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Subject:  HOA repair responsibility regarding foundation
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AudreyY
(North Carolina)

Posts:6


05/17/2017 11:23 AM  
We have a townhome and the CCR says the HOA is responsible for maintenance and repair of any structure aspects including the foundation. We discovered a leak a year ago and turns out it was due to a crack in the foundation. The HOA hired several contractors to look at the issue and one of them told us it might be a construction defect. They had denied our request for repair once before saying there's no issue or damage despite the fact that our floor had moisture damage due to the leak. The HOA finally agreed to send a contractor to fix the crack. But we have no idea if they are licensed. And we don't know if there's a formal report issued by a licensed PE or foundation specialist that can tell us whether there's any structural issue. The contractor wanted to fix the crack using caulk. He cannot show any report or proof of license. They will not provide any warranty of the work. And we asked the HOA to provide the report of the diagnose and the proof of license of these contractors but got no response. My question is can we ask the HOA to provide such report and proof that the contractors they hired are licensed?

They told us if we do not accept what they originally planned to do they are not going to fix it. And we will have to fix at our own expense. I'm concerned that if this is indeed a structural issue, we cannot just let them fix it cosmetically. Should we hire a licensed PE? I'm concerned they will not reimburse us.

LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:682


05/17/2017 2:56 PM  
Hire a general contractor to inspect the current damage. Sometimes GC's will give a free estimate or a small nominal charge. On a side note, I would consult with an attorney that specializes in construction defects, their first step would be to hire a GC and get a complete report of everything they find deficient.

When it comes to licensed contractors, do you have a state licensing boars to check credentials?
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8090


05/17/2017 4:09 PM  
Your HOA isn't under any obligation to hire licensed or insured contractors. Just like you are not. It's more of a smart idea and highly recommended to do. Hence why reputable contractors do get licensed and insured.

Who says your fix isn't fixable by caulk or expanding foam? Having helped build over 25 house and remodeling a few myself, repairs are not always something "magical/special". I've seen expanding foam used to raise sunken steps or sidewalks. These are PROFESSIONAL companies who do this.

So don't over think your situation. Step back and do some research yourself. Rule of thumb... If it's in a Home center store, then it's used for repairs on your home even by "Professionals".

Former HOA President
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16311


05/17/2017 4:26 PM  
Audrey,

Since the Association has the responsibility of the foundation, they also have the say in how it will be fixed and who they will use to fix it.

If you want a specific contractor and the issue fixed a specific way, that will be on you - just as the cost of any inspections or reports you desire will be on your dime.

My advice is allow the Association to perform the repairs they have chosen. After the repairs are completed send a certified letter stating that you are concerned that the Association simply fixed the cosmetic issue and you will be keeping an eye on the situation. Ask for a business card from the person who does the repair so you know who they are as well. Basically, you are documenting the issue if it continues.

It is possible that caulking will fix the issue. Until you try, you simply don't know for sure.

Again, if you are concerned, then you (at your expense) can perform additional inspections and a greater repair. However, any repair you do at your expense runs the risk of the Association pointing fingers at you and your work as the cause if others in your row have similar issues.
AudreyY
(North Carolina)

Posts:6


05/17/2017 5:29 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 05/17/2017 4:09 PM
Your HOA isn't under any obligation to hire licensed or insured contractors. Just like you are not. It's more of a smart idea and highly recommended to do. Hence why reputable contractors do get licensed and insured.

Who says your fix isn't fixable by caulk or expanding foam? Having helped build over 25 house and remodeling a few myself, repairs are not always something "magical/special". I've seen expanding foam used to raise sunken steps or sidewalks. These are PROFESSIONAL companies who do this.

So don't over think your situation. Step back and do some research yourself. Rule of thumb... If it's in a Home center store, then it's used for repairs on your home even by "Professionals".





"Who says your fix isn't fixable by caulk. ". --This is exactly why we need a report from someone who has the credential/knowledge/capability. We as the homeowner need to know what's going on there and if there's any serious problems with the home we are living in. If so they need to be fixed and that's what the HOA fees do. Not just have someone who we cannot even tell if they are licensed to do whatever they want to our home without anything we can hold accountable. Would you put painters tape on a leaking roof thinking its gonna stop the leak? Probably not. And, I understand the caulk probably would stop the moisture leaking. But I'm not sure if it would do anything to support the foundation if there is concern about the structure. We don't even know why the crack happened. Seems nobody from the HOA wants to know why and how to fix it correctly. They have sent several contractors to fix this during the past year and none of them stopped the leak because they didn't even know what they were doing. They were just spraying some foam onto the foundation wall and left without knowing why. That's why I wanted to make sure they know what they are doing this time because we can't afford the floor being damaged again or any other damages.

