Remodeling My Condo; What Role Does the Board Play?

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M.S. from New Haven County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I’m going to remodel my unit. Which papers should I present the Association from my General Contractor? For instance do they need to see the contractor’s insurance or license?

Mister Condo replies:

M.S., most condominium rules state that the Board will require both the license and insurance for the contractor before any work begins. Also, and this is just as important, they will likely need full plans for what specific renovations you are considering. They have the right to review plans, materials, and potential impact on neighboring units and or the association. If you attempt these upgrades without Board approval, you could easily find yourself on the wrong side of a lawsuit brought by the Board to make you return your unit to its original condition. Let me give an example. Many folks prefer hardwood flooring over wall to wall carpeting these days. That’s great unless you live in a high-rise condo where every footstep you make sounds like tumbling boulders to the unit below yours. There is also the architectural compliance issue. Perhaps you are thinking of installing new French doors on your deck when the rest of the units have sliders. Guess what? The Board will likely deny your request.

My advice is to be smart and work with either your Board or Property Manager to make sure you have full approval before you hire any contractor or make any change. You’ll be glad you did. All the best!

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