Board Condominium Construction Defects Damage Governance Property Management

Condo Contractor Makes a Mess of Unit Owner’s Siding

D.S. from Middlesex County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

We had work done on a cement slab attached to the front door cement porch. First off, we asked that we be notified when the work was being done and we were not. The workers damaged our siding, and the cement slab poured was stuck to the siding. No drip edge was put in and on the outer side, the siding was bent. Our Board insists everything be handled by the property manager. Two weeks and no response. Yesterday he stopped by with a board member and basically accused us of having the issue with the siding prior to the work being done. I stated no it was not there prior to which the board member chimed in that we are meticulous with our house and if there was in issue prior we would have notified someone. The property manager then told me he saw nothing wrong with the slab. I explained that the siding should not be cemented to the slab and there needs to be some room for expansion and there probably should have been a drip edge installed. Long short, I was told he didn’t like my attitude and stormed off. Can you tell as the homeowner do we have a right to be told when work is being done, and should a property manager be following up on work done? These are stand-alone single-family houses but still a condo association.

Mister Condo replies:

D.S., I am so sorry that you experienced such shoddy workmanship and that the Property Manager didn’t seem to handle your request for remedy better than what you have explained. Stand-alone houses inside of a condo association can be a little bit tricky as to who own what and who is responsible for what. I am going to make some assumptions here based on what you have shared. Please let me know if I get anything wrong. In most condominium associations, the unit exteriors are owned by the association. That sounds like the case here because the association arranged for the cement slab work and has an interest in the siding on the outside of your house. If the association asked the Property Manager to work with the contractor and/or follow up on the work then that is what the Property Manager should do. It would have been nice of them and made the most sense for them to alert you to when the work was being done but it is not required. After all, you didn’t hire the contractor; the association did. And they asked the Property Manager to oversee the job. As for the dynamics between you and the Property Manager, that is just unfortunate. Again, the Property Manager does not work for you. You real beef here is with the Board and the manner in which they handled this project. My guess is they were trying to save money, went with a low bid on the job, and asked the Property Manager to oversee the work, versus paying another contractor to function as the General Manager to oversee the job. Whatever the reason, you now have a shoddy cement slab and damaged siding on your unit. You should continue to ask the Board how they intend to repair it, keeping in mind that they are the owners of both your cement slab and the siding of your building. They aren’t likely under any obligation to do anything but I would hope they would want to return the building to the condition it was in before this shoddy repair. They should review the contract they signed to have the work done and they may be able to request repair or sue the contractor if they breached their contract. Regardless, if you don’t own the cement slab or building exterior there is little you can do but work with the Board to make the remedy. Being a squeaky wheel here could pay off so be persistent and try to see the problem from everyone’s perspective. And make amends with your Property Manager when this ordeal is over as well. It is very likely that the heat of the moment lead to the blow-up between the two of you. You were frustrated at the shoddy work. The Property Manager was likely frustrated that the Board had dumped this project on him/her and created extra work. My guess is that this will all work itself out in the long run. Good luck!

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