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Subject: NEED ADVICE for CONDO AC
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OrzhenR
(California)

Posts:3


11/20/2017 3:34 PM  
Hello,

I recently purchased a condo in a building managed by an HOA.

So here is the story:
The building's A/C is a very old system. The A/C unit in my room leaks like crazy and is inefficient as many A/C companies have told me. I contacted HOA to fix it but they said it's up to me to fix it so I contacted several companies but they all said they can't work on it. I contacted HOA again and they gave me the company's information that works on several of the other units in the building. They came out and looked at it and said the whole system in my unit had to be replaced but they cannot find it anywhere as it's an extremely old unit. So I'm stuck there because the HOA agreement says I cannot have an extra A/C units installed in the condo like my own separated from the building. Anyways, there is more...

The A/C unit is also central meaning it's either hot or cold. You can't control which one you want to use. Based on the seasons and what the HOA believes it should be is what the temperature is set as. So if it's 65 degrees outside normally the A/C will be turned on warm. So when you turn it on if you want a cold breeze, it will blow out warm air. That being said... I have a medical condition that I cannot be warm or cold from certain temperatures but it differs and it's not usually the same as everyone else. I need to be able to control my temperature and not have it connected to the whole building. We're all clearly not in the same physical condition that all our temperatures are the same.

HOA told me if that was an issue for me I shouldn't have bought a condo in that building.

What are my rights here?
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:7664


11/20/2017 3:41 PM  
What rights do you want to have? It sounds like the ball is in your court to fix the issue. You just have to go through the HOA for APPROVAL for the fix to occur. They don't sound responsible for maintenance of your A/C unit unless it's in your CC&R's.

Former HOA President
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5759


11/20/2017 4:15 PM  
Welcome to the Forum, Orzhen. How old IS your HOA? How many units are there? Are they all in one building?

I'm in a condo HOA too. Btw, the HOA doesn't "manage" your condo building. You & all your fellow owners are MEMBERS of the HOA. When you bought in this HOA, you signed a lot of documents and were given many to read before you signed the escrow closing papers. One of those is the CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions), which tells you what you're responsible for and what the HOA's responsible for. It will say you're responsible for your AC/heat unit. We Owners are in my HOA too.

But our in-condo AC units are all connected by piping to a large HVAC system on the roof. Our personal units are called "water source heat pumps" and might be different than yours. But, what is the same is that your new AC unit must mesh with the overall HVAC system. Any of the techs you've talked with can tell you that. So you do NOT have a free choice in what you buy as a replacement. And Melissa is right, you
ll most likely need HOA approval for the new unit that you purchases. I feel certain you HOA's board of directors or management company (MC), if there is one, has certain brands and sizes they require.

So you're the one who must pay to replace it. If the seller didn't disclose to you that the AC unit was no good, you might be able to get them to pay, but don't bet on it. You probably should have had a professional home inspection. I'm afraid that by not understanding what you signed, you are in a bind.

I have never heard of individual AC units where ALL are controlled from some central location so I can say nothing about them. If you aren't mistaken, that is something else you should have checked into before your bought your condo. Who would want a condo where they cannot control their own room temperature????

Where is your AC unit? Closet? Or?
OrzhenR
(California)

Posts:3


11/20/2017 4:31 PM  
Thank you for your response.
I don't expect them to fix the A/C. I would like to put in my own A/C system in my unit and I will pay for it but they aren't allowing me to do so. I want to separate my unit and add in those wall mount A/C systems that allow me to choose if I want it cold or hot. They said no but it's become a medical condition which I have doctor's proof that I'm sensitive to temperature based on a certain condition I have.
OrzhenR
(California)

Posts:3


11/20/2017 4:33 PM  
Hello KerryL,

Thank you for your response.

I understand. I know I would be responsible for the inside unit. I don't expect them to fix it but since the issue is 1. deemed as unfixable and 2. I have a medical condition that I need to be able to control my own temperature, I would like to add in my own separate wall mount A/C but HOA doesn't allow it.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:7664


11/20/2017 4:54 PM  
Well there is your answer. You can't put the individual unit in. You have to comply what the HOA says you have to do. It's not what you want. Medical issues or not, you have to put in what the HOA approves.

Former HOA President
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5759


11/20/2017 5:36 PM  
Our AC is "central" too, Orzhen, but each condo resident has control of the temperature. I wonder if there's a misunderstanding and that maybe your thermostat also isn't functioning and so, you can't control the interior temperature.

How old is your building??

