Re: Exterior modifications
From: Diana Carroll (
Date: Tue, 18 Feb 2014 14:35:46 -0800 (PST)
This is interesting. We have exactly the same issue with basements!

Our "schedule of beneficial interest" is part of our docs and is registered
with the county Registry of Deeds.  Changing it would require getting the
approval not just of all the unit owners, but all the primary mortgage
lenders too. We've never done that, because the process seems pretty

On Tuesday, February 18, 2014, Ann Zabaldo <zabaldo [at]> wrote:

>  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 unit.
> 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 increase.
> 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
> 703-688-2646
> On Feb 18, 2014, at 9:35 AM, Sharon Villines <sharon [at] 
> wrote:
> >
> >
> > 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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