D.V. from Broward County, Florida writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
The building is doing major work to the structure. The inside of our unit is inhabitable. We do not have access to two bedrooms because they are drilling into the ceiling which has caused construction dust throughout. They also boarded up all our windows and we do not have access to fresh air or sunlight. What are our rights as unit owners?
Mister Condo replies:
D.V., I am sorry that you are living with such conditions. Clearly, no one should be living inside a home where construction debris and dust is in the air, not to mention the possibility of a construction mishap that could put human life in danger as well. Without knowing what you were told about the construction before it began, I am not really sure on what advice I can offer. You asked about your rights. Since I am not an attorney, I would have to advise you to seek legal counsel to inquire about your rights. As a practical piece of advice, no one should be living in this unit until the work is completed and the danger is abated. Sounds like you will need a thorough cleaning of your unit to ensure that it is safely habitable once this project is complete. If you have homeowner’s insurance, you may have coverage that helps to pay for your living expenses while the unit is uninhabitable. Other than that, my guess is that this project was sanctioned by the association and that they gave notice to owners of the scope of work and the need to vacate while the work was done. If they didn’t do that, you may have a case to say your rights were violated. In the wake of the condo collapse in nearby Surfside, it is not surprising to learn that major structural work is being done at your condo. The association may have had no choice but to do this work. Owners being inconvenienced by the construction is not uncommon. All the best!