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Subject: texas condominium what requires a vote
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LaskaS
(Texas)

Posts:536


08/18/2021 9:07 PM  
Hi, i have attached the relevant portion of our condominiums declaration below.

20. Additions, Alterations and Improvements of General
and Limited Common Elements. There shall be no additions,
alterations or improvements of or to the general and limited common
elements requiring an expenditure by the Association in excess of
TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS ($25,000.00) in any one (1) calendar
year without prior approval of fifty-one percent (51%) of the
owners. Such limitation shall not be applicable to the replace-
ment, repair, maintenance or restoration of any common element.



this is very confusing.

what is painting of the exterior of all of the buildings to a new color considered?

what is upgrading all of the iron railings on the walkways and stairways?

many projects can be considered improvements and replacements. What can owners do if the board is going to spend 200,000 on a railing replacements when the railings are limited common. The railings are all in compliance with code(at the time they were built) according to the city of houston. the insureance company is telling us we need to replace all of the railings to bring them up to current new construction code.

MaxB4


Posts:1581


08/18/2021 9:13 PM  
The smartest guy on the planet should be googling your answer as we speak.
LaskaS
(Texas)

Posts:536


08/18/2021 9:33 PM  
i've googled ad nauseum. the problem is there is conflicting information.

the wording has wiggle room for interpretation or misinterpretation.

additionally, an association attorney may answer questions of the board in a way that allows the board to act outside of their authority.
this must have been an issue at other condominiums or hoa's. I'm wondering if any of you have experience with conflicting opinion on how to interpret what requir3es a vote and what doesn't.
BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:587


08/19/2021 5:41 AM  
Posted By LaskaS on 08/18/2021 9:07 PM
Hi, i have attached the relevant portion of our condominiums declaration below.

20. Additions, Alterations and Improvements of General
and Limited Common Elements. There shall be no additions,
alterations or improvements of or to the general and limited common
elements requiring an expenditure by the Association in excess of
TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS ($25,000.00) in any one (1) calendar
year without prior approval of fifty-one percent (51%) of the
owners. Such limitation shall not be applicable to the replace-
ment, repair, maintenance or restoration of any common element.



this is very confusing.

what is painting of the exterior of all of the buildings to a new color considered?

what is upgrading all of the iron railings on the walkways and stairways?

many projects can be considered improvements and replacements. What can owners do if the board is going to spend 200,000 on a railing replacements when the railings are limited common. The railings are all in compliance with code(at the time they were built) according to the city of houston. the insureance company is telling us we need to replace all of the railings to bring them up to current new construction code.





I don’t find this confusing. The limitation doesn’t apply to replacement or maintenance of existing element. Painting the existing building is maintaining an existing element. Replacing the stair railings to meet new construction codes is replacing an existing element.

Did Champlain Towers mean nothing to people? If you have stuff that’s out of code - GET IT UP TO CODE.
BillH10
(Texas)

Posts:783


08/19/2021 5:45 AM  
Laska

Painting is maintenance (unless being done for cosmetic reasons), the color is immaterial unless the color change requires an additional expenditure over and above the basic repainting expense by more than the $25,000 limitation you cited.

The railing question is completely different in my mind.

What does the fact the railings are limited common elements have to do with your question? A limited common element is still a common element, generally a LCE is limited only because of limited access or utilization. Limited does not necessarily define maintenance or replacement responsibility.

Who is responsible for maintenance of the railings?

Is the insurance company stating they will refuse to renew or underwrite the policy if the railings are not upgraded to current code or are they suggesting/recommending? If the insurance company is requiring the change, has your association sought coverage from another company?

What does the City of Houston building code say about upgrading an element to conform to a current code requirement. My experience is there must be a triggering event--maintenance replacement requires adherence to the current code for example.

What is the status of the railings on the reserve study? When are they scheduled to be replaced? Again, if the insurance company is requiring the change, it seems to me your association should discuss alternatives with the insurance company--a phased replacement for example.

I disagree with you, I think the language you cited is pretty tight as to what may be done without owner approval, regardless of the expense.
LaskaS
(Texas)

Posts:536


08/19/2021 1:24 PM  
Bill, thank you for following up with these questions.

The property is not in violation of houston city code. We are grandfathered to the codes in place when we were built.

the question regarding maintenance of railings. limited vs common.
picture this, a majority of second floor owners enclosed their balconies to add an addition to their condo. The railings on the balconies that used to serve guard rails, have , in many places, been left attached either inside or outside of the enclosure. So i believe there is a question as to whether railing that previously were balcony railings but the structure was altered, would now be the owner responsibility. The railings in these enclosed units are not serving any function. I have no idea why some owners chose to leave them in place.

the maintenance of the exterior building walkway railings and the stair railings are the association responsibility.

The city inspector was rather incredulous when I told him the insurance company said we have to bring the railings up to code. He said, insurance companies don't determine houston code ordinance. Your property is in compliance with current city code including grandfathering codes.

The iron railings we currently have are 5 inches apart, the insurance company has informed us that we need to bring it up to modern day new construction code. which is less than 4 inches.

.

would replacement of all of the railings , which is not required by the city , need approval from owners.

I don't know the answer regarding the reserve study or the scheduled replacement. good questions. i'll find the answers.
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