S.O. from Illinois writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I live in Illinois, and have lived in my condo for 8 years. Our outside wood decks were repaired in 2011. At that time, the work was all paid for with association funds. Today they are asking home owners to pay $3,000 – $6,000 each because it should have been paid for by owners. Can they come after us 2 years later?
Mister Condo replies:
S.O., I am glad you and your fellow unit owners have freshly repaired decks to enjoy. To answer your question about who should pay for the work you should consult your condo documents. My guess is they describe decks attached to individual units as limited common elements meaning the decks are expressly for the use of the unit owners that the decks are attached to. If that is the case, the cost of the deck repair should have been transferred to the individual unit owners back when the work was done. If an accounting error was made and the funds came from the association as you have described, the association is certainly well within their rights to seek the return of funds from the unit owners of record at the time of the repair. This can get a bit tricky if units have been sold within that time. Certainly, a new owner should fight any charge levied against them that should have been assigned to a previous owner. In your case, it sounds like you were the unit owner of record at the time of the repair and continue to own the unit today. The good news is that the money you pay for your deck repair goes back into the common fund so you and your neighbors will continue to benefit from the freshly repaired decks and a stronger community common fund for all of the other expenses your community will encounter. Enjoy your deck!