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Subject: Neighbor's window
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KeithK7
(Washington)

Posts:3


08/11/2019 4:39 PM  
Our condos have 4 units per building and there are 4 buildings. Small association. As I walk up the stairs to our unit it puts me face level with the neighbor’s kitchen window. The one over their kitchen sink.

The inside is covered with black mold and buzzing flies. It’s beyond nasty. The Fedex person dropping stuff off for us mentioned it to my wife. OMG, what is the deal with the neighbor’s place.

I shudder to think what the place looks like inside.

I’m on the board. We sent a note from the board saying that the window was very visible to anyone who walked by and should be kept clean just like anything in view of everyone.

We got a quick response they would take care of it and two weeks later nothing has happened.

Do we have the right to ask them to clean that up?

Could we force an inspection of the unit to make sure the whole place is not infested with mold or worse? Biggest concern would be that it’s so nasty they condemned the unit or building.

Any thought on what our options are? I tried to attach a pic but it wouldn't let me.

LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:840


08/11/2019 5:51 PM  
Quite honestly. Take pictures and file a complaint with both code enforcement and the health department. See who takes the lead.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8768


08/11/2019 6:52 PM  
They are still alive right? Afraid the HOA most likely doesn't have the right to enter the residence. Maybe if it offered a service like bug control. It would have to be written in your documents to allow "emergency" entrance. Otherwise, it's most likely breaking the law.

It's a complicated situation I know. We had a house that we foreclosed on and left empty. A water line broke. Flooded the house. It was winter time too. We legally were not allowed to enter the home. A neighbor was able to get a key. He turned off the water at the street. That is all we could do as a HOA. We did not own the home and had to wait till a new owner bought it. It was well over 20K in damages.

So maybe can report it for a welfare check but being nasty isn't against the law inside your own home. As luck would have it, was helping some people move recently. They had not cleaned litter boxes with multiple cats... Now have a lung issue. Nothing can do.

Former HOA President
DouglasK1
(Florida)

Posts:1466


08/11/2019 8:36 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 08/11/2019 6:52 PM
They are still alive right? Afraid the HOA most likely doesn't have the right to enter the residence. Maybe if it offered a service like bug control. It would have to be written in your documents to allow "emergency" entrance. Otherwise, it's most likely breaking the law.



Ignore this post, Melissa knows nothing about condo associations and doesn't seem to realize that not all associations are exactly like the one she is a member of.

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

Posts:8768


08/11/2019 9:33 PM  
And your HOA is not different than others? It is not a HOA issue. You can not just enter someones home period. It is up to professionals with legal reasons to do so. Otherwise whatis your address and may I come in and judge how you live?

Former HOA President
RichardP13


Posts:0


08/11/2019 10:32 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 08/11/2019 9:33 PM
And your HOA is not different than others? It is not a HOA issue. You can not just enter someones home period. It is up to professionals with legal reasons to do so. Otherwise whatis your address and may I come in and judge how you live?



Douglas is spot on, you are clueless when it relates to condos.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8768


08/12/2019 4:09 AM  
Oh so I can enter a condo whenever I want? Good to know a Condo isn't the way to go if I want privacy... Tell me again what rule or law allows one to enter someone's home? I'd really like to know what gives someone the right. Oh and then clean up their home or kick them out for what deemed "unsafe" living conditions?

Former HOA President
KeithK7
(Washington)

Posts:3


08/12/2019 4:42 AM  
It is a fine line. We are small and self-managed.

Exterior stuff is very much up to the association. What is left out on decks, even what is potentially hung on windows that all can see.

Under ordinary circumstances the inside of the units is no business of the association.

What about when it affects property values? What if we were selling our place and everybody that came to see it walked by and sees that window? At what point is it truly a liability for the building itself and the association? At what point is it a health concern?

I wish I could post a pic of the window to convey a sense of the nastiness.

This same place had bed bugs a few years ago. They had to do extensive work, throwing things away, … to get rid of them. Fortunately, it did not affect any of the other units.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8768


08/12/2019 5:06 AM  
That isn't a "Value" thing. Home values are based on REAL #'s. It is just not ATTRACTIVE to potential buyers. Best you can do is request to move things from the windows and enforce that rule.

I have family and friends who have this issue. One likes to call it "Depression". It can be related to a mental illness. Which laws are all over the place in regards what one can and can not do. It is a fine line I agree.

I say one keeps their home like they keep their mind. You live exteriorly with what you live with in your mind. That's why many people don't see or recognize the mess they are actually living in.

