When it comes to repairs and maintenance, condominium residents face lots of uncertainty. If repairs are required in the common areas and apartments, who should be responsible for them. This is frequently occurring issue that can be seen in most types of community living. It is also responsible for disputes and increased expenses for both associations and unit owners. So who is eventually responsible for the repairs and maintenance costs?
THE ASSOCIATION BYLAWS
The responsibility for repair and maintenance of the condo units and common premises are usually chalked out in the association bylaws. In fact, all condo boards are required to include a section called “maintenance and repairs” within the bylaw. It is this section that outlines what areas and parts will be repaired, maintained and replaced by the association or the individual unit owner.
Unit Owners: The owners are usually required to pay for all maintenance and repair requirements associated with the following items in their unit:
• Electrical systems
However, an individual unit owner is not required to maintain or repair items located in common areas or the items serving multiple units.
Condo Board: On the other hand, the condo board usually maintains the common premises. However, there can be common areas which are used exclusively by owners and they should be maintained by those owners.
At the same time, the board may not repair areas or items which were damaged due to negligence, misuse, neglect by a unit owner or invitees. In such cases, the unit owner is required to pay for the repairs.
As a general rule, the unit owner is considered to be in control of the unit they own. The board is considered to be in control of the common areas. There are certain exceptions but they should be laid out in the association’s bylaws. So if you are confused who should bear the expenses for a repair, you should check the bylaws.
EXCEPTIONS TO STANDARD RULES
Most of the times the rules regarding repairs and maintenance are the same across different condo associations. However, there can be exceptions depending on factors like unique building structure. In such cases, special provisions are required to ensure that any repair issues are addressed in a proper manner.
All buildings are unique and what may be ideal for one building may not be so for another one. You should consult with your legal counsel or condo management company to ensure that all the legal aspects are addressed and the responsibility of repairs lies with the right party. Having all the unit owners maintaining insurance can be one way to reduce the costs and potential disputes.
An effective strategy to address this issue can be to create an effective lease and provisions in the bylaws for insurance requirements. You should also define the duties and responsibilities of both the parties in a clear manner. This can help in minimizing the risks of disputes and the cost of litigation.
So both condo association boards and unit owners should keep these points in mind when it comes to addressing repairs and maintenance issues.