V.S. from Rockland County, New York writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
My ceiling has been leaking for months. The buildings need new roofs. No money even though there’s been several assessments and a raise in HOA charges. They say they are replacing roofs on a need to need basis. The more serious ones first. They have repaired or patched up the leak 3 times already. Now it’s happening again. What rights do I have to get this fixed permanently once and for all?
Mister Condo replies:
V.S., I am sorry that your association is handling the roof repairs in such slip shod fashion. Clearly, not enough money was set aside in the Reserve Fund to handle the anticipated repair and replacement of the roof in a timelier fashion. I am not aware on any “rights” that you have other than the right to complain in hopes they will repair your roof next. I am not an attorney nor do I offer any legal advice in this column. You might wish to speak to an attorney if you feel this is a legal matter. At the end of the day, this is simply about a lack of a long-term plan to deal with known expenses of the association. A reserve Study should have been done many years ago and Reserve Fund contributions equal to the amount of anticipated replacement costs should have been collected from all of the current and previous owners. If that had happened, there would have been enough money on hand to replace the roofs before they failed. Of course, that would have required higher common fees, which is never popular with association members. You could lead the charge moving forward. Explain to the Board that in addition to paying for the currently needed roofs, they also need to address the replacement of the roofs for twenty years from now when they will need it again. This will increase common fees but it will keep the community on rack for avoiding this kind of financial hardship again in the future. All the best!