Re: Limited Common Elements and HOA Dues
From: OCC11NG (
Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2005 23:43:03 -0700 (PDT)

The trouble with people doing their own work is that the community has no way to ensure that quality work is done and is safe and attractive. Since all structures attached to the land or existing structures belong to the community, the Board is responsible for maintaining them and authorizing and supervising repair and maintenance projects. The well-being of the entire community is affected by how well its physical facilities are being maintained, even those serving individual members.

It is better to charge extra dues for upkeep than to have individuals do their own maintenance work.

Norm Gauss
----- Original Message ----- From: <dlmandel [at]> To: "Cohousing-L" <cohousing-l [at]>; "Ann Zabaldo" <zabaldo [at]>
Sent: Friday, October 14, 2005 10:45 PM
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Limited Common Elements and HOA Dues

Keeping it as simple as possible with these types of things is our motto.
Owners of exclusive use common areas like decks, trellises and private back yards are responsible for their maintenance and repair. No need to calculate odd individual percentages for fees or such. If an individual owner of such space neglects it to such an extent that it threatens harm to other space (or is extremely unsightly, I suppose), then the community can arrange for whatever work is needed and assess the individual for the cost. In practice, when we did a major round of replacement of rotten wood last year, most residents signed on to have the necessary work done on their decks all at the same time by the contractor who was also doing the common area work. It wasn't hard for the contractor to itemize the separate cost for each unit. A few decided to do their own work or replace the entire thing with some other material, arranging for it separately.
Southside Park
----- Original Message ----- From: "Ann Zabaldo" <zabaldo [at]>
To: "Cohousing-L" <cohousing-l [at]>
Sent: Friday, October 14, 2005 9:08 AM
Subject: [C-L]_ Limited Common Elements and HOA Dues

Hello all --

Help me out here.

First, only if you are organized as a condo or are thinking of organizing as a condo, are currently developing the Declaration, By-laws, etc. or you are a lawyer or other professional who deals w/ condos, or you simply like pain,
will you be even FAINTLY interested in this question/issue I'm trying to

I'm hoping if you are one of the above you will respond.

Everyone else should head for high ground.

If you have a Limited Common Element (LCE) that is used solely by a single
homeowner to which no other unit owner has access (in this case REAR
balconies and decks) how do you apportion the HOA dues? Are the HOA dues structured so the unit owner of this type of unit pays enough in their dues to cover the cost of repair and/or replacement? Or do you simply spread the
cost of maintenance repair and replacement throughout all unit owners
including those which have NO exterior private space either front or rear?

Because the REAR decks are built into the structure of our building and they are exterior to the unit, they are considered LCEs. Currently, the owners of these units are assessed dues on their REAR balconies, decks, patios at a percentage of the total square footage of each of these LCEs (some have both
a deck and a balcony or a patio and a balcony.)

Made up example: if they have a 50s/f deck they may only pay HOA dues for
25s/f because exterior space is counted less than interior space in our
Declaration/By laws. This percentage may or may not be enough to cover the
maintenance of the LCE.  My question is if this is standard practice to
count exterior space at a reduced percentage and spread the cost not covered by the unit owner's HOA dues among all homeowners or whether the s/f counted for exterior elements is increased thus increasing the percentage ownership
and thereby covering the maintenance/replacement costs?

This is a very complicated issue because our by-laws, declaration and other
founding documents are sometimes silent, conflicting or non-responsive to
the issue.  So I'm trying to find out what other communities do.  Please
note also that this one question I'm posing may not be perfectly framed and that there are many other issues of Common Elements, Limited Common Elements
and Unit Elements over which we are struggling to bring into some sort of
equity and logic.  It's not a simple issue.

A request to my neighbors:  there are many of us from TVC on this list.
I'm going to ask that we TVC'ers allow others to respond first. Let's see
if there are any responses from other folks other than glazed eyes.  And
then we can all jump in and splash around.

You can also respond to me off list at:

zabaldo [at] or by calling at 202 291 7892. Or send me your phone
number and I'll call you.

Many thanks!  And crossing my fingers...

Ann Zabaldo
Takoma Village Cohousing
Washington, DC

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