R.B. from New Haven County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I recently removed carpet (anticipating hardwood) to find hump running from kitchen to dining room. Installer states the floor fell and is uneven due to settling. Who repairs for this fix owner or association?
Mister Condo replies:
R.B., I am sorry for your problems. I can only imagine your disappointment when you saw the uneven floor beneath your carpet. For the purposes of this answer I am going to assume that you had permission to remove your carpet without replacing it with similar carpet. Some associations do not allow unit owners to expose their subfloor and install anything other than new carpet.
The original builder very likely built the condo on some type of foundation (concrete usually in our neck of the woods) and that foundation has now settled creating uneven floor joists to which the subfloor is attached. If the subfloor cannot be brought into square or leveled and the floor joists need to be replaced, this can become a major project. Depending on how the units were built, multiple units may be involved for the repair. Once the repair spreads beyond your unit, you need to work with the association to handle the repair. Generally speaking you own from the walls and the foundation in and the association owns the rest. However, you may need to refer to your condo documents to see how the unit you own is defined.
The association may choose to repair your subfloor along with any other neighboring units that are affected. They may ask you to handle the repair and they may even tell you that the expense is yours. You may need to consult with an attorney if you disagree with their decision so don’t be surprised if this isn’t as easy as you notifying the association and them sending someone right over to make the repair. This wasn’t a problem until you attempted to install different flooring than what came with the unit. This dilemma is ripe with “gray area” that may be open to interpretation depending on how the condo documents are worded.
If you are intent on hardwood floors and you are not violating any of your condo docs to install them, by all means, get in touch with the Board and make them aware of the problem to see what they will do. If you are not allowed to change the type of flooring, simply install some new carpet and enjoy your unit. If you insist on having the floors brought level, don’t be surprised if it is a long and drawn out process. You will end up with level floors but it may be a while and at some of your own expense before you do. All the best!