Recently we received the following question the answer to which could be helpful to many of you.

Q.       Our condominium has a serious need for some renovation work on windows, doors and some balconies. It is going to cost around $3,000 a unit as best we can tell right now. One contractor we consulted said it was not urgent and that we could do it over a period of time. Another contractor indicated that he thought the deterioration would accelerate and we needed to do all the work right away. The Board is divided on which way to go, and right now we only have four Board members, and it is a 50/50 split. Our next election is September and we cannot agree on a new Board member either. We have been at this standoff for four months now, and we need to move ahead with some plans, but we do not seem to be able to do so. Do you have any suggestions?

Continue Reading What to do when your board is deadlocked

Q.        I live in an association which is still under developer control. There are many things the community wants to do but can’t because we have no real contact with the developer. I realize that we will have to wait to do some of the items, but I want to make sure when the transition happens we know what to do. Please give us some guidance.

A.        Having a successful transition from developer control to owner control in a homeowners association or a condominium association is not necessarily a difficult process. It does requires open lines of communication and information, common sense, perseverance, and some smart, energetic people who aren’t afraid of making a commitment to their community for a couple of years.

Continue Reading Transition

QUESTION: I just purchased a brand new condo in November. Ever since purchasing, I’ve managed to have a plumbing problem about every month. Each time the repairs are made by the homebuilder, nothing out of my own pocket. But I suffer by having to take time off of work and worrying that something else will happen. At what point do I have any legal options?

ANSWER: The Virginia Condominium Act contains a warranty provision from the Declarant (usually the builder) to both individual owners for their units and the Association for common areas which is Virginia Code §55-79.79.  Units are covered for 2 years after sale. I do not know if this is a plumbing problem existing in the common elements or within your unit but would suggest that you get the relevant information from the plumbers making the repairs. As long as the Declarant is honoring the warranty there is little to be done and as a general rule, the time off and aggravation would not be compensable in a lawsuit.

Jeanne S. Lauer

Newly formed boards in new construction condominiums sometimes face the issue of what action to take against a developer who has not corrected a number of common area construction defects. They are not sure what to do to properly notify the developer and get a response.

The first thing to do is determine your rights under State law. The Condominium Act provides for a two year warranty for construction related issues. This two year warranty begins as to each unit on the date the unit is conveyed to a purchaser and extends not only to structural matters as defined by the Condominium Act, but also the unit must be constructed in a workmanlike manner and fit for habitation. As to the common elements, it is a structural defects warranty, again, as defined in the Condominium Act. Continue Reading Defects in Buildings/Warranty Claim against Declarant