Our situation is not a crack in a vanity sink. If that's the case I'd have no problem go to the home center store and get something for a quick fix.


KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6350


05/17/2017 5:34 PM  
Tim's observations look sound, Audrey. You'll have to reply on the board to hire the correct professionals to diagnose and do the work. If NC is like most states, you as an owner can have a copy of the executed contract(s) for the work. It should have license info on it. Then you can check on the firm for yourself.

How old is your HOA? Perhaps it's young enough where your Board can get the developer to pay for the repairs if indeed it's a construction defect. You need among other pieces of info, to know what the a statutes of limitation are for construction defects in your state.

We have underground garages--3 levels and there are cracks in the surrounding concrete walls that have been repaired with a caulking-like material. A concrete engineer identified all of the cracks. We did not engage a PE for this.
AudreyY
(North Carolina)

Posts:6


05/17/2017 5:42 PM  
Posted By TimB4 on 05/17/2017 4:26 PM
Audrey,

Since the Association has the responsibility of the foundation, they also have the say in how it will be fixed and who they will use to fix it.

If you want a specific contractor and the issue fixed a specific way, that will be on you - just as the cost of any inspections or reports you desire will be on your dime.

My advice is allow the Association to perform the repairs they have chosen. After the repairs are completed send a certified letter stating that you are concerned that the Association simply fixed the cosmetic issue and you will be keeping an eye on the situation. Ask for a business card from the person who does the repair so you know who they are as well. Basically, you are documenting the issue if it continues.

It is possible that caulking will fix the issue. Until you try, you simply don't know for sure.

Again, if you are concerned, then you (at your expense) can perform additional inspections and a greater repair. However, any repair you do at your expense runs the risk of the Association pointing fingers at you and your work as the cause if others in your row have similar issues.





Thanks for the response Tim!

Yes, I'm concerned doing the repair by myself in case they come back and blame me for anything. Also I'm worried if later I sell the home do I have to disclose the issue to potential buyers? In our state it's required to disclose any known foundation issue. Not knowing whether it's a structure issue is what I'm concerned about. If the buyer later proved that it is, can they sue me for not telling them? Or can I just say the HOA fixed it and be good to go? That's why I need something from the HOA saying either its ok or it's been fixed correctly by a licensed person instead of having no evidence on hand at all...

Thanks!!
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16311


05/17/2017 8:29 PM  
I think you are putting in too much worrying.

Are you planning to sell within the next year?
If not, I wouldn't worry about it. You will know if the repair addressed the issue or not.

Again, get things in writing so there is documentation that you reported the issue, the HOA took action and informed you it was fixed.
That should satisfy the court if someone did sue you on failure to disclose.

MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8090


05/17/2017 9:10 PM  
Sooo... Your asking someone else to do the work but complain when they do it to their standards? If you want it done right do it yourself they say. If you want someone else to do it, then you get their results..

HOA is not in the home repair business... Your also asking that ALL your neighbors pay for your repair when you ask the HOA to pay. What expectations do you have if a neighbor asked for same?

Do you want an expensive repair? Well then lets tear up your yard, lift the house, and put more sealant down... This is what professionals may do. Otherwise putting caulk on the crack may do... Option is yours...

Former HOA President
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8090


05/17/2017 9:14 PM  
Oh did forget there is a thing called a HOME INSPECTION that issues are to be caught... If the buyers inspector did not find the issue then the purchaser has issue with them. You should not even be home or even talk to the home inpector. Why disclose what you do not have to?

Former HOA President
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:4168


05/18/2017 12:28 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 05/17/2017 9:14 PM
Oh did forget there is a thing called a HOME INSPECTION that issues are to be caught... If the buyers inspector did not find the issue then the purchaser has issue with them. You should not even be home or even talk to the home inpector. Why disclose what you do not have to?


Because some States such as mine and probably the OP's require owners selling to complete a document which is a checklist of known issues to be disclosed and which they sign attesting their statements are true.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8090


05/18/2017 4:28 AM  
And... Can't just check that that the HOA did "fix" the issue? Does it have to be written down that it was done by professionals or who even did the work? We don't know if the leak has not been fixed. They just did not like they don't know who did the fix NOT that it was not fixed. Plus as long as it's disclosed it's up to the buyer to decide if that is a breaking point for purchase NOT the seller's.

