L. from Hartford County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I received a Notice of Violation from my HOA’s lawyer stating that I am in violation of certain modifications/remodeling done in my unit without HOA’s permission. Apparently these were done by two owners prior to me and the Condo was foreclosed once before I bought the unit. Am I responsible for this?
Mister Condo replies:
L., nobody likes to receive violation notices about their condominium unit. I can only imagine your dismay to receive this letter about modifications that were made to the unit before you even took possession. It was an interesting question that I felt merited a look by one of my community association attorney friends. Here’s what the attorney had to say:
“If all of this work was done by a previous owner and not you, then it’s very unlikely you could be held directly responsible for any violations. Nevertheless, you might be obligated to allow the Board to enter your unit to remove the unauthorized modifications if it wishes, depending on what kind of work was done and what your HOA’s documents say. Doing so would be in your interest if the Board’s concern is that the modifications are structurally unsafe or put other units at risk. On the other hand, if the modifications are innocuous and you bought the unit relying on their legitimacy, it may be too late for the Board to take them away from you. Talk to the Board to work this out, and if that fails, ask your own lawyer for advice on what to do.”
That sounds like perfectly sound advice to me, L. All the best!