R.N. from Norfolk County, Massachusetts writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Who is responsible for the upkeep of a condo balcony on the 9th floor? Nothing has been done for over 30 years!
Mister Condo replies:
R.N., 30 years! Wow! That’s a lot of time to forego upkeep! Balconies are either a full-on common element (uncommon), owned by the unit owner to which the balcony is attached (again, uncommon but not unheard of), or owned by the association as a limited common element (most likely the case). Ownership of the balcony determines who is responsible for the upkeep although there can be grey areas, especially in the case of limited common elements because the limited common element is for the exclusive use of the unit to which the limited common element is attached. In other words, it is time to take a good look at the governing documents to see if they address the balconies and/or limited common elements and assigned upkeep responsibility. If the documents are silent on the subject, it might be time for a legal opinion. What has been done on the other balconies? If owners have always maintained them, that may be a clue. If no balconies have been maintained for 30 years, how have they lasted so long without failure? You really need an answer to this problem before a balcony fails and someone gets injured or killed. Check you documents. If you can’t find an answer there, have an attorney review the documents and offer an opinion. Either way, balconies that old need upkeep and sooner is better than later, Good luck!