D.R. from New Jersey writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I am having repairs done to a bathroom. The building has 2 residential units and a restaurant. We have a shared water supply. I have informed the neighbors about the shut off of the water supply. The restaurant owner has refused due to disruption of his business. He has told me that I will need to install a shut off valve on the shared water supply to stop water to only my unit. As this affects a common element, does the cost to have this installed fall under the HOA?
Mister Condo replies:
D.R., mixed use condominiums such as yours have unique problems when it comes to shared amenities. The lack of water to a home is inconvenient. The lack of water to a restaurant is catastrophic and would force them to shut down. The governing documents may or may not address this particular situation but common sense should prevail. I would think that an ideal solution would be for the common water line to have three shut offs installed, one for each unit. That way any of you could shut off your water for any reason without disturbing the other shared users. That being said, it might not be possible depending on how the water is distributed. I would think that the HOA should pay for the shutoff valves, especially if each of you gets one. However, if you cannot get agreement from the other owners, paying for the valve yourself might be the only way to get your bathroom repairs done without disrupting service to the restaurant (and your fellow residential unit owner). Check the governing documents to see what it says about shared utilities. My guess is that the owner of the unit that houses the restaurant has the majority of the voting power in the HOA so you will need their agreement before you do anything. The water shutoff benefits all. My guess is your fellow unit owners will agree to share the cost of the shutoff. All the best!