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Subject: Hard surface flooring
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Author Messages
ValerieW1
(California)

Posts:9


09/17/2021 11:44 PM  
So I recently finally bought my first home.. a condo on the second floor what sold me on it the fact that there was no carpet it was nice vinyl plank flooring. I suffer from allergies dust I have a dog so perfect easy to clean. Excited and could t wait to move into my new home… well I was told to do a zoom meeting meet the community by my real estate agent.. this was not me but okay I did it well the first couple minutes I was asked my name my unit number and then did you get my letter? I said no was it a nice letter? To be told word for word my flooring is illegal snd needs to be torn out immediately! I was confused as I just bought this place and was never told or given any disclosures on the flooring. Well the letter finally arrived from HOA to my old address as all my other mail was coming to new address. A little about me I have just worked every covid clinic since covid started and during this time my mother was fighting breast cancer chemo and me working full time long hours and weekends. To be going through all this before even paying my first month mortgage. Not to mention many condos I found in the community have hard surface flooring as one was sold 2 weeks after I moved in. Please if anyone can be of help greatly appreciated. Thank you
ValerieW1
(California)

Posts:9


09/17/2021 11:46 PM  
I forgot to say this was never mentioned in the minutes either as to what was said to me on zoom
To all the community.
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/18/2021 12:44 AM  
I would go back to your agent and have them provide all the paperwork that was given to the seller and then supposedly to you during the transaction. By law the association is required to disclose any violation that the seller may have carried over.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2466


09/18/2021 5:46 AM  
California seems to have stricter laws about noise transmission than many states, and homeowners have to abide by these standards.

We've had similar situations in my community (second floor units with illegally installed hard surface flooring). Our lawyer has said that the burden is on the buyer to make sure there are no violations of the governing docs in the unit, and if there are then it's the new owner's responsibility to bring the unit into compliance. Doesn't matter if the buyer wasn't informed by the seller/realtor, doesn't matter if the buyer paid top dollar for nice hardwood floors - the buyer needs to read the CC&Rs, look at the flooring, and ask questions. Caveat emptor, and we're not as hard-nosed in my state as California is about sound.

It's possible that the OP could put down thick rugs that would muffle sound, but that probably won't help allergies much.

It's also possible that the flooring could be taken up and a better soundproofing underlayment put down that can bring the floor into compliance. But that's a question for the flooring folks since the re-installed flooring would have to meet acoustic standards.

Based on past discussions on this site, I doubt that there is much the OP can do besides bring that floor into compliance, or if the allergies are such an issue that hard surface flooring is a requirement, buy a home where this is allowed. "I didn't know any better" won't fix the flooring, and I think that has to happen since it's state law. Hiring a lawyer and going after somebody for failure to disclose is just added expense.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:1026


09/18/2021 7:35 AM  
As Max said, the first thing you need to do is check the paperwork from your closing and see if you were provided with notice that the floor needed to be replaced. If the HOA gave you notice, then you are probably going to have to replace the floor. If they did not provide you with notice before you closed, then it depends on the rules in your state. In some states, if the HOA does not notify you of a violation such as this, before the sale, then they cannot require you to correct it later.

The fact that the HOA mailed you a letter indicates that they may not have provided your title company with the information (assuming you went through a title company) which may get you off the hook. Also, if the title company made a mistake then you may be covered for the costs.

As I mentioned, the laws are different in each state and the rules depend on a lot of variables. For example, whether or not the violation is curable (can be easily fixed). I recommend talking to an attorney to be sure.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10523


09/18/2021 8:07 AM  
Yes you most likely have to remove it. Unless you can find a good way to sound proof it or put in another material. Having the dog is not doing your downstairs neighbor any favors when it walks. How do you know they are not going through the same life tribulations that you are? What if their mother has cancer and your flooring sounds are disturbing? Then would you replace it?

I would partly say your Realtor wasn't the best. However, I can't put full blame on them. They aren't member of the HOA. You should have reached out to the HOA or a trusted source. That way would know more about the HOA. Plus did you read your documents prior to purchasing? It is viewed as your right to be informed prior to purchasing/becoming a member.

So as harsh as this may all seem or be, not necessarily other parties are to blame or put blame on. I'd recommend getting a loop carpet like a berber. They shed less and good for allergies. Plus I got a carpet padding that is thick and has a layer of plastic on top. It prevents doggy leaks/accidents from soaking through.

To claim putting in carpet is going to effect your allergies is lack of research on your part for options.

Former HOA President
AugustinD


Posts:1675


09/18/2021 8:48 AM  
I agree with MaxB4 and BenA2 about checking the disclosure papers that California statute requires the seller to give to any prospective purchaser. Here's the main statute on the subject:

https://www.davis-stirling.com/HOME/Statutes/Civil-Code-4525

If the seller did not either (1) disclose this information to you; or (2) arrange for the HOA/COA to disclose this information to you, then you have strong grounds to force the seller to pay for new flooring and maybe much more.

