P.W. from San Diego County, California writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I live in a condo, it has attached duplex and single units with front and back yards. The CC&Rs spell out that we are CONDOS. The Board believes they have the right to let additions be done to the units thereby making changes to walls which are common property per CID. The yards are also restricted easements a part of common property. How do I stop them from allowing changes to the unit?
Mister Condo replies:
P.W., your Board would be wise to consult with a community association attorney before allowing any alterations to the buildings that make up your association. There are so many questions that come to mind. Who is responsible for the alterations after they are made – the unit owner or the association? Will the percentage of unit ownership formula for determining common fees and assessments have to be modified because of new square footage of the units? You are wise to question their actions but you may not be able to STOP them from doing whatever they want. After all, they are the democratically elected leaders of your association and they do have the power to vote changes to the by-laws and such that would pave the way for such building modifications. However, you have the right to enforce the CC&Rs via court action if you think the Board is overstepping. I am not an attorney nor do I offer any legal advice in this column. I strongly encourage you to speak with a locally knowledgeable attorney specializing in community association law in your state of California to see what specific rights you may have with regards to preventing the Board from making far-reaching changes to the make-up of the association that will have consequences for years to come. It is quite possible that you may be able to slow them down or, at the very least, make them reconsider the idea. All the best!
4 thoughts on “Condo Board Wants to Allow Building Additions”
We have a 50 year old association with single, double, triple and quadruple units that has allowed board-approved additions since the beginning. Units had developer modifications as well. Many of the units have additions and modifications – extra rooms, porches, decks, patios, skylights, changes in windows and doors. Every change is backed by a hold harmless agreement.
Since we have many, it is all routine, although there are some issues, say when a roof leaks and there is a question if it is the skylight or the roof. Also new owners often don’t really understand that they inherited the hold harmless.
Yet the Board has to be careful of precedent and treat everyone equally. My own rule is to approve anything where there is no reason not to approve. But caution is advised there are occasionally good reasons not to – e.g. encroaching on other units, drainage.
Unless there is a specific provision for increasing assessments in the declaration, I doubt those can change unless there is a specific agreement with the owner as part of the approval binding on future owners – that would be attorney time.
It can work, yet could be a bucket of worms.
Thanks for the insight, Luther!
– I disagree with the statement that the board of trustees can amend the by-laws — I believe in most condominiums by-laws changes need to be approved by the membership.
E.K., that is typically true although the by-law amendment process typically begins with a Board resolution. Thanks!