Re: Exterior modifications
From: S. Kashdan (
Date: Mon, 17 Feb 2014 07:41:39 -0800 (PST)

Here at Jackson Place Cohousing, in Seattle, Washington, we are also legally 
organized as a condominium. So, I have learnt how important it is to have 
obligations that we want to be legally binding over time to be written into 
our condo docs, such as our declaration and bylaws.  If the obligation of 
homeowners to be legally liable for maintenance of
modifications of their homes that extend into common areas is not already
clearly stated in your condo declaration and possibly your bylaws, I think 
you need
to get a lawyer to help clearly state  it there. I think that is the only
way you can be at all sure that a new homeowner is bound by such an
obligation, or have any recourse if the new homeowner doesn't want to be
bound by it.


Sylvie Kashdan
Community Outreach Liaison
Jackson Place Cohousing
800 Hiawatha Place South
Seattle, WA 98144
info [at]

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Diana Carroll" <dianaecarroll [at]>
To: "Cohousing-L" <cohousing-l [at]>
Sent: Monday, February 17, 2014 6:29 AM
Subject: [C-L]_ Exterior modifications

Hey all, has anyone dealt with this situation?

We are structured as a condominium in which individual homeowners own their
walls inward, and the studs out are common property.

We want to allow owners to make exterior modifications to their buildings,
such as decks, ramps, skylights, etc. But we want the homeowner, not the
community, to be responsible for the maintenance of the structure, as well
as to assume liability for any issues the modification may cause...e.g.
damage to exterior walls from a leaking skylight, someone getting injured
on an poorly maintained deck, etc.

We've had this policy in place all along, and it is not controversial, but
until just recently no one has actually done anything with it.  Now we have
our first request, so we need to figure out how to make it happen.

As a trustee my concern is primarily with what happens when the current
owner sells and a new owner moves in.  I want to make sure that they remain
legally liable for maintenance of the modification that extends into common

So, has anyone else solved this?  In the case of a ramp or deck or other
projection into common space I was wondering if perhaps an easement is the
right solution.  But what about a sky light or similar?

Note our question isn't about policy...we have already consensed on the
principle...but about legal implementation.

Thanks for any insight.

Diana for Mosaic Commons in central MA
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