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Subject: Does my HOA for this and is it considered structural?
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Author Messages
EricS22
(Florida)

Posts:5


05/24/2021 10:44 AM  
Hello, I own a townhome in a community with an HOA. When I first moved in, there was 2 cracks on one side of the garage and 1 on the other side following the brick lines and when investigated was told it was some settlement cracks as the unit's were newer. Recently there have been many more cracks forming and the original's have widened to the point they have started showing on the outside. Also I did make a complaint last year about water retaining between my neighbors unit and mine causing us to not be able to use the sidewalk due to 2-3 inches being retained and they never followed up on it and the foundation has began showing outside as if the ground is reducing some.

here is 3 videos of some of the damage.

https://youtu.be/wpOLuzpoCzw

https://youtu.be/2LRO5y9s0yg

https://youtu.be/K2i4d2vWVRs
EricS22
(Florida)

Posts:5


05/24/2021 10:49 AM  
Also here is a photobucket of all of the damage

https://imgur.com/a/aK2PQWZ
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


05/24/2021 11:03 AM  
If within 10 years of construction I would look for a construction defect lawyer.
EricS22
(Florida)

Posts:5


05/24/2021 11:07 AM  
its been 12 years
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


05/24/2021 11:17 AM  
Posted By EricS22 on 05/24/2021 11:07 AM
its been 12 years



Hope the HOA has the proper type of insurance.
EricS22
(Florida)

Posts:5


05/24/2021 11:17 AM  
I also have home owners insurance. What kinda coverage will be needed?
EricS22
(Florida)

Posts:5


05/24/2021 11:27 AM  
https://imgur.com/IyRIK83

here's my policy
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


05/24/2021 11:33 AM  
I would speak with my insurance agent
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10590


05/24/2021 3:32 PM  
Keep in mind that brick is a "veneer" it isn't structural. It is attached to the house with metal tabs. You would never ever want a solid brick structure. So the issue may be as simple as re-pointing the brick.

Also check your documents to see what the HOA is responsible for. Is walls out or walls in? HOA's usually just involves itself appearances not structure. That most likely may be on you. Check with your insurance.

Former HOA President
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:794


05/24/2021 3:41 PM  
This looks like it could very serious to me. I'd be calling my insurance company asap. They may end up helping you through dealing with the HOA's insurance company if warranted.
DouglasK1
(Florida)

Posts:1689


05/25/2021 12:58 PM  
When I had my last house built, the warranty book said that the builder only covered cracks wider than the thickness of an nickel. Anything smaller was considered normal settlement cracking and it was suggested the homeowner should caulk and paint as needed. From the pictures it looks most of them are smaller than that, so probably not a structural issue.

Escaped former treasurer and director of a self managed association.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11665


05/25/2021 2:41 PM  
That looks like stucco to me, not structural concrete. Am I wrong?
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1466


05/26/2021 4:01 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 05/25/2021 2:41 PM
That looks like stucco to me, not structural concrete. Am I wrong?





I was told by a GC if you can fit a nickel in the crack then it is a n issue, Cracks like that just get filled.
AvaA
(North Carolina)

Posts:28


05/26/2021 6:17 PM  
Posted By EricS22 on 05/24/2021 10:44 AM
Hello, I own a townhome in a community with an HOA. When I first moved in, there was 2 cracks on one side of the garage and 1 on the other side following the brick lines and when investigated was told it was some settlement cracks as the unit's were newer. Recently there have been many more cracks forming and the original's have widened to the point they have started showing on the outside. Also I did make a complaint last year about water retaining between my neighbors unit and mine causing us to not be able to use the sidewalk due to 2-3 inches being retained and they never followed up on it and the foundation has began showing outside as if the ground is reducing some.

here is 3 videos of some of the damage.

