Previous Condo Owner Liable for Improper Window Replacement

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K.S. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I just purchased a condo and have discovered that the previous owner installed windows whose color doesn’t’ meet with the requirement of the association. Can I go back on him for replacement costs.

Mister Condo replies:

K.S., most likely “yes”. However, the cost of pursuing a legal remedy may outweigh the benefits of doing so. I am not an attorney so please accept my advice as friendly and not legal. For a legal opinion, you should consult with a local attorney familiar with community association law.

If the previous owner improperly installed windows that the association didn’t approve of at the time of installation, the association should have taken action at that time. However, if the association is now coming after you for the improper windows, you may have to comply with their request and your only remedy would be to sue the previous unit owner. Where it gets tricky is in the value of the windows. Are they brand new? Several years old? Several decades old? Unless you are likely to claim thousands of dollars in window replacement cost, it may be more cost-effective for you to simply replace the windows in question with the correct windows. As long as you plan on owning the unit for years to come, you will benefit greatly from improved efficiency and the joy of owning beautiful new windows. Otherwise, you may still have to pay for the windows and then an attorney to chase down the previous owner for whatever percentage of the cost of the replacement (maybe 100%) can be attributed to the previous owner. This is an unfortunate situation to say the least but, at least, you will have brand new windows to enjoy at the end of the process. All the best!

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