Overall think overthinking and over worrying about the situation... Worry enough fix it yourself as in the end it's going to be your responsibility to repair. It's just the SOURCE of who's going to pay for it. The owner or the HOA....

Former HOA President
DouglasM6
(Arizona)

Posts:724


05/18/2017 5:17 AM  
Licenses are overrated. Usually it's a guy in a collared shirt driving a new pickup around giving estimates that has the license, not the workers themselves.

Solid advice from Tim on the other. Let them fix it. Document it properly, and go on about your life. If you impede the repair too much the HOA may pull back saying they tried but was not allowed to complete it. You can bet they are documenting everything.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16311


05/18/2017 6:26 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 05/17/2017 9:10 PM

HOA is not in the home repair business... Your also asking that ALL your neighbors pay for your repair when you ask the HOA to pay. What expectations do you have if a neighbor asked for same?




Melissa,

You seem to have missed the point that the CC&Rs specify that the foundation is the responsibility of the Assocaitions. Therefore, per the governing docs, everyone will be paying for the repairs (what ever they may be) and the OP would be paying for any similar repairs on someone elses home.
DouglasK1
(Florida)

Posts:1395


05/18/2017 9:00 AM  
Posted By TimB4 on 05/18/2017 6:26 AM
Posted By MelissaP1 on 05/17/2017 9:10 PM
HOA is not in the home repair business... Your also asking that ALL your neighbors pay for your repair when you ask the HOA to pay. What expectations do you have if a neighbor asked for same?


Melissa,

You seem to have missed the point that the CC&Rs specify that the foundation is the responsibility of the Assocaitions. Therefore, per the governing docs, everyone will be paying for the repairs (what ever they may be) and the OP would be paying for any similar repairs on someone elses home.


Doesn't that seem to be the common thread in Melissa's posts?

Escaped former treasurer and director of a self managed association.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8090


05/18/2017 3:30 PM  
AND the OP said the HOA DID fix the issue.... They just wanted proof it was "Licensed/Insured" company that did the work. They were NOT satisfied with the caulking fix. The HOA is satisfied with that fix. There really is no need for the OP to contact the company that did the repairs IF the HOA is responsible. Is there? If it was done wrong, then the OP goes to their HOA who then contacts the "fixing party". Who ever that may be. The HOA is their customer NOT the OP.

Former HOA President
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8276


05/18/2017 4:59 PM  
Audrey

Has the HOA, according to them, fixed the crack? If so I guess your concern is was it done properly. If not, your recourse is to the HOA.

I would want some assurance the contractor was qualified so I say stay on the BOD about it.
AudreyY
(North Carolina)

Posts:6


05/19/2017 10:01 AM  
Hi John,

No they haven't fixed it yet. At this point they refuse to provide any information about the plan to fix and who these contractors are. Basically we only have two options according to their email. 1) Say yes, we want them to fix it. 2) we fix at our own expense.

So we won't know what the people are going to do with the fix until they actually come, if we choose to let the HOA do this. And we will not get anything in written form. We won't be able to see any contract they had between the HOA and the contractors I guess based on their current attitude.
AudreyY
(North Carolina)

Posts:6


05/19/2017 10:04 AM  
I did NOT say they fixed the issue...till this point, nothing has been done to effectively stop the leak.
AudreyY
(North Carolina)

Posts:6


05/19/2017 12:39 PM  
Let me clarify. The HOA did not fix the crack. Because on the day the contractor came, we asked some questions about how they are going to fix it and inquired about the root cause and report, and their qualification. Then the guy who's in charge of the work got mad and told his crew to leave.