I hear you about the allergies.

Do talk to your realtor as well. Sometimes they know more than enough law to avoid a major kerfuffle and can help you get resolution more cheaply and effectively.
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/18/2021 9:55 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 09/18/2021 8:07 AM
Yes you most likely have to remove it. Unless you can find a good way to sound proof it or put in another material. Having the dog is not doing your downstairs neighbor any favors when it walks. How do you know they are not going through the same life tribulations that you are? What if their mother has cancer and your flooring sounds are disturbing? Then would you replace it?

I would partly say your Realtor wasn't the best. However, I can't put full blame on them. They aren't member of the HOA. You should have reached out to the HOA or a trusted source. That way would know more about the HOA. Plus did you read your documents prior to purchasing? It is viewed as your right to be informed prior to purchasing/becoming a member.

So as harsh as this may all seem or be, not necessarily other parties are to blame or put blame on. I'd recommend getting a loop carpet like a berber. They shed less and good for allergies. Plus I got a carpet padding that is thick and has a layer of plastic on top. It prevents doggy leaks/accidents from soaking through.

To claim putting in carpet is going to effect your allergies is lack of research on your part for options.



If you don't know California law, why are you even answering the OP?
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10523


09/18/2021 10:19 AM  
I know that blaming others and whining about having to pay the consequences isn't the way to go. The facts are that the OP didn't do the research. Plus I can't say that having carpeting in a house triggers allergies. There are options available if you do the research.

The Realtor was about worthless if they did not ask more questions in the process. It was their job if they were their buyer's agent to work on their behalf. So I won't blame the OP for everything but will put some of it on the Realtor if you want to put any anywhere.

Former HOA President
ValerieW1
(California)

Posts:9


09/18/2021 10:39 AM  
Melissa I did read the CCR’s and I did ask the real estate agent in regards to any disclosures which they did not receive anything in regards to the flooring being illegal or that there was a violation given to previous owner. In regards to your nasty attitude. Why would I purchase a place if I know I was going to get screwed? As there are many other condos or places to purchase. Thank you for your time.
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/18/2021 10:54 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 09/18/2021 10:19 AM
I know that blaming others and whining about having to pay the consequences isn't the way to go. The facts are that the OP didn't do the research. Plus I can't say that having carpeting in a house triggers allergies. There are options available if you do the research.

The Realtor was about worthless if they did not ask more questions in the process. It was their job if they were their buyer's agent to work on their behalf. So I won't blame the OP for everything but will put some of it on the Realtor if you want to put any anywhere.



You may shoot people and then ask questions afterwards in Alabama, we tend to do things a little different in California. Aren't you the one that says a buyer is not an owner and therefore is in entitled to any HOA information?

Being the floor was already installed prior to the buyer moving in, the violating party would have been the seller. Who knows when the floor was actually installing, could have been three sellers ago. Why is a violation now, does the HOA have published Architectural guidelines specific to flooring? The seller is required to turn over certain documents (actually a lot) during a resale. Someone representing the seller will ask the HOA or their agent for those documents and disclosures. We happen to use HomeWiseDocs and one of the forms I have to fill out is a Statement of fee. Two of the questions ask are there any violations against the unit and is there any pending litigation the association is or will be involved.

The other thing Melissa is we practice dues process in California, so someone to send the new owner a letter demanding the flooring be removed immediately doesn't fly. The owner needs to be called to a hearing.
ValerieW1
(California)

Posts:9


09/18/2021 11:17 AM  
So this is the deal I did plea to of research and found the previous owner who did the flooring. He was never giving anything. And the downstairs neighbors first off even with my small dog is very quiet who I have part of the time. And never barks.... also the renters down stairs said I was the quietest neighbor they have ever had... and I was told prior to me even moving in when the flooring was going in they had called the cops a few times due to the workers putting the flooring in. And how did this go over anyone’s head re HOA IF THEY ARE SONON TOP OF THE COMMUNITY...ESPECIALLY IF CIPS WERE CALLED. Yeah I’m not dumb and I have done plenty of research in regards to all avenues Melissa...
ValerieW1
(California)

Posts:9


09/18/2021 11:23 AM  
Ot to mention the HOA STATED THIS ONE JUST WENT OVER THEIR HEADS .. Funny thing another condo on the second floor that was sold 2 weeks after me moving in has not had any notice about removing their flooring...it’s called SELECTIVE ENFORCEMENT.... also the fact my name my unit was given and my “ illegal flooring” this should have never been told to the community on zoom the letter that was sent would have been just fine..
AugustinD


Posts:1675


09/18/2021 11:37 AM  
Posted By ValerieW1 on 09/18/2021 11:23 AM
[Not] to mention the HOA STATED THIS ONE JUST WENT OVER THEIR HEADS
Do you have documentation of this? This would be nice.

