J.W. from Cuyahoga County, Ohio writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
How do you handle an HOA and a management company who shirks responsibility to maintain basement foundation walls? Basement foundation walls & concrete basement floor are considered Community Property according to HOA bylaws. Management company & HOA also installed an exterior sump pump without a permit or city inspection.
Mister Condo replies:
J.W., I am sorry that your HOA and Property Management company aren’t fulfilling their obligation to owners to maintain basement foundation walls. To be clear, the management company can only do what the Board of the HOA instructs them to do so this is likely an association issue and not a management company issue. This typically happens when there isn’t enough money in the budget to handle the needed repairs. As far as installing a sump pump without a permit or inspection by the city, that is a matter for the city to worry about. If the city finds out, they will likely require an inspection. If they don’t find out, no harm or foul to you, in my opinion. If the bylaws state that the HOA is responsible for basement foundation walls, then it is up to the Board to raise the money to make those repairs. They can take a loan, levy a special assessment against owners, and/or increase common fees to cover the expense. If the community has a Reserve Study in place, the basement walls should be included and proper money should be set aside each year so that this maintenance can be paid for when it comes up again. The same is true for all common elements that the association must maintain. The Reserve Fund should be updated every few years so that enough money is set aside for the eventual and known repair. Otherwise, not much will change and you will find that there is never enough money to maintain the association’s common element. All the best!