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Subject: 4 unit condo-forced window renovations allowed?
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MarshallY
(California)

Posts:2


07/17/2008 9:15 PM  
I am in a 4 unit condo association. We are thinking of redoing stucco, molding, and staircases and have architect plans in the works. 4 years ago 2 of 4 units decided on their own to change their windows out to new vinyl windows. My unit and one other still have the older aluminum framed windows. One of the members says that we need to conform to the new windows during the renovation. My question is, can I be legally forced to change out my windows through a vote? I feel that I should have the equal right to ask the other units to conform to my old aluminum windows. Just because two units decided to change their own windows a few years ago, does that mean that I have to follow? Please, any advise would help. Thank you. BTW, one of the members is trying to have us sign a contract with the architect soon.
KirkW1
(Texas)

Posts:1665


07/17/2008 9:47 PM  
What they can and can't do will be based on your documents. But here are two general observations:
1) If you and the other owner hold your ground, you will prevent the required majority.
2) I would think the windows to be association responsibility since they are part of the exterior shell. Check your documents.
SusanW1
(Michigan)

Posts:5202


07/18/2008 5:39 AM  
In any case,they should all be uniform - shame on the Board for not issuing guidelines long ago that outlined exactly what kind of windows are allowed and where to purchase them. (Of course it was checked out that these owners did have authorization to change-out their windows. - if not,they are in the same boat as you are.)


As your story shows, not all the units needed replacement windows at the same time, but at least they should be from one source. In this case, with a full re-model, here's a chance to get them all uniform.

Insist that the Board provide an itemized list of all construction products and their source, if something comes up in the future.
DwightT
(Idaho)

Posts:664


07/18/2008 7:55 AM  
I'm guessing that with a 4-member association, you either don't really have a Board, or you have a 4-member Board.

Why were the original two allowed to change their windows? As Kirk mentioned, your documents probably stipulate that the windows are part of the exterior shell and are the responsibility of the Association. Those two units should not have been allowed to change out their windows without first getting approval of the other two members (or at least one other for a majority).

But as Susan mentioned, they should be uniform. So if the majority feel it is necessary to change the windows, then yes you can probably be foreced to change out your windows. Again, check your docs.

Besides, why would you want to oppose replacing the windows during the general renovation? Aluminum window frames are notoriously inefficient from an energy standpoint. The seals tend to fail after a short time and you end up with fogged windows and higher heating/cooling bills.
MarshallY
(California)

Posts:2


07/18/2008 4:48 PM  
Thank you for your replies. Just to clarify, the two units that upgraded their windows chose their own window company and paid for it out of their own pockets and not out of the association treasury. No vote was made on which company to use or what material the windows would consist of. It seemed like each unit was on their own.

I am not against the window upgrade from the aluminum, but I don't think that I should be forced to copy the other two windows. What if I don't want retrofitted windows? What if I want another superior material? What if I can't afford to do it now?

Thanks for any replies on this confusing subject.
KirkW1
(Texas)

Posts:1665


07/18/2008 7:12 PM  
For what it is worth, I don't always agree that everything looking the same is the best or only way to go. I would say that you have already gone out of that "norm." I would suggest that your group decide between two options:

1) Leave the proverbial cat out of the bag and allow differences to remain. (Might want to put guidelines as to how far astray things can go through.)

2) Correct the situation and make them all remain the same. At which point all windows are always replaced at the same time by association funds.

A question does occur to me: how closely matched are the windows of the two units that have already replaced their windows?

Also, just because the two have decided that they wanted to pay for different windows, doesn't preclude that the window replacement is actually an association expense and therefore should be paid by the association as a whole.
GlenL
(Ohio)

Posts:5491


07/18/2008 8:23 PM  
Kirk the answer lies in Marshall's particular documents as you said along with whether or not he can be forced to replace them now. But in most condo associations it is the owner's responsibility to replace the windows at their expense after ACC approval. For instance in my documents I am responsible for window replacement and the door onto my patio, however if the door from the main hallway into my unit needs replacing it is an Association expense.

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