M.L. from Fairfield County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
My HOA is claiming that my skylight is a “Limited Common Element” and therefore I the owner is responsible for replacing it. I am disputing this because I believe that the roof is the Association’s responsibility. I remember reading that HOA Boards were being ordered to bear this type of cost by the state of CT, as of a couple of years ago. Can you make any sense of this? Who is in the right?
Mister Condo replies:
M.L., I had to edit all of the details you included so the question and answer would be more intelligible to other readers. I do have one question for you. What have other owners there done when their skylights needed replacing? Did they pay or did the association? The tradition will provide an initial clue to your answer so be sure to find out. As far as the technical interpretation of the association’s governance documents, you and the Board disagree, which is not uncommon. The Board says it is your responsibility and you say it is not. This won’t be settled by splitting the difference so you have to decide if you are willing to bring suit against the Board to make your point and have your skylight paid for. That may involve the expense of an attorney and a great deal of time. It might make more business sense for you to simply pay for your skylight (I am guessing $1000 – $2000). It is for your exclusive use (obviously) and you’ll have years of enjoyment from it. Or you can spend that same amount (maybe more) and end up losing your suit and still having to pay for your skylight. My advice is to find out how previous skylights have been handled in your association. Unless the Board has been paying for all but yours, I would recommend paying for your own and start enjoying it soon after. All the best!