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JerryD2
(Texas)

Posts:3


06/30/2012 1:10 AM  
Hello. I live in a condominium and I need insulation in my attic. The management is telling me it is my responsibilty to insulate the attic, but since the attic is considered a common area and I cannot use it for my own purposes, shouldn't this be an association responsibility? The condo is 34 years old and probobly has the original insulation in it. I live in Houston, Texas and my Air Conditioner is working hard. My unit is only 600 sq. feet so, insulation would be approximately $600. I would appreciate any thoughts.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:4772


06/30/2012 4:08 AM  
Why blame the attic insulation alone? You may have other issues besides this. I just replaced my entire air conditioning system and my house is about the same age. I need more insulation but it's not the major cause of my air loss in the house. You may need to call an A/C specialist and have them inspect your unit. There may be more going on here than just a lack of insulation. My a/c was completely disconnected and improperly installed. They actually used Duct tape to put the vents together. You use the METAL type tape NOT duct tape on a A/C vents. Duct tape will fall off and not seal after a few years. Your age of your unit may indicate the materials could be failing in your system.

Former HOA President
EllieD
(Vermont)

Posts:363


06/30/2012 8:23 AM  
JerryD2,

It would be helpful to know a bit more. You wrote “the management” – by that do you mean the Board of Directors?

Are you positive that the attic is considered Common? I am not questioning that it is. Based on my knowledge of how Condo Units are defined, that is often the case, the attic is Common, but not always.

IMO, if the attic is Common Area, then yes it is Association responsibility, and you should have been told just the opposite – NO, you may not insulate the attic, or add insulation, it is Association responsibility, and only an Association approved Contractor, properly insured, is allowed to do make improvements to a Common Area.

Is your Condo Unit a townhouse style unit? Are there more Condo Units like yours?
JeanneK3
(Maryland)

Posts:554


06/30/2012 12:31 PM  
I live in a townhouse condominium and adding insulation is my responsibility as is repairing the roof and repainting.
Jeanne
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:3971


06/30/2012 12:54 PM  
Jean

Are these attached townhouses, meaning side by side?

Were they also originally built to part of an owners association?

My history/understanding is that few such are responsible for their own outside mainteance such as painting/roofing.

Thanks

MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:4772


06/30/2012 2:04 PM  
Our utilities department has some energy programs. They provide coupons or discounts for energy improvements. I got some for my attic after I replaced my A/C. You may check into that if your concerned about costs or a good contractor.

It may be your responsibility to put the insulation in but need to get approval for it. Many different issues may arise if not approved. It's best to ask permission than forgiveness in a HOA.

Former HOA President
EllieD
(Vermont)

Posts:363


06/30/2012 3:12 PM  
There are always exceptions, as JeanneK3 posted, and also possible variations between the States.

The Condominium Units that I am familiar with, define the uppermost ceiling as the upper horizontal Unit boundary - something like: (excerpts, definitions, taken from the 2008 UCIOA, so as to be general)

SECTION 2-102. UNIT BOUNDARIES. Except as provided by the declaration:

(1) If walls, floors, or ceilings are designated as boundaries of a unit, all lath, furring, wallboard, plasterboard, plaster, paneling, tiles, wallpaper, paint, finished flooring, and any other materials constituting any part of the finished surfaces thereof are a part of the unit, and all other portions of the walls, floors, or ceilings are a part of the common elements.

And the comment below, from the UCIOA, speaks to the question asked by JerryD2, if in fact the Attic in question is defined as Common.

“3. The differentiation between components constituting common elements and components which are part of the unit is particularly important in light of Section 3-107(a), which (subject to the exceptions therein mentioned) makes THE ASSOCIATION RESPONSIBLE FOR THE UPKEEP OF THE COMMON ELEMENTS and each unit owner individually responsible for upkeep of his unit.”
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:3971


06/30/2012 3:52 PM  
Ellie

In some way we might be talking apples and oranges as in apartment style verus townhouses.

Few (none that I know of) one on top of each other units (apartment style) have an attic.

Side by side units (townhouses with no unit above or below) generally do have attics (some more like a crawl space) with access from the unit. They are considered part of the unit, not common property. Pining and electricity for the unit run through there and the unit owner is responsible for that.

Generally in this style, the association is responsible for the roof joists out, thus precluding thing like skylights/vents being added in the roof without their permission...but I digress.

As an exmple when I had fans installed in the top level of my townhouse the electrician had to go into the attic/crawl space to install/wire them via a ceiling access panel in one of the closets.

Most side by side units share side common cinder block/concrete, etc. fire walls and the unit owner is responsible and pretty much can do as they wish from this cinder block/concrete wall in including adding studs to it.

Knowing what I now know, if I was going to add some insulation to my attic/crawl space, I would request permission from the association. Request it even when I believe, as I do, that it would be within my right to do so. Same as I enquired about finishing a basement in the townhouse. No restrictions on it.

Might look like a semantics issue to some, but I have seen some nasty association battles about things like this.

Hope this helps.

JerryD2
(Texas)

Posts:3


06/30/2012 5:35 PM  
Wow! Thanks for the responses. I live in a two story apartment type of condo. Yes, they were originally built as part of an association. The management that I am talking about is the manager herself who has been here 23 years. My unit has attic access, which most units do not have any attic access. Each building has two units, one on either end that have access. I am not responsible for maintenance in the attic. The association takes care of the firewall repair, etc. and I cannot store items or put plywood down. My question is not about being allowed to put insulation in, it is who is responsible for the cost. I agree that my duct work, AC unit might have issues (it runs fine and I had the unit checked last year)but, I know that the attic needs insulation because the existing insulation is well below the ceiling joists. As you know, it is tough to get a honest opinion on your AC condition because the only experts are people who want to sell you a whole new $4500 compressor. As I said most homeowners cannot even access the attic so they would not be able to put in insulation without the association doing it. Does anybody know of an association installing insulation for the whole site? Thanks.
JeanneK3
(Maryland)

Posts:554


06/30/2012 6:29 PM  
JohnC46:
Yes, we are attached townhouses and you are correct, even though we are a condominium regime, our documents read like an HOA townhouse development. Quite weird.
Jeanne
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:3971


07/01/2012 6:02 AM  
Jeanne

I have lived in two townhouse (side by side units) associations, two standalone home (private homes on deeded lot) associations, and one multi unit building (units on top, bottom, and sides).

In the townhouses and multi unit, the association was responsible for all outside building shell maintenance. Imagine the horror show in a townhouse association where each side by side townhouse can do as they want meaning color, roofing, siding, etc. It could soon look like a badly colored checker board with no commonality be it controlled by a condo or homeowners association.

The standalone (private homes on deeded lots) did vary as to responsibility but even then there were at least some guidelines and some approval needed. And no, a purple polkaa dot house would not fly.....LOL

Back to the OP.

After you described your situation, I would say you are not allowed to add insulation without the associations permission. I would also say it is the associations responsibility to do and pay for such. You might well have a situation where they do not agree it is needed. Are you the only one asking/suggesting it is needed?



GlenL
(Ohio)

Posts:5087


07/01/2012 6:54 AM  
As others have said it is probably an Association responsibility which should be spelled out in the CC&R's. Since the management is telling you it is your responsibility, ask them to point out the relevant section that makes it your responsibility. If they can't, you can petition the Board to add insulation but it will probably be a hard sell as they only have to maintain what was originally there. You can organize your neighbors to have all of the buildings done but expect to pay for it, either as a special assessment or in increased assessments.

"Common sense is like deodorant--the people who need it most never use it."
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