B.M. from Massachusetts writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We are a 4-unit condo association where 2 owners want to take commonly owned outside land for private decks. How is the outside land valued in terms of the monthly HOA fees? Is there a standard used, i.e. value it at 50% interior space?
Mister Condo replies:
B.M., unless the governing documents prevent the unit owners from doing so, they may be free to install decks on the commonly owned land. However, the documents may also forbid them from doing so in which case, the question is moot. I am unaware of any standard that allows for increasing their common fees based on their usage of this land. In fact, amending the common fee structure is quite difficult in any association, especially one as small as yours where you know that two of the four owners will certainly vote against it. Review your documents and see if it allows or prohibits decks and if it allows or prohibits modification of the common land. My guess is that your documents are silent on the subject. If you have access to an attorney it may be worthwhile to seek a professional opinion before any work is done or denied. All the best!