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Rising Tides: The Catch 22 For Condos That Need A Repipe

Rising Tides: The Catch 22 For Condos That Need A Repipe
Your building is leaking.  Your pipes are failing.  Your insurance company might even be calling.  You need a repipe.  The problem is that it’s going to cost millions of dollars, and your board doesn’t have it in your reserves.  Do you take out a loan, issue a special assessment, or both to cover the costs?  Or do you wait, hoping you can raise the funds over the next several years, and try to buy more time? Unfortunately, for boards facing the prospect of a repipe in their community, making this choice is increasingly difficult, increasingly costly and increasingly litigious.  As I write this article, there are pending lawsuits against condo boards on both sides of the equation.   Pay Up and Stop The Leaks! In Hawaii, where a typical cast iron waste line replacement costs tens of thousands of dollars per unit, most properties, and homeowners, simply don’t have the cash to pay for it out of pocket.  Buildings that are in critical condition are declaring a “state of emergency,” and taking out loans to get the pipes fixed.  To pay off the loan, each owner’s portion of the loan payment is added to their monthly condo fees in order to cover the loan costs.  Sure, no one is happy about the increased fees, but the job gets done and the leaks stop. Clogged drain pipes, like this one, are causing a variety of problems in buildings across Hawaii including leaks, odors, slow running drains, and corrosion. But what happens when you live on......
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Condominiums, Covenants, and Restrictions

Common AreaBy Colin McCarthy, J.D., Robinson & Wood, San Jose, CA Everyone has their own story or has heard the stories. Those living in condominium complexes cannot so much as hang a Christmas decoration outside their unit without the blessing of the HOA or the CCRs. Everything outside the four interior walls is the condo owner's and everything outside is a "common area." The ins and outs of who can do what and who is responsible for what is subject to precise analysis of the CCRs and HOA established rules and regulations for each particular complex. But the general gist is that the HOA will be responsible for maintaining the common areas and the owner for maintaining his unit. What if an injury arises from lack of maintenance of the common area? Or the owner is not given permission to install, maintain, or repair something which, by doing, he thinks will prevent injury. The question thus arises after the inevitable injury: Who is responsible for that injury? In California, under such circumstances, the HOA "is, for all practical purposes, the Project's 'landlord.'"* In one case, a condominium project was beset by a crime wave. There was crime after crime. One condominium owner wanted to install a light near his unit to help prevent crimes from occurring there. The HOA denied him permission, citing the CCRs, which did not allow individual unit owners to install security apparatus. The HOA also argued that it was constrained by budget and majority membership approval of improving the ......
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