R.Z. from California writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Our CC&R’s have a conflict. We are a high rise building. First the CC& R’s say “The Unit Owner shall be responsible for the repair and replacement of Windows “enclosing” an Owner’s Residential Unit, frames and tracks and exterior screens of glass doors and windows.
In the same section it says “The Association shall be responsible for maintaining the exterior of and repairing and replacing all doors on the exterior boundaries of a Residential Unit and all windows” surrounding” the Residential Units.
Most units are all glass. What is the difference between “enclosing” the Residential Unit and “surrounding” the residential unit? The bottom line is we don’t know who owns the windows replacement responsibility.
Mister Condo replies:
R.Z., East Coast Greetings to you! Differences and doublespeak in covenants, conditions and restrictions and by-laws, rules and other condo documents are unfortunate in that they often leave a lot of room for misinterpretation between unit owners and the Board that governs the association. Even worse, when the association is not certain of what is there responsibility and what is the unit owner’s responsibility it is very difficult to develop a Reserve Fund to account for future repairs and improvements. That being said, it would be a great idea to have a third party offer a legal interpretation and have that ambiguous wording amended so that there is no mistake moving forward. Your use of the phrase “most units are all glass” has me thinking that glass that is part of a building exterior is likely owned by the association but glass doors and windows may be the responsibility of the individual unit owners. Of course, I am not an attorney and I can’t claim to be familiar with California law on Common Interest Communities. However, I do know a great place you can turn to for help. There are 8 chapters of the Community Association Institute in your state. You can find the whole list here: https://www.caionline.org/Chapters/Pages/Find-A-Chapter.aspx. I think you are from the greater San Diego area. If so your local Chapter’s website is http://www.cai-sd.org/. You may wish to contact them and ask for an attorney referral so you can have a local legal expert interpret your documents and give your community a definitive answer. Far better to spend the money on a legal opinion now then end up defending a lawsuit in court at a later date when the windows and doors need to be replaced. Best wishes!