N.N. from Genesee County, Michigan writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Hi there! I live in a condo association and pay $200 a month in association fees. Today, I received a letter asking me to remove the weeds in my front yard. These weeds are not in the lawn, but instead in the rocks that are in front of the condo. The wording in the letter states “Section property 6. or AESTHETICS. The Common Elements, Limited or General, shall not be used for storage of supplies, materials, personal trash or refuse of any kind, except as provided in duly adopted rules and regulations of the Association. in general, no activity shall be carried on nor condition maintained by a Co-owner, either in his Unit or upon the Common Elements, which is detrimental to the appearance of the Condominium.” In years previous, there were people that came around once or twice a year to pull weeds and do light landscaping. One of the reasons I chose a condo was because I hate doing yard work and I have very limited time. Please advise! Thank you.
Mister Condo replies:
N.N., typically the association is responsible for maintenance and upkeep of all common areas. Except when they aren’t. I know that sounds ridiculous but some associations consider the area immediately in front of a unit to be a limited common area, exclusively for the use of the unit owner and therefore are able to pass the buck on the upkeep. Still other associations create rules that require unit owners to upkeep the areas in front of or alongside or behind their units. If it were me, I would push back and ask the Board to point out specifically in the governance documents where you, the unit owner, are responsible for anything further than peaceable enjoyment of your unit and paying your fee and assessments. If they can’t produce a rule or by-law that requires you to upkeep the space, they should consider hiring a contractor for the maintenance in front of ALL units. As a side note, there is also the element of risk for the association to consider when requiring homeowners to do their own maintenance. Suppose you fell or got injured doing work required by your association. Who is responsible? One slip and fall could cost the association thousands for a risk they aren’t covered for. Raising common fees to pay for the upkeep is a far better solution. I hope they see it that way. Good luck!