Condo Living is Not Carefree

Many people assume that Condo living is a carefree lifestyle

Those in the industry know that is far from the truth

Condo Living is Not Carefree

Chimp or Chump?

Condominium owners have many issues.  These are the main ones

LEAKS:  If the Condos are stacked, water may leak from one unit into another.  These leaks may result from a washing machine, burst pipe, toilet overflow, etc.  Other than the damage you may have in your unit, a dispute may occur determining who is responsible for paying for the damage and repairs.    Both the community association and the Condo owners should have a clear & documented understanding of who is responsible for which repairs.  This documented understanding should also include the Association’s right of entry to make repairs & any obligations of owners to carry additional insurance (above the master insurance policy).

RENTALS:  Many Condo Associations have rental rules and rental restrictions.  Make sure that you’re aware of them before you purchase your unit.  Associations may have rules such a rental cap ( the maximum % of units that can be rented), rules regarding lease terms, background checks, and more.

PETS:  Condo Associations may have many rules regarding pets.  These may include certain breeds, certain weight, limit on number of pets in one unit, leash rules, balcony rules, etc.  In addition, if your unit is on an upper level with hardwood floors, you may be required to install carpeting or an area rug to muffle the sounds.

WINDOWS, DOORS & DECKS:   Although the Condo building roof is maintained by the Condo Association, other parts of the Condo building may be the responsibility of the unit owner.  Many owners aren’t aware of the full range of their responsibilities before they buy their condo.

NOISES & NUISANCES:   Many Condos have poor sound insulation.  You may hear noises from the elevator, hallway & adjoining units that may affect your quality of life.

IMPROVEMENTS & ALTERATIONS:  Any remodeling or alteration plans must be submitted to and approved by the Condo Association Board of Directors.  Some Condo owners aren’t aware of this, while other owners try to sneak their contractors into their unit.  Knowing the rules ahead of time will save a lot of stress.

Condo Living is not carefree

ASSESSMENTS:  While many Condo owners pay their monthly assessments on a timely basis, some do not.  If the Association has cash flow problems, they may need to increase the assessments of the Association.  This means that those owners who actually pay, will have to pay more in order to make up for the owners that don’t pay.

RESERVES:  Every Condo Association should have money set aside in a Reserve Fund.   These Reserves should be used for future major repairs & replacements such as new roofs.  When cash flow is poor, many Associations may not fund the Reserves as needed.  In extreme cases, the Association may pull money from the Reserve Fund to pay for regular operating expenses.  When the major repair/replacement is due, the Association may then have only two choices:  Defer the maintenance or Approve a Special Assessment.    Neither of these options is a good one for the owners.  In addition, Lenders may not approve loans when the Reserves are too low or a Special Assessment has been approved.  Difficulty in obtaining loans (and low reserves) will decrease condo sales & property values.

USE RESTRICTIONS:  There are many use restrictions that can apply to Condo owners.  These would include: noise, maximum occupancy, rentals to a blood relative only, parking, flags, pool ages & times, smoking in or near your unit, moving in/out only on certain days & hours, window signs (such as “for sale” signs) and more.  Many owners aren’t aware of these rules until after they move in and many aren’t happy with them.

PARKING:  Parking is one area where we hear the most complaints.  Many Condo associations have limited parking spots leaving the owners very frustrated.  Some units will have only one spot allocated to their unit and guest spots may also be limited.  Some Condo associations may restrict the type of vehicle you can park on the grounds.  They may not allow commercial vehicles (such as a work van), trailers, trucks, boats, etc to be parked overnight.  Some of the excess/guest parking may be far away from the unit and may not be in a well lit area.  If your family has more than one car, this would be an important area to research before you purchase your unit.

ELEVATORS:  In some condo buildings, the elevators break down on a regular basis.  This can be very frustrating.  Find out if your Association has an “elevator maintenance contract”.  You might also want to ensure that the contractor must be able to make repairs on nights/weekends and within a certain window of time.

 

 

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