expecting to be reimbursed at the time of their work, so while it can create sour grapes, it also goes to show that a unit owner should read their documents, understand what their responsibilities are as well as the Association. 

Most areas are black and white in terms of responsibility. The bay windows have some shared components, and in all honesty, I also do not think from the last time we did the walk through that the Treasurer's repair would be covered. I think they just replaced the window and the casement which sits inside the framing structure, and that framing structure is what the Association would be responsible for. 

Or is that even a moot point? I.e. this should be denied because it was never brought to the board before work was done, as well as is well over a year (almost two years) old?

Answers (9)

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