Adding a Greenhouse to a Condo Unit

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D.W. from Hartford County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I am requesting our condominium board’s permission to build a “greenhouse” type outdoor structure to be able to go outside in the winter. I am planning to get all necessary building permissions from my town. Are there any legal or other considerations I should be aware off before getting a board approval? Also, what could be board’s concerns debating to give me an approval for building this external structure? Thank you.

Mister Condo replies:

D.W., while I wish you well in your quest for an outdoor structure to improve your condo living space and add extra value to your unit, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if the Board denies your request based on architectural compliance guidelines that they need to enforce for each and every unit within your association. Variance from the original plan can create a myriad of problems for the association. My first question to you is are there other such modifications within the association? Has a style and type of such modification been previously approved? If either of these conditions are true, you might persuade the Board to allow your modification. If no such modifications have been previously approved, I would think yours will likely be denied. This issue for the Board is maintaining the property’s external looks as is. For instance, who will be responsible for the maintenance of your addition? What if you sell your unit and a new owner lets it fall into disrepair? How will having a “greenhouse” type addition on just one unit in the complex effect the overall appearance of the complex? If they approve your addition, how will it affect their ability to prevent another unit owner from adding the adobe hut to the back of their unit? That last one was a bit facetious but I think you catch my gist. Condominiums are built and presented “as is” and the governance documents usually have specific language prohibiting additions such as you are proposing without architectural approval from the Board. In my experience, most Boards are far-thinking enough to deny these requests as they often create more problems than they solve. As I opened, I wish you good luck but my expectations are that your request may be denied.

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