Knowing Your Master Deed
Your Community’s Master Deed will serve to define your “Unit” in the case of a Condominium and your “lot” in the event you are part of a Homeowner’s Association. Those definitions are important and are to be read in conjunction with those portions of your By-Laws and Master Deed which outline and define your maintenance responsibilities. In the Condominium setting the Unit Owner is typically responsible to maintain the interior aspect of his/her Unit. This could be from the “studs-in” or from “the interior face of the sheet rock-in.” It all depends on how your Documents are written. In addition, in many Condominium settings, the Unit Owner is also responsible for window and door replacement. Again you have to read your Governing Documents.
Maintenance in a Homeowner Association
Property Owner's Rights & Priveleges
Maintenance of Unit or Home
In the Homeowner Association environment, the “lot” Owner is typically responsible for all exterior home maintenance, repair, and replacement in addition to the home’s interior. Maintenance of the lot, including lawn maintenance, irrigation and snow removal typically falls upon the Association but again can vary from Community to Community.
Even in those Homeowner Association Communities where the exterior maintenance of the home falls upon the Homeowner, the Association has the authority to require the Homeowner to meet this responsibility in the event of noncompliance. The Association and its Governing Board has the delegated responsibility of assuring that each home maintained at a level consistent with all others so as to preserve the aesthetic and architectural harmony of the Community. Should a Homeowner refuse, the Association can upon notice to the Homeowner perform the maintenance and assess the costs incurred back to the noncompliant Homeowner.
Maintenance in a Condominium Association
The same is true in a Condominium Community where a Unit Owner fails perform a repair/replacement responsibility which may be causing damage to another Unit or to the Association’s common element property. It should be underscored that the Condominium Association has a statutory right of access to any Unit during reasonable hours as may be necessary for the maintenance, repair or replacement of any common elements there in or accessible there from or for making emergency repairs necessary to prevent damage to common elements or any other Unit or Units. The Association may charge the Unit Owner for the repair of any common element damaged by the Unit Owner or his Tenant.
In most Condominiums, Unit Owners are responsible to maintain and repair certain limited common elements which are exclusively appurtenant to their Unit. An example of this would be a balcony or patio. Although the balcony and patio not owned by the Unit Owner because they have set aside for the exclusive use of the Unit Owner, the Association typically makes the Unit Owner responsible for their maintenance and repair. Any limited common element or common element property which is damaged by a Unit Owner’s negligence or neglect or by their family members, pets, or guests becomes the responsibility of the Unit Owner to repair/replace and at the Unit Owner’s sole cost and expense.
Lastly, a word of warning, just because an item may be located “outside” of the physical boundaries of a Condominium does not necessarily mean that the Association is responsible for its maintenance, repair and/or replacement. This would include, but not be limited to, outside air conditioning units, wiring, plumbing, gas lines, etc. In most instances, if the item services one Unit to the exclusion of all others that item becomes a part of the Unit Owner’s “Unit,” and as such a Unit Owner responsibility.