N.M. from Cook County, Illinois writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We are a small condo association and have a basement unit that requires an ejector pump to pump its sewage into the sewer line. We all have our own furnaces and water heaters and each unit is responsible for their replacement and repair. Is the basement unit responsible for replacing their ejector pump when it breaks down, since it is unique to their unit? One issue here is that these ejector pumps should last five to ten years, but that small unit has six people in it with only one bathroom, and it’s being replaced yearly at great expense.
Mister Condo replies:
N.M., the ownership of the ejector pump is likely related to where it is located and/or if it is a listed common element of the association. Since it is for the exclusive use of the basement unit, it could be argued it may be a limited common element and an expense of the unit owner. However, since this unit couldn’t even function without the ejection pump it is quite possible it is owned by the association and is a common element, with the association solely responsible for the upkeep and maintenance. Regardless of how long the expected life is of the ejector pump, it clearly needs to be kept in good working order. If the basement unit has too many residents according to the rules of occupancy for the unit or the building, that is a separate issue. All the best!
3 thoughts on “Condo Needs to Maintain Basement Ejector Pump”
The Board at my condo association is being asked for additional monies, over and above the signed contract amount, for work recently completed. According to the contractor, this is due to the cost of materials being underestimated on the contract. There seems to have been some verbal discussion between the Board President and the contractor after the work started, but nothing in writing, and apparently amounts were either not discussed, or what was discussed was less than what is now being requested for payment. The work is complete, and the contract amount was paid in full. The contractor has just now submitted an envelope with receipts and is asking for additional money. The Board is divided, most of whom have only just found out about this situation. One trustee has been bringing this contractor in for a long time and wants to pay him. Some believe a contract is a contract. The amount being requested is double the amount for materials estimated in the contract. The contract clearly states “labor and materials”. There has been no price increase for materials by the supplier since the job was quoted. What should the Board do?
A.W., it really boils down to what the Board wants to do with this contractor in the future. The Board may not be “legally” obligated to pay the additional fees. However, before making that decision the work needs to be evaluated. How much additional money is in question? Is it worth risking a legal battle and severing ties with this contractor? Only the Board can make the call but they should take the best interests of the association into consideration before making the decision. All the best!
PS: The contractor is saying he needed more materials, not that the price went up.