The HOA did scheduled a time with us for a contractor to come and fix the issue after they realized there's a crack in the foundation. But we never knew what the plan was until the day the guy actually showed up. We kept inquiring about the plan and everything but got no response. All communication with the HOA was through email and they rarely respond. So we thought we just had to confirm with the contractor during his visit. When he came, we asked what he's gonna do and what's going on with the crack. Because we really care about whether it's a structural issue or not. The guy can't answer the question about what's going on with the crack. He claimed its not a structural issue and said he will just caulk it. ( this is why we were confused. He didn't know why the crack was there, what caused the crack and yet he can tell that's not a structural issue?) Then we asked if they have any report or something from a licensed foundation professional that can show the diagnose? And we asked if we can take a look at the contract between them and the HOA so at least we know what the plan was and if there really was a diagnose. Not just something from a random person's decision. He ignored our question and called his boss. This was how it got nasty. We asked if there's any report. He ignored. We asked why they choose to use caulk instead of some other method. If they can tell me they had an engineer or someone with the capability to diagnose this and determined this is not a structural issue so caulk is enough, then I would have no problem with it. But they don't have anything to support what they say. The boss on the phone asked me rudely if I work in the construction field. And said if I go to a doctor I should do what they told me to instead of asking why. I was shocked. They continued brag about how famous they are and they were even on the TV news. They had fixed house for Michael Jordan blabla...Then the boss asked the contractor to stop working on anything and leave. We explained this to the HOA after they left.

That's basically what happened before we got the final email from the HOA with the two options. That sounds like a threat because we still don't have any information on the persons qualification and the report.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:2907


05/19/2017 3:02 PM  
Posted By AudreyY on 05/19/2017 12:39 PM
When he came, we asked what he's gonna do and what's going on with the crack. Because we really care about whether it's a structural issue or not. The guy can't answer the question about what's going on with the crack. He claimed its not a structural issue and said he will just caulk it.

It sounds like he did answer the question. Nevertheless, I feel your pain. What I would do, if I were you, is hire your own structural engineer to evaluate the problen. Then prepare to sue. It sounds like your board is completely unaware of its fiduciary duty. If there's not enough money for a proper evaluation and repair of the problem for which the association is responsible then the board's duty is to special assess for the costs or take out a loan to cover it. A home is one of the biggest investments most normal people have. You have a contract. Maybe it's time to enforce it.
JeffT2
(Iowa)

Posts:465


05/19/2017 4:34 PM  
Is your townhome a condominium?

Do you own the foundation?

Did you make an insurance claim on the previous water damage?

The hoa is responsible for maintenance of the foundation. The hoa is also responsible to do a good job maintaining and repairing the foundation. If they do not do a good job, then the hoa is responsible for water damage that results from their faulty repair. Now that's a relief. Yes, it is a pain in the neck to repair water damage, but the hoa will by paying for future damage caused by this issue.

I would take pictures and document everything thoroughly, as if you were preparing for a lawsuit. Then write a letter to the board informing them that they are responsible for future damage. Or pay a lawyer to write the letter. Then go ahead with their repair.
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:4168


05/19/2017 8:26 PM  
Audrey ...

I would check with your local government and see what they REQUIRE. Potentially contractors must follow both the State and Local Government Ordinances. Point blank ask your local government whether the entity performing the required work must be licensed or not. If they state the answer is YES ... get it in writing if possible or ask for the Statute referencing. That potentially will solve your issue.

GuyM1
(Ohio)

Posts:278


10/01/2017 11:43 AM  
I'm in a worse situation with my HOA because my front door becomes wedged shut when the weather gets in the freezing range. Have a crack that goes from the front door through my entry way, under the staircase to the outer wall. Outer wall blew out with a loud boom and left a crack from the staircase to the ceiling. It's been well over a year and the HOA hasn't lifted a finger to even look at the problem. Having ceramic tile in the entry which cracked and lifted tile and I removed tile to expose the crack and removed the drywall for inspection. HOA did contact the insurance company which they did come out and denied the claim because of length of time. After insurance denied claim HOA said it was my problem, [Really just the President said it] they are responsible for wall repairs but say I should turn in to my Insurance.
Here is my take on this: HOA is responsible to repair all damages do to the fact of poor maintenance of the common areas. Yes the HOA must get Registered. Licence and Bonded Contractors to protect all homeowners of the association. The HOA should get a company that deals with foundations come out and access the damage because this would be their duty as a board to protect the association.
I find this is why there is so many problems in associations by the attitudes that some show here is that the board doesn't have to do anything. Their DUTY is to get Professionals to give them proper guidance in such matters.

This is why I'm in litigation, the ignorance of people on the board not doing their FIDUCIARY DUTY!!!

This is your HOME and have a right to PROTECT it!!!