https://youtu.be/wpOLuzpoCzw

https://youtu.be/2LRO5y9s0yg

https://youtu.be/K2i4d2vWVRs




I looked at your photos. I have a construction background. This is not normal. Settling generally occurs when structures are around 2-3 years old, but it can last a little longer depending on whether the home site was properly prepared, the soil conditions when the house was built (wet or dry), etc. The immediate issue is you are getting water penetration from the exterior cracks. I'm assuming you have a concrete block dwelling covered with stucco and paint. Concrete is not waterproof, it is porous. Stucco is essentially a mortar mix which is also porous. Paint and caulk are protective films that protect your structure from the elements and water intrusion. Those cracks are paths for bugs and perhaps wood-destroying organisms like termites, which block homes do get.Do you have attic access? Can you check for roof leaks? It's hard to tell, but your cracks look wider than 1/8". When cracks get larger, they can cause shifting in roof materials which can lead to leaks.

If it were me, I'd hire my own structural engineer or a very, very, very knowledgeable general contractor (who has no relationship with your builder or land developer) for a professional opinion, I'd still pursue it with the HOA. But getting your own professional opinion should tell you if what the HOA or their contractor says is correct. You don't want the symptoms masked; you want a fix. If you can't or don't want to investigate and find all the areas affected by the cracks, perhaps you could start with a really good home inspector? You'll have documentation and pictures, and you won't need to go in the hot attic.

The standing water and flooded sidewalk is concerning. Where is the water coming from? Is it run off from a parking lot, just rain from the sky, downspouts, etc? How close does water sit to your structure? Even saturated soil near your structure can cause problems. It seems like someone needs to install drainage that will first catch the water before it builds up between the units and carry the water far away. Does the soil slope away from your structure? It should in order to stop water from soaking your foundation. Do you have gutters and downspouts? Where do the downspouts discharge? I hope at least five feet from your dwelling, but ten is ideal assuming the water will keep traveling away from you. Remember water follows the path of least resistance. Improper or insufficient drainage can cause the issues you are having. Do you know if anyone else is having a similar issue?

I looked at your pictures, but I haven't looked at your videos yet. I will though.

By the way, I had Lennar as a builder in FL. Their warranty work was abysmal. A transom window was leaking rain inside my house. They sent someone over who caulked around the inside of my window. LOL. The person did NO troubleshooting. After the worker left, I did my own troubleshooting and discovered the window wasn't installed, it was just sitting there! It was a huge heavy piece of glass, not an operable window. It could have fallen and caused serious harm to someone. I have many, many more stories like that.

AvaA
(North Carolina)

Posts:28


05/26/2021 6:28 PM  
Posted By EricS22 on 05/24/2021 10:44 AM
Hello, I own a townhome in a community with an HOA. When I first moved in, there was 2 cracks on one side of the garage and 1 on the other side following the brick lines and when investigated was told it was some settlement cracks as the unit's were newer. Recently there have been many more cracks forming and the original's have widened to the point they have started showing on the outside. Also I did make a complaint last year about water retaining between my neighbors unit and mine causing us to not be able to use the sidewalk due to 2-3 inches being retained and they never followed up on it and the foundation has began showing outside as if the ground is reducing some.

here is 3 videos of some of the damage.

https://youtu.be/wpOLuzpoCzw

https://youtu.be/2LRO5y9s0yg

https://youtu.be/K2i4d2vWVRs




For clarification, the cracks started on the inside and are now visible on the outside? If so, that is concerning. The flooded sidewalk near your garage is concerning and may have caused this issue. Has it flooded out there since you bought the townhome?
In your videos, did you show your garage ceiling pulling away from the wall and/or ceiling framing? What I saw looked surprisingly wide.
Are the cracks/gaps thicker than a credit card? Please test with a credit card and have someone photograph and video you doing so. It will be good to have documentation of the size now. Check in a month (or whenever you want). The thin (1/8" or less) cracks outside should be caulked with a quality waterproof paintable caulk. I'd use a flexible silicone or silicone blend that has outstanding reviews. Your association should have extra paint for touch ups.

The drainage needs to be fixed. Water is a home's #1 enemy.
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