J.M. from Illinois writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I own a condo that I have updated the kitchen and bathrooms and worked with the Condo Association on this using one of their recommended contractors. All of the work seems to be good. Last December was the first time I saw a roof leak in my condo and, of course, called the Building Maintenance Supervisor. A roof patch was made at the time and I was told it was a temporary fix for one year. In the meantime, a Condo roof leak has occurred now the second time, not quite a full year later. In 2017, the Condo Board was made aware of this building requiring a new roof and also another building in the complex. At that time, the other building was deemed more at risk and that building got the new roof. Now that the roof has been leaking in a major way AGAIN, I have once again gotten the Maintenance Supervisor up to see the damages and have been referred to the Building Management Company. I have called them a few times and am now getting the runaround. Though they agree that there is a roof leak, they will not advise me of when the roof will be resolved. Now I am being told that this needs to go in front of the Condo Board again and they will decide to approve the money to repair the roof. In the meantime, I have had damage to the floor of my unit and also clearly the leak is moving to a wall as it is now softening from water damage. I continue to get the runaround from the Management Company who is managing nothing apparently. What are the next steps that I must take?
Mister Condo replies:
J.M., I can see where your disappointment at the property management is coming from as they are the ones fielding your calls. However, the blame actually lays squarely on the association and the Board for not funding the project. If we dig deeper, we will likely find that the reason for the delay in funding the project comes from a lack of funds collected from you and the other homeowners in the many years that have predated this leak. It is an unfortunate and all too common problem in condominium associations. Previous Boards and the homeowners who elected them decided that it was a good idea to keep common fees as low as possible so unit owners didn’t have to pay more to buy or own in the association. That strategy works until the money is needed for a major repair or renovation and the well is dry. Most likely your Board will need to levy a Special Assessment to cover the needed repairs and raise common fees significantly so that they can fund any future repairs, which will undoubtedly be needed. All that you can do right now is be a squeaky wheel and continue to demand that your roof be repaired. You can go further and bring suit against the association for the lack of repairs but you, and your fellow unit owners, will bear the cost of the suit, meaning while you have the right to sue the association, you might be shooting yourself in the foot by doing so. My advice is that you approach the Board, in writing or at an upcoming meeting and ask if there is any money if the association’s coffers for your roof repair. If not, ask them what the plan is to raise the money. Understand that neither levying a Special Assessment or raising common fees is going to be popular with your fellow unit owners. However, I am fairly certain it will be needed if the association is to succeed. All the best!