Putting caulk in a crack may stop the water temporally but there is more of what damages can and will it do overtime? And it will cause undermining of the slab! Homeowners have rights too!
GuyM1
(Ohio)

Posts:278


10/01/2017 11:48 AM  
I totally agree!!! You can call foundation companies which sometimes they have credentials of expertise in these matters and here where I am it's free to have them come out and give a report.
GuyM1
(Ohio)

Posts:278


10/01/2017 11:56 AM  
So let me ask: What happens when the one year warranty is up and damage occurs who will pay for all damages to the Homeowners property?

This is what's wrong with HOA boards!!!
GuyM1
(Ohio)

Posts:278


10/01/2017 12:04 PM  
I'm afraid they are under obligation to get licensed and insured and registered contractors to protect the whole association for any lawsuits that could arise from someone or something getting hurt or damaged!!!

This is the problem with misinformed board members that do what they think and not ask the Professionals.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16311


10/01/2017 1:26 PM  
Guy,

You realize that the Board is made up of volunteers?

You seem to have a grasp on the issues. Have you volunteered to serve on your Board?
GuyM1
(Ohio)

Posts:278


10/01/2017 2:30 PM  
We have only 9 homes and they haven't been maintained properly for a long time and it is starting to cause problems. I've been trying to move for a few years and can't sell because of the foundation, ceramic removed and the hole in the wall. Board President hates me and has turn people against me for taking them to court to repair the problems. So what should I do let the Volunteers destroy my home and Investment. I just want them to do their Fiduciary duty which is for everyone and all the damage is HOA's responsibility. Should I live like this and just except what I get.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16311


10/01/2017 2:53 PM  
Guy, you never answered my question (at least not directly).

Should you live like that?
Probably not.

One way to have fixed it would have been to gather support and gotten elected to the Board.
That way, you would have been part of the decision process.
Legal action costs money.

Legal actions would likely have reduced the amount of funds available for Reserves, caused special assessments to occur or raised assessments. This likely didn't make you friends with your neighbors.

With only 9 homes, I suspect your assessment are fairly high (less people to share in the costs) anyway.

If you really want to sell, I'd turn the issue into your Insurance company and let the insurance company fight with the Association to get their money back. This way, the unit would be fixed and (if that is the only thing preventing sales) you can sell and move.
GuyM1
(Ohio)

Posts:278


10/01/2017 3:16 PM  
Like I said I'm moving and just want house fixed: Why don't they fix it?

There is only 9 condo's in the association and most don't want to get involved or spend any money, that's why their in so bad of shape and in a few years they will get a big surprise on how much money they are going to need to do roofs,siding or painting [they already have a special reserve going for a four year plan to repair siding that hasn't been painted in ten years t-111], sidewalks that are hazardous and a huge liability and other issues that haven't been addressed.

They were doing nothing so what should I do? I tried to get things fixed but all I hear is where are we going to get this money we are paying all this other money..Dues. reserve fund and special reserve fund and I understand that but it's not my problem. I've told these people for years they need to to start repairing before it got out of hand but I'm only one person, but do have a neighbor that is on my side but now is being shunned and sadly the President called her a winch in a meeting....Bad

This HOA is heading to a bad place and I don't and won't be part of it.
GuyM1
(Ohio)

Posts:278


10/01/2017 3:22 PM  
Insurance company won't pay for Foundation and Tile. They will paint entry, staircase and upper hallway but drywall is association property and in the docs it says no one is allowed to work on common elements.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16311


10/01/2017 3:28 PM  
Posted By GuyM1 on 10/01/2017 3:16 PM

This HOA is heading to a bad place and I don't and won't be part of it.




However, you are part of it.

As long as you are an owner of property within that Association you are part of that COA (Condominium Owners Association).

You have a choice to be a passive part or an active part.
A passive part simply pays their assessment.
An active part is participating in the process from voting to serving.

Either way - you are a part of the Association and as such, you will be responsible (financially) for the Associations actions.

GuyM1
(Ohio)

Posts:278


10/01/2017 3:52 PM  
There is really a lot more to this but to much to get into. I gave a offer to the HOA to fix all damages, Lawyer fees and no assessment to me. If they don't take settlement I'll drop lawsuit and refile a case that is worse than settling. I'll just put it this way a lot of wrong doing on a few board members part. Like leaving a board member out of a vote to sue me over the pickup because she didn't side with the other two which the board has to vote unanimously on. No notice of these meetings sent to all homeowners of said meetings. Emails from President calling me names and lying about things. Just a lot of things and also denied a hearing about the pickup. This is why I want out and last year a board member moved because of the President. Said he was Crazy. I know you mean well but this guy has ruined the association.
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