Window Resposibilities in a Condo

artpbNovember 4, 2004

A friend of mine is having an issue with his Condo Management over who is responible for windows and doors.

Specificaly he needs to replace his windows and the Management Company says there his responibiltly and therefore his nickel.

The wording in the by-laws is:

Section ____ Boundaries. The boundaries of each Unit created by by this Declaration are located as shown on the Survey and Plans and are more particularly described as follows:

(a) Walls, floors, windows, exterior doors and ceilings are desgnated as boundaries of a Unit. All lath, furring, wallboard, plasterboard, plaster, paneling, tiles wall[paper, apint, finished flooring and any other matrials constitutuing any part of the finished surfaces therof are a part of the Unit, and all other portions of the walls, floors, windows, exterior doors and ceilings are a part of the common elements.

We interpurt this to mean that the windows are the Condo mangements responsibilty. We are having an Attorney review advise us.

Two questions:

Do you agree or disagree with our position on this, and

Is it common practice for Condo Unit owners to be responible for doors and windows?

Thannks for any comments

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First I have a question: Why does he NEED to replace his windows?

    Bookmark   November 4, 2004 at 3:18PM
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The seals on most of the insulated glass panes have failed and glass is fogged up. Cheap aluminum frame sliding windows. Weatherstripping is missing and water stains on interior sills from condensation forming, no thermal break on aluminum frames.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2004 at 4:02PM
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Now, I have couple more questions:
1) Weren't they "Cheap aluminum frame sliding windows" when he bought the unit or did someone sneak by one night and swap out the goods ones with the cheap ones he has got now?
2) Does your friend have no objection to a significant increase in the monthly fees that he is paying if this is done for everybody.

Of course your friend is only thinking of himself but if the Condo Management pays for his windows then they have set a president and would need to pay for the windows of other units that have or will have similar issues . If the president that has already been set is that owners pay for the replacement/s themselves then he is probably out of luck. Even if his lawyer says the by-laws can be interpreted to mean that he is not responsible for the windows, he would have to take legal action that he might not win.

BTW, when the seal is gone and the window is foggy it is NOT necesary to replace the whole window you only need a new sealed unit inserted in the frame and the weather stripping repaired or replaced. He is hardly going be able to have his "Cheap aluminum frame sliding windows" replaced with high end windows paid for by the Condo Management, i.e. the other condo owners.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2004 at 4:58PM
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what a joy to hear from you again.

I've answered enough a your off topic questions.

My question to this post is if the windows are typically the responsibility of the unit owner or the association.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2004 at 6:58PM
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I don't think his questions or comments are off topic at all. After all, one of your questions was, "do you agree with our position?"

Ojoy is telling you he doesn't, quite, and he's telling you why.

I don't agree w/ your position, and I think your condo's practice is common.

I live in a co-op, which is similar to a condo. Ours is self-managed, so I don't have a "Condo Management" to help me lose sight of the fact that there is no "landlord" like in a rental, that I am the owner, and that I will pay all the building's bills eventually.

When we redid our windows, every unit had to pay for their own. I know this was true of every other co-op in my development (bcs I see apts w/ old windows in the same bldgs as apts w/ new ones; unlike our bldg, they didn't enforce the change in the windows.) Why? Bcs that makes it proportional, in a very easy manner. And it saves the co-op board the paperwork.

A unit w/ fewer windows has a smaller financial responsibility. A unit w/ more, has more.

Every cost that the management (or board) incurs is passed, in proportion, down to the shareholders or apartment owners. So fixes to one unit's windows are actually its share. Our board's position is, you change it in your apt., you pay for it. ESPECIALLY since you are the one who benefits directly from it.

If the condo managmenet is responsible for paying for it, they could also enforce WHETHER it could be done, and how the problem would be resolved. The board, or whoever, could say "you can't replace them; we'll pay for them to be recaulked or something else cheap and fast." Their dime, their decision.

Also, probably the structural frame that's hidden inside the window OPENING is the building's. But the sash, glass, etc., would be considered decorative. The fact is, it CAN be changed easily, so it is the owner's responsibility.

And if the Condo Management (you, really, along w/ your other owners) is responsible for changing all the windows, you will pay for it eventually. That's how condo's work.

Good luck, but I have to say I don't agree with you.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2004 at 7:51PM
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I have yet to live in a condo building where the condo association is responsible for the cost of any sort of window replacement. It would seem that the answer to your question depends on the wording of the by-laws. And if there is debate over interpretation of the wording, I would consult a real estate attorney in your area.

In the meantime, I'd suggest you keep your checkbook handy. I suspect you'll need it.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2004 at 9:04AM
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To answer you specifically:

"(a) Walls, floors, windows, exterior doors and ceilings are desgnated as boundaries of a Unit."

His condo is the "Unit" Snipping some it then says:

"all other portions of the walls, floors, windows, exterior doors and ceilings are a part of the common elements."

You need to look at lot deeper at the contract instead of just reading the parts you want to apply. What is the description of the "Common Element"?

Odds are it says you can't change anything that would change the exterior appearance or common halls of the building.

Odds are the association wouldn't care if he upgraded the windows to ones that look the same from the outside.

He bought the "unit" knowing these were the windows and having seen the rules.

If he wants new windows of a different type or style, he has to get all tenants to agree to pitch in for their share or pay himself so all the "units" get new windows. Can you imagine a building with a dozen different window styles? LOL

By the way, I am new here but even I can tell you, OJoy was completely correct. Might not be the facts you wanted to hear but facts anyway.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2004 at 2:29PM
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If the windows are considered "common" ... the board can decide when and how to fix or replace them. He can't decide to replace them and expect the board to repay him.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2004 at 8:48AM
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I live in a condo. We replaced every window out of our own wallet. By-Laws mean nothing,they can easy be changed by the board & filed at town hall.When I first moved in here 8 years ago the front & back stoop did not belong to me. But now after a BY-Law change I own them! They used to be a Common Element. We have close to a 100 units,& for the Association to pick up the tab for everyone's blown out windows,weak frames, whatever is unheard of.The Budget would be shot to hell.I for one have had enough of condo living & will be moving ASAP!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2004 at 12:35AM
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