I don't think your HOA can be forced into allowing you to install the system of your choice. Condos usually have very strict rules about the kinds of interior changes we can make. You'd need to penetrate one or more walls and run energy, too, to a unit. Usually, there are architectural guidelines that say wall penetration can only be done with HOA permission. The main reason is all units are attached so cutting into a wall could weaken the structure over all. This is in, or referred to in, the documents you signed when you closed escrow. The HOA board of directors must protect its buildings no matter your medical condition.

I think you might want to consult with an attorney to see if you have any right to add a AC unit. I suspect you'll be disappointed. It all goes back to the contract you signed when you bought the condo.

PaininyourA


Posts:0


11/20/2017 7:42 PM  
The OP has a (local) fan/coil unit connected to a central (master) Heat Pump.

The OP has a thermostat for temperature control

BUT

can NOT (locally) determine whether the 'system' is in heating / winter OR cooling / summer mode.

This is typical for hi-rise buildings.

If his local fan/coil unit is leaking he is responsible for the local repair.


We do not know if the system in question has local DX refrigerant coils or local hydronic coils.

DX coils would only leak condensate during cooling season.

Hydronic coils may leak condensate during cooling season OR leak water at any time there is a 'call' for AC.


The confusing part is that AC stands for air conditioning which includes heating.

The OP probably has an HVAC system in the building w/o PROPER commercial grade 'operators'.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3057


11/20/2017 8:19 PM  
I manage HOA for a living, including condos. It sounds like you have a unit that is attached to the roof, in which case, that is your unit, not the association. Most A/C unit are central, meaning there is a furnace either on the roof or in your unit.

Your CCR's or rules will describe what you can or can't have hanging out your window. If you have central air, you won't be allowed to have a separate unit outside your window. The time to ask for an callowness would have been prior to closing on the unit.

The unit might be unfixable, but IF you just moved in, this should have been discovered during the home inspection tour. Sorry, you will just have to pony up the funds for a more modern unit that will fit your specific unit.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15999


11/20/2017 8:24 PM  
Orzhen,

This is based solely on what you provided and what you stated was the Associations response to your issue.

You may be able to request a reasonable accommodation for your medical condition.
Such a request would be made under the Federal Fair Housing Act.
If approved, you would be able to add your own A/C unit at your expense but it would have to be removed when your medical condition has been resolved or when the unit is sold.

Based on the response you said your Board provided, you may want to have an attorney write the letter on your behalf.


If you have written documentation that the unit can not be fixed, you might be able to file legal action to force the Association to repair the unit. Talk to your attorney prior to threatening any legal action.

As a side note: you are in a COA (condominium owners association) and not an HOA (home owners association)
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5759


11/20/2017 9:52 PM  
CA makes no distinction between condos and other HOAs, Tim. They all are under the Common Interest Development legislation.

"Reasonable" very likely doesn't include making holes in the walls of a condo building. But, please notice i advised the OP to contact an attorney.

None of the individual AC units, "heat pumps" in our condo, are the HOA's responsibility. I doubt if they are in the OP's condo budiling either.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:503


11/20/2017 10:12 PM  
Posted By OrzhenR on 11/20/2017 3:34 PM
Hello,

I recently purchased a condo in a building managed by an HOA.

So here is the story:
The building's A/C is a very old system. The A/C unit in my room leaks like crazy and is inefficient as many A/C companies have told me. I contacted HOA to fix it but they said it's up to me to fix it so I contacted several companies but they all said they can't work on it. I contacted HOA again and they gave me the company's information that works on several of the other units in the building. They came out and looked at it and said the whole system in my unit had to be replaced but they cannot find it anywhere as it's an extremely old unit. So I'm stuck there because the HOA agreement says I cannot have an extra A/C units installed in the condo like my own separated from the building. Anyways, there is more...

The A/C unit is also central meaning it's either hot or cold. You can't control which one you want to use. Based on the seasons and what the HOA believes it should be is what the temperature is set as. So if it's 65 degrees outside normally the A/C will be turned on warm. So when you turn it on if you want a cold breeze, it will blow out warm air. That being said... I have a medical condition that I cannot be warm or cold from certain temperatures but it differs and it's not usually the same as everyone else. I need to be able to control my temperature and not have it connected to the whole building. We're all clearly not in the same physical condition that all our temperatures are the same.

HOA told me if that was an issue for me I shouldn't have bought a condo in that building.

What are my rights here?




You should have thought about that before you committed to the purchase.
I don't see you having little to any "rights" You should have had the HVAC fixed by the previous owner prior to closing.
You should have not purchased a condo in a MDU such as a tower, because nearly all towers have a central plant HVAC.
You may have to deal with HOA only approved vendors to fix your AC unit.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15999


11/21/2017 12:21 AM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 11/20/2017 9:52 PM
CA makes no distinction between condos and other HOAs, Tim. They all are under the Common Interest Development legislation.




Good to know
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