B.K. from Long Island, New York writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Two owners were allowed to build on condo roof, accessible only from their units. No vote was held. They were just told it was okay to do it. Is this legal?
Mister Condo replies:
B.K., it really isn’t a legal question but rather a governance question. Modifying any part of the condo exterior, including the roof is not allowed by any unit owner without permission of the Board. That being said, it looks like it was done. I am not sure who told these owners it was okay to build on the roof but they may or may not have had the authority to do so. If a vote was held by the Board, there should be Minutes of that meeting showing the vote. If not, any unit owner could question the validity of the modification and request it be disallowed and the modification removed and the roof returned to its previous condition. Now is where it gets legal. The owners who were told it was okay are likely not going to want to remove the modification. The association would need to sue them to get them to remove the modification. They will likely sue back claiming they had permission. The Board might back down if they didn’t want the legal fight. Whoever told these owners that it was okay to build on the commonly owned roof likely didn’t think through the long-term issues of allowing the roof to be modified. Who is going to pay for the upkeep of the roof now that it has been modified? What if damage occurs because of use of the roof by these two homeowners? When a new roof is needed, how will these modifications be handled? Lots of questions, no easy answers, and it will likely not be the current Board who has to deal with it. Check the Minutes to see of proper approval was ever granted and then act accordingly. All the best!