D.W. from New Haven County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We tore up old carpet and tile when we moved in to our condo. We put laminate flooring down only to find that the laminate cracked and squeaked. We were told by the management that the concrete floor was their responsibility. So the laminate floor was torn up and the concrete leveled by the corporation with the board’s approval. Another floor was put back down. Unfortunately, it was done improperly as the concrete was uneven. We were told the management would resolve this for us. We now have been thrown under the bus saying the concrete is our responsibility as the laminate is an upgrade. But we feel by telling us and having a contractor pour concrete in our unit it shows that we should be compensated or have our floor fixed. What do you think?
Mister Condo replies:
D.W., I am sorry for your predicament. It sounds like you were trying to perform a simple upgrade only to find the construction standards didn’t allow for the upgrade to be so simple. You are treading into potential lawsuit territory here so let me start with some simple advice. Hire an attorney to review your rights and then decide if it makes sense to sue the association for the work they performed on your unit, especially if the work was poor or improper.
For the most part, building interiors are the responsibility of the unit owner. However, all upgrades must be in adherence to condo rules and regulations. Installing a laminate floor where there was previously carpet qualifies as an upgrade so you were wise to seek out the Board’s approval before you installed the upgrade. My gut feel is that the Board is not responsible for the condition of the floors that were previously installed by either a previous owner or the original builder. Had you simply installed new carpet, I don’t think any of these other issues would have surfaced. That being said, if the association agreed to modify your floor by pouring new concrete, I would think you have a case for that job to have been performed correctly. An attorney could better advise you on that. As for subsequent expense of installing, removing and reinstalling laminate flooring, that may be an issue best determined by the courts if your lawyer advises legal action. Good luck!