M.T. from New Haven County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Hi, Mr. Condo! I’m looking at a condo in an established community in New Haven County. This condo features private, fenced in yards for each unit. The one I want to buy has a fenced in yard as well, but at some point it was made in to a full patio. It’s not concrete, just pavers over gravel. My question is, since the outside of the complex is governed by the HOA, but I own the unit, would it be within my rights to rip out the patio and put in grass? I just have no use for a deck and a patio and would much rather have the grass for my 3 year-old and dog. Thank you!
Mister Condo replies:
M.T., I think you would be well within your rights to do with your private space as you see fit, provided, of course, that you obtain the necessary approval from the Board and follow the condo’s architectural compliance code. That being said, it wouldn’t hurt to have your realtor inquire of the property management firm BEFORE you purchase your unit. I would hate to see you demolish the existing patio only to be told that you didn’t have the necessary approval to do so. In that case, you could find yourself at odds with the association over who did what and who had the right to do what. Far better that the Board be advised of your intention BEFORE a problem arises. All the best!