Re: Exterior modifications
From: Ann Zabaldo (
Date: Tue, 18 Feb 2014 14:21:42 -0800 (PST)
 Just to piggy back on some things Sharon brought up …

Our condo assoc. counts decks, patios and unfinished basements as part of the 
s/f of the house.  They are counted as a fraction of the s/f finished space.  

The s/f of the house is used to determine the percentage interest the owner has 
in the condominium.  The larger homes have more percentage interest.

The percentage interest is used in part to determine the condo fees of each 

So … if you have someone adding a deck or patio or finishing a basement they 
are in effect increasing their living space and should therefore increase their 
percentage interest in the condominium and by extension their condo fees should 

We haven’t addressed this in our community. Or rather we’ve TRIED to address.  
Mainly Sharon has tried to address this inequity not because we want to punish 
people but to gain some consistency and order in how we think about legal 
issues that bind us.    Our main problem is our condo docs are conflicting 
about how decks, patio and unfinished space are counted.  Says one thing in one 
part and another in another.  Plus some people including moi bought basements 
not attached to their homes AFTER they settled.  The basements were sold 
separately w/ a separate title — I THINK not sure — but these basements were 
never included in the percentage interest determination of the owners.   It’s a 
mess we’ve been sorting out for YEARS. 

One thing I can say for sure … really, really,, really put money into getting a 
good, clean set of Condo Docs.  I promise you this will save you money, time, 
energy, upset, etc long into the future.

Sharon might be able to talk to this point about s/f and percentage interest 
even more.

Best --

Ann Zabaldo
Takoma Village Cohousing
Washington, DC
Principal, Cohousing Collaborative, LLC
Falls Church VA

On Feb 18, 2014, at 9:35 AM, Sharon Villines <sharon [at]> 

> In addition to Philip's points about ownership & the exterior envelope, there 
> are other issues. If someone builds a deck over an area that is a Common 
> Element, thus converting it to a Limited Common Space, that should also be 
> recorded as well. All exterior modifications should be reviewed according to 
> a policy that is binding. Who reviews the design? Who gets the building 
> permits or ensured that they were obtained? Who maintains the deck? According 
> to what standards? Are safe design standards maintained? Does it meet the 
> standards of your liability insurance? Or the owner's?
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines, Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
> "I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve he world and a 
> desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” ― E.B. White
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