Condo Association Door Threshold Replacement Creates Unit Owner Leak

A.M. from Philadelphia writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

The condo association had a project to repair balcony supports and to do water-proofing around balcony doors. My doors opened and closed and had no evidence of leaking prior to the condo’s project (you know where this is going!) After the project, my condo had a leak in door frame and one of the doors no longer opens. The condo responded by saying, “The existing doors have to be removed in order for the contractor to install their balcony waterproofing membrane. Once the doors were removed by the contractor, most if not all of the door threshold frames collapse due to long term water rot. The Association Engineering Firm directed the contractor to reinstall the doors ‘as is’ condition, but most of the doors will not operate due to the water rot. Since the doors are the responsibility of the owners (part of the unit) the Owners will have to replace the doors. The Building mock-up contains composite trim around the doors that is removable and provides easy door replacement without damaging the new stucco sealants and coating.” 

How is it possible that the condo association has no responsibility? I don’t dispute that the doors are part of the unit, but how do I know if the door threshold frames are part of the doors or part of the common elements? Of course, the lion-share of the cost is not these threshold frames themselves, but the labor to remove and reinstall!

Mister Condo replies:

A.M., I am sorry for your predicament. You had doors that were working perfectly well and now they aren’t and all because the association was doing preventative maintenance. Yes, you are now out of pocket the additional money for the labor to repair the door seal. While that is unfortunate, you should be thankful that the association is handling the bigger project here, which is the maintenance of the commonly owned threshold frames. This may or may not be outlined in your governance documents but it would appear that the Board is most certainly under the impression that it is their duty to maintain the threshold frames. As the Board has stated, and I would agree, they returned to doors to “as is” condition, which is their prerogative. I might suggest that you ask them if there is an option for you to offer to pay the contractor to reseal your doors the next time they undertake such a project. My guess is that would be quite some time in the future. Good luck!

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