J.M. from Hillsborough County, New Hampshire writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We have a unit owner that wants to extend his deck 2 feet out. All of our other units, including 3 season porches, all have the same dimensions. All but one are built the same way. One is all glass. Can the unit owner extend out his limited common property, the deck, another two feet into the common property?
Mister Condo replies:
J.M., unless your governing documents state otherwise, condo unit owners cannot make any alterations to the exterior of their units without explicit approval of the Board of Directors of the association. The reason for this is architectural control which is granted exclusively to the association in the governing documents. Typically, forward-thinking Boards would deny such a request because it opens a can of worms for all of the other owners who could follow suit and request modifications to their own decks. There is also the question of the expense of maintenance and upkeep. As you mentioned, there is also the loss of common area to the association. While I appreciate the unit owner’s desire to expand his outdoor living area, the reality is that he purchased the unit knowing full well what the size of the deck was. If that deck wasn’t large enough, he probably shouldn’t have purchased the unit. Of course, the Board could decide to grant the request but I would caution them against doing so. All the best!