I am sorry the HOA/COA was dumb enough to advertise to the community what is going on. The COA should not have done this. If possible, in your communications with the realtor, the COA, the title company, and maybe the seller, stay calm with just the facts. (I know this is hard when you have folks here at hoatalk not reading your posts; not having an understanding of what happened; and perhaps no experience with upper level hard surface floor disputes.)

If you continue to share information and developments, I for one will offer suggestions for exactly what you want to write (in a formal letter) to whom, so as to minimize the costs of possibly hiring an attorney).
ValerieW1
(California)

Posts:9


09/18/2021 11:47 AM  
Thank you so much. It’s extremely rough right now this was suppose to be a happy time owning my first home I have not even been here for 6 months and it’s been a nightmare and sleepless night worrying. The stress and anxiety. But most of all feeling like I’m stuck the lawyers frees are crazy and I’m at a loss mentally and my pocket. I know this means nothing but I’m a good person that believes in doing good the right thing as I work for a major healthcare organization. I help people not try to ruin or screw anyone over. I do what is right and obey rules regulations and laws. If you can be of any help anyone minus negative or nasty behavior I’m very willing to hear. Thank you all
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11514


09/18/2021 11:47 AM  
Max

Does CA have some type of Estopple Letter that is signed by the HOA saying no fines nor violations exist at the time of the sale?
ValerieW1
(California)

Posts:9


09/18/2021 11:50 AM  
I wish we still had the Turko files guy...he was the best to help with situations like this... he fought for the the little man.
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/18/2021 12:09 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 09/18/2021 11:47 AM
Max

Does CA have some type of Estopple Letter that is signed by the HOA saying no fines nor violations exist at the time of the sale?




Civil Code §4525

https://www.davis-stirling.com/HOME/Statutes/Civil-Code-4525#axzz2CR2ljirY

https://www.davis-stirling.com/HOME/Estoppel-Certificate
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/18/2021 12:15 PM  
Posted By ValerieW1 on 09/18/2021 11:50 AM
I wish we still had the Turko files guy...he was the best to help with situations like this... he fought for the the little man.



We have Handel on the Law up here in Los Angeles.
AugustinD


Posts:1675


09/18/2021 12:16 PM  
ValerieW1, by any chance does the Declaration for your condominium association say anything about an estoppel certificate? Or do you perhaps have such a certificate among your closing papers?

More on this at https://www.davis-stirling.com/HOME/Estoppel-Certificate
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10523


09/18/2021 12:43 PM  
Details come out when you trigger someone... Now getting more to the story instead of listening to the sad tales of life tribulations.

Former HOA President
AugustinD


Posts:1675


09/18/2021 12:47 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 09/18/2021 12:43 PM
Details come out when you trigger someone... Now getting more to the story instead of listening to the sad tales of life tribulations.
You're out of line.

Posted By MelissaP1 on 09/18/2021 10:19 AM
The facts are that the OP didn't do the research.
The facts are that you are not reading the OP's posts. Nor are you considering what California law requires to be disclosed.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1425


09/18/2021 12:50 PM  
Posted By ValerieW1 on 09/18/2021 10:39 AM
Melissa I did read the CCR’s and I did ask the real estate agent in regards to any disclosures which they did not receive anything in regards to the flooring being illegal or that there was a violation given to previous owner. In regards to your nasty attitude. Why would I purchase a place if I know I was going to get screwed? As there are many other condos or places to purchase. Thank you for your time.





You need to ask your new HOA to provide you with a copy of the estoppel letter they sent to the title company. The estoppel letter might be in the paperwork you received at the Title Company office. If the estoppel listed no active violations at closing, I would tell the HOA to suck an egg. You may have some legal standing if the seller violated the CC&R's leaving you on the hook. You might have some recourse to force the seller to correct the violation and make you whole.


The Estoppel letter is a form the HOA sends to the Title company verifying any or no open or active violations and if there are any assessments in arrears owed along with any unpaid fines.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1425


09/18/2021 12:55 PM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 09/18/2021 12:15 PM
Posted By ValerieW1 on 09/18/2021 11:50 AM
I wish we still had the Turko files guy...he was the best to help with situations like this... he fought for the the little man.



We have Handel on the Law up here in Los Angeles.





