R.K. from Cape May, New Jersey writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
The Association has imposed special assessments to redo siding and roofing. The siding company stated that they will not warrantee the siding if we don’t replace windows and doors. The windows and doors are limited common area. In addition, they have a lifetime warranty from the builder. Can the HOA buy doors and windows and replace my windows & doors, then charge me for them? Since the window & doors are limited common area, aren’t the owners responsible and can’t they get their own contracts to do the work?
Mister Condo replies:
R.K., congratulations on the new siding. I know that the weather in beautiful Cape May can be brutal on building exteriors. I hope the new siding helps. Limited common areas are still common areas and are likely under the Board’s control. Only your governance documents can state whether the unit owners “own” the limited common elements (unlikely) or are simply responsible for their maintenance seeing as they are for the exclusive use of the owner (likely). This is a tricky call for the Board because they don’t want to purchase the expensive siding and have the warranty voided nor do they really want to force the unit owners to purchase windows, doors, and sliders but they may have no choice. Since the special assessment has already been levied and the work is going to be done, I would think the Board has already made their decision. As long as they are within their rights to do so, I would think the Board is well within their rights to require new windows, doors, and sliders for the effected units and that they can pass the expense on to the individual owners. If you feel the action is contrary to what your governance documents state, I would encourage you to get a proper legal opinion from an attorney that specializes in New Jersey community association law. Enjoy the new siding and windows!