Re: Exterior modifications
From: Fred-List manager (
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 2014 05:40:11 -0800 (PST)
From: David Clements and Evan Richardson <evdavwes [at]>
is the author of the message below.  It was posted by
Fred, the Cohousing-L list manager <fholson [at]>
after deleting quoted digest.

--------------------  FORWARDED MESSAGE FOLLOWS --------------------
I agree generally with Philip's reasoning about having the Condo Assn
maintain the entire envelope.

There are several good reasons why the condo association, and not the
unit owner, should own and maintain the entire exterior envelope for
all buildings. At least for duplex and multi-family structures.  This
is the case at Cornerstone Cohousing.

For a reason lost to me (in the mists of time), we make it the owner's
responsibility to maintain, repair and replace the windows and doors,
and the HOA does the rest.  The HOA insures the windows and door,

We have generally agreed that if there are modifications, the HOA will
assume the burden of maintaining these.  We had a situation where a
deck was built in a substandard way that pretty soon required
maintenance.  The HOA did the maintenance, but not without grumbling.

I personally favor having the HOA collect a fee from the Owner who
wants to modify the house, a fee sufficient to insure against poor
workmanship and to reimburse the HOA for the burden of taking on the
responsibility of maintaining.   The fee would I suppose go into the
reserve fund.  I am aware of one HOA which charges a fee of $55 per
square foot for approving house expansions (which are different in
some respects from decks and ramps).  But the principle is the same.

Love to have a lawyer here define Limited Common Elements.  My
impression is that LCE are areas that have officially (by the Board,
eg, or in the Declaration) been assigned to the use of one or a
Limited number of Owners, or areas which could reasonably be thought
to be assigned to a limited number of owners.  We have had a situation
in our community where we have fences around our back yards, partly
around areas that are technically common elements, and a community
member has insisted on his legal right to stand/walk in/through the
back yard of his neighbor based on the fact that the area is "common
elements."  Our lawyer stated that because we fenced the backyard, we
were creating LCE for the private use of the Owner, even though there
is no Board decision or mention in the declaration that this has
happened.   So once the fencing has happened, the Owner, not the
Association, controls what happens within that space.

In the discussion here, once a ramp has been approved and built, the
ramp and the land under it becomes a LCE for the use of one Owner.


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