Re: Exterior Maintenance in Condo Coho
From: R Philip Dowds (
Date: Wed, 4 Feb 2015 10:58:54 -0800 (PST)
Cornerstone Cohousing (Cambridge, MA) is a condo association under Mass law.  
But the important point is that we’re built high density:  23 apartments in two 
buildings, plus conjoined townhouses and duplexes.  In general, everybody’s 
roof and siding belongs to everyone else.  Design, remodelings (e.g., a roof 
window) and paint colors are all controlled by the community.  So the community 
(the Association) owes everybody a sound roof, tight siding, and fresh paint.

The cost of keeping the place up is divided among the 32 households according 
to “percentage interest”, which is pretty much the same as percentage of 
private habitable square feet. The challenge is getting everyone to agree on 
quality and frequency of maintenance:  Some people want to paint every eight 
years, some, every fifteen or twenty, or maybe not often at all (“Gee, it 
doesn’t really look all *that* bad …”).  When the roof leaks, do you patch it?  
Again?  When is it time to bite the bullet and get a new roof — and, do you 
upgrade the shingles or not?  But these conversations are typical for all 
condominiums, not just cohousing.

However, I have seen cohos that are mostly single family homes, each designed 
to suit a specific household — sometimes within an overall design style, 
sometimes entirely at the preference of the occupant.  In such cases, exterior 
maintenance may be more the duty of the owner than the community — but I don’t 
know this for sure.

R Philip Dowds
175 Harvey Street, Unit 5
Cambridge, MA 02140

land:     617.354.6094
mobile: 617.460.4549
email:   rpdowds [at]

> On Feb 4, 2015, at 1:27 PM, Susan Adams <sadams430 [at]> wrote:
> We are a forming Cohousing Community in Floyd, Virginia.  Our town requires
> that we be a Condominium Association, and we are currently working on the
> necessary documents.
> If your community is a condo association we are interested in how you have
> handled maintenance of the exterior of the individual homes
> .
> (Most of ours will be attached to 1,2, or 3 others.)  I have found a great
> deal of information about Limited Common Elements such as decks, balconies,
> and patios, but our question at this time is simply regarding the
> maintenance of the exterior.
> Have you found it better to make exteriors the responsibility of the
> individual homeowner,  or of the HOA.   If of the HOA how do you determine
> the assessment of fees.
> What successes have you had in this matter, and what failures?
> We want to be diligent, but we also prefer simplicity.
> Thanks for any help you can give us.
> Susan
> -- 
> * <>*
> A great place to grow a family!
> _________________________________________________________________
> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.