Funny part is one of my friends who has this condition came to visit my house. I had just had the carpets replaced in the house. Everything had been moved around. I am extremely organized person and it had driven me crazy with it being so disorganized. So had quickly organized it prior to them visiting. Their comment? You sure do have a lot of knick-knacks. Basically my whole house had been moved to the 1st floor that day. I was like "really?"

Former HOA President
AugustinD


Posts:2082


08/12/2019 7:05 AM  
Posted By KeithK7 on 08/12/2019 4:42 AM
Under ordinary circumstances the inside of the units is no business of the association.

What about when it affects property values? What if we were selling our place and everybody that came to see it walked by and sees that window? At what point is it truly a liability for the building itself and the association? At what point is it a health concern?

I wish I could post a pic of the window to convey a sense of the nastiness.

This same place had bed bugs a few years ago. They had to do extensive work, throwing things away, … to get rid of them. Fortunately, it did not affect any of the other units.
When the pestilence, mold or similar has a high chance of crossing over to another unit (through say, condo-owned walls), I believe the an association's covenants empower it to fine etc. to get action. You folks got lucky with the bedbugs. I think you know the score. Mold remediation is not cheap and highly inconveniences residents when it is done.
AugustinD


Posts:2082


08/12/2019 7:07 AM  
Also, I would not call it a fine line. Liability issues loom. E.g. the board knew about the mold, which then crossed over to a second unit. The second unit's insurer finds it documented that the condo board knew about the first unit's mold and did nothing. I recommend your board get serious and fast. Bring the HOA attorney into the discussion.
JeffT2
(Iowa)

Posts:502


08/12/2019 8:55 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 08/12/2019 4:09 AM
Oh so I can enter a condo whenever I want? Good to know a Condo isn't the way to go if I want privacy... Tell me again what rule or law allows one to enter someone's home? I'd really like to know what gives someone the right. Oh and then clean up their home or kick them out for what deemed "unsafe" living conditions?



Here is that law, RCW 64.90.440:
(2) The board may by rule designate physical components of the property for which a unit owner is otherwise responsible that present a heightened risk of damage or harm to persons or property if the physical components fail. The association may require that specific measures be taken by the unit owner or the association to diminish that risk of harm. If a unit owner fails to accomplish any necessary maintenance, repair, or replacement to those components, or fails to take any other measures required of the unit owner under this subsection, the association may, after notice to a unit owner and an opportunity to be heard, enter the unit in the manner pursuant to subsection (3) of this section to perform such maintenance, repair, replacement, or measure at the expense of that unit owner.
(3) Upon prior notice, except in case of an emergency, each unit owner must afford to the association and the other unit owners, and to their agents or employees, access through that owner's unit and limited common elements reasonably necessary for the purposes stated in subsections (1) and (2) of this section, including necessary inspections by the association. If damage is inflicted on the common elements or on any unit through which access is taken, the unit owner responsible for the damage, or the association if it is responsible, is liable for the prompt repair of the damage.

To be fair, I did not read the applicability section of this law, so I can't say it applies to this condominium, but as a general principle it applies to many.
TimM11


Posts:324


08/12/2019 9:33 AM  
My state has a very similar law on the books; it's not unheard of.

That being said, I think the suggestion of contacting higher authorities beyond the HOA makes sense to see if they can do anything too.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8904


08/12/2019 9:43 AM  
Same here.
ND
(PA)

Posts:376


08/12/2019 12:28 PM  
You sent one letter and received a quick response that they would take care of it . . . and you feel it should have been taken care of already. If no deadline to clean the window was specified, maybe the owner has plans to get to it in the future (or not, who knows).

Perhaps a second letter will do the trick. It could be exactly the same as first letter, just indicating additionally that it's the second request from the Board. This second letter will help convey the importance of correcting the problem, show that the situation is being monitored, and hint that the acceptable timeline for fixing the issue has passed.

This is a bit easier and less threatening than contacting local code enforcement, the health department, and/ore entering the unit to fix issue(s).

Maybe after the second ignored letter, you pursue those paths. Or send a third letter that is a bit more firm and includes an actual deadline.
KeithK7
(Washington)

Posts:3


08/13/2019 6:07 AM  
Thanks for all the thoughts and responses.

There are pros and cons to self-managing our HOA. One of the challenges is lack of expertise in certain matters.

We'll most likely just follow up with another note on cleaning the window that is right there on display for the world to see. It just prompted some discussion on what else could be going on in there and what, if any right or authority we had to probe more on that.
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