Your experience with condo associations

I’m not asking for legal advice here. Just curious as to how these things often work out.

My friend owns a condo. It’s the middle unit of 3. The other day he went into his home office to find that 3/4 of the carpet was soaking wet. There was a monumental ice dam in the crotch of his roof just above the office.

So, he called the assn and they said they’d send someone out. A guy in a sedan came with a long stick. No ladder. He looked at the ice dam and decided he couldn’t do anything about it. The condo assn said someone else would come in 7-10 days.

Meanwhile, the weather here is just above freezing and sunny during the day, and under freezing at night. The ice needed to go NOW, not in 7-10 days.

My friend called a company that specializes in such things to come de-ice his roof. Cost him $150 but at least there’s no more ice. He also called his insurance company. And he called me, and I came over and emptied the room and cut out the wet carpet.

So now his roof needs fixed. His carpet needs replaced and, most likely, his one wall and baseboards need replaced.

It clearly states in the condo association documentation that the roof is their property and not to be messed with by the homeowner. So the assn was responsible for the ice backing up and the roof damage and, I assume, the subsequent water damage.

It’s a mystery yet as to whether or not they will actually pay to have this stuff fixed, and when.

Anyway, I assume this is not a unique situation. I have some other friends who lived in a condo last winter and had something similar happen with ice. It’s those crazy pitched and joined roofs, I tell ya!

Has something like this happened to anyone here? How did it pan out? Was it a pain or was it relatively easy? Did you have to fight the condo association?

Tell me it will all work out ok!

How many units are in your friend’s condominium group? Is the management group run by the builder, a professional organization paid by the condominium group, or a volunteer group of homeowners taking care of things in their spare time?

Back in the 70’s I owned a unit in a 40-something unit condo group. It was an old condo group, the original builder was long gone, and the condo association was run by “elected” homeowners. (“Elected” is in quotes, because the management group never had enough members and anyone that wanted to be in the group just has to say he/she was interested and he/she was in. There was no compensation for being in the management group.)

For the first two years I was one of the homeowners that constantly complained about the poor job the management group was doing. Then I joined the management group and for the next two years the homeowners were complaining about the poor job I was doing.

By far the biggest complaints were about roof repairs and why didn’t the management folks take care of them sooner? (Responses of “well, why don’t you join the management group and find out? You can be in charge of roof repairs!” never went over well.)

Every condo ass I have ever been associated with suck, and it never “works” out. sorry.

I misread the post as “your experience with condoms”. I’d probably give the same response as most folks posting to this thread.

I’ve got a vacation condo in Park City that remarkably enough, has a reasonable HOA. I completely know that I’m lucky so far. I think the reason is that almost nobody is a permanent resident. Also, a lot of people have owned their condos forever, so there is an extremely high motivation to keep HOA fees low. We also have a bunch of commercial space down on the lower couple floors which subsidizes the rest of us.

My answer exactly!

I don’t know how those things are usually resolved, but I would guess that your condo board does all the arrangements for repairs, etc. , as opposed to having retained a management company. Boards do this to save money, which is fine. But it can turn out to be a big committment on the part of the board members, and as with everything else in life, it ca be difficult to juggle everything that’s going on. So your friend might want to push for hiring a management firm for the future. If they don’t deliver services on time you can switch firms.

Based on my condo repair experiences, his insurance agency will fight the condo’s insurance agency for the damage. One of them will cover the damage.
He’s probably out the $150 to get rid of the ice.

How big is the Condo Association? If it is three units, I would be surprised if they have a management company. If it is larger, they might.

My parents owned a condo from 1997 to 2004. The downstairs neighbor complained that my parents bathroom was leaking into theirs. When my parents opened it up, they discovered that it was coming from upstairs. The neighbor wouldn’t let the building super in to fix it. Finally, the situation was resolved via my parents lawyer. They sold it and eventually bought a single family house in a place that doesn’t have either an HOA or a Condo board.

We lived in a condo for 11 years and it was excellent until about the last year or so, when the same good people finally got tired of being the only ones who put themselves up for office. When that happened, a lawyer bitch harpy got herself elected and decided that she could make unilateral decisions without membership approval. Penis ensued.

One key to a good condo assn. is to have a really good property manager, and ours was pretty good. She was a resident in the community and was paid out of the dues. The other is to have a top-notch money person who is either a current or former accountant. Having good reserves is critical when bad things happen to roofs.

Update if anyone is wondering…

My friend faxed a letter to the association asking for $150 for the ice removal plus money to repair his carpet. Since he was on a roll, he also complained about the abysmal snow and ice removal on the oval where he lives. They plow it but they don’t salt it, and it just becomes a sheet of ice.

The association’s immediate response was “tough shit, we aren’t going to do anything. Good day, sir!”

But then they came out and salted the oval last week.

Today he got a check for $150, and “a long letter explaining why they won’t fix anything on the inside.”

It’s actually more than he’d expected, so other than being out a few hundred bucks for new carpet (and the huge disruption to his house)…it turned out well enough.

I would not want to be on the board of a condo association. My parents have a condo (Florida), and the management does an excellent job-the place is kept up, and the grounds are clean. Yet, the complants (mostly from elederly residents) are constant-most can’t seem to understand that repairs are not done by $5.00/hour workmen anymore.
Most of these people seem to have unlimited time to criticize, but never seem to want to serve.
I NEVER want to live in a condo-I’ll stick with my own house, thanks!

So you’re saying his condo had a reservoir tip? And a wet crotch ensued?


Every condo association and agreement is different. I got roped into presiding over our condo association’s Board of Directors, and in that development, the association’s insurance company would have covered damage to the interior of the house, since it was a failure of the roof. When we would have severe roof damage from winter storms, we would poll the neighborhood to make sure we had every bit of damage accounted for, and submit one claim for the “event.” By doing this, we ensured that the total damage would be covered, rather than each home’s damage being considered a separate event, and thus responsible for its own deductible.

That said, by the time we moved out, the insurance premiums were through the roof, since the roofs were so poorly made.