OMG Bill is such a HOOT!!!!
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1425


09/18/2021 1:00 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 09/18/2021 8:48 AM
I agree with MaxB4 and BenA2 about checking the disclosure papers that California statute requires the seller to give to any prospective purchaser. Here's the main statute on the subject:

https://www.davis-stirling.com/HOME/Statutes/Civil-Code-4525

If the seller did not either (1) disclose this information to you; or (2) arrange for the HOA/COA to disclose this information to you, then you have strong grounds to force the seller to pay for new flooring and maybe much more.

I hear you about the allergies.

Do talk to your realtor as well. Sometimes they know more than enough law to avoid a major kerfuffle and can help you get resolution more cheaply and effectively.






Heres a curve ball Augie, I have seen this in many instances. I am going to hazard to guess that the OP bought their unit from amn investor speculator that did not read the CC&R's and just made the unit sale ready. This still puts the OP totally in the drivers seat regardless of who sold the unit. The fact is the OP was sold a unit that was out of compliance with the CC&R's.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2466


09/18/2021 1:52 PM  
Posted By LetA on 09/18/2021 12:50 PM
Posted By ValerieW1 on 09/18/2021 10:39 AM
Melissa I did read the CCR’s and I did ask the real estate agent in regards to any disclosures which they did not receive anything in regards to the flooring being illegal or that there was a violation given to previous owner. In regards to your nasty attitude. Why would I purchase a place if I know I was going to get screwed? As there are many other condos or places to purchase. Thank you for your time.





You need to ask your new HOA to provide you with a copy of the estoppel letter they sent to the title company. The estoppel letter might be in the paperwork you received at the Title Company office. If the estoppel listed no active violations at closing, I would tell the HOA to suck an egg. You may have some legal standing if the seller violated the CC&R's leaving you on the hook. You might have some recourse to force the seller to correct the violation and make you whole.


The Estoppel letter is a form the HOA sends to the Title company verifying any or no open or active violations and if there are any assessments in arrears owed along with any unpaid fines.



I would agree with the part in bold if the violation were not something that California law has regulated:

https://www.davis-stirling.com/HOME/Acoustical-Guidelines

I don't believe that the OP has a choice about complying with the standards. The question is who will pay to bring the flooring into compliance, which is why disclosure matters.
AugustinD


Posts:1675


09/18/2021 2:18 PM  
Posted By LetA on 09/18/2021 1:00 PM
Posted By AugustinD on 09/18/2021 8:48 AM
I agree with MaxB4 and BenA2 about checking the disclosure papers that California statute requires the seller to give to any prospective purchaser. Here's the main statute on the subject:

https://www.davis-stirling.com/HOME/Statutes/Civil-Code-4525

If the seller did not either (1) disclose this information to you; or (2) arrange for the HOA/COA to disclose this information to you, then you have strong grounds to force the seller to pay for new flooring and maybe much more.

I hear you about the allergies.

Do talk to your realtor as well. Sometimes they know more than enough law to avoid a major kerfuffle and can help you get resolution more cheaply and effectively.






Heres a curve ball Augie, I have seen this in many instances. I am going to hazard to guess that the OP bought their unit from amn investor speculator that did not read the CC&R's and just made the unit sale ready. This still puts the OP totally in the drivers seat regardless of who sold the unit. The fact is the OP was sold a unit that was out of compliance with the CC&R's.
I see no curve ball.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1425


09/18/2021 6:08 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 09/18/2021 2:18 PM
Posted By LetA on 09/18/2021 1:00 PM
Posted By AugustinD on 09/18/2021 8:48 AM
I agree with MaxB4 and BenA2 about checking the disclosure papers that California statute requires the seller to give to any prospective purchaser. Here's the main statute on the subject:

https://www.davis-stirling.com/HOME/Statutes/Civil-Code-4525

If the seller did not either (1) disclose this information to you; or (2) arrange for the HOA/COA to disclose this information to you, then you have strong grounds to force the seller to pay for new flooring and maybe much more.

I hear you about the allergies.

Do talk to your realtor as well. Sometimes they know more than enough law to avoid a major kerfuffle and can help you get resolution more cheaply and effectively.






Heres a curve ball Augie, I have seen this in many instances. I am going to hazard to guess that the OP bought their unit from amn investor speculator that did not read the CC&R's and just made the unit sale ready. This still puts the OP totally in the drivers seat regardless of who sold the unit. The fact is the OP was sold a unit that was out of compliance with the CC&R's.
I see no curve ball.





My point is investors come in, buy a property, so some improvements all without reading the CC&R's leaving the buyer to eventually get stung by the HOA for said violations.

We recently had a new owner buy a home that was purchased from a real estate investor. The investor came out and did a bunch of upgrades inside the house and painted the front door an unapproved color. This wasn't discovered by the PM until a month after the new owner closed and was moved in. As a board member, I said let it go, Besides the door was painted red and looks very elegant.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2466


09/19/2021 5:06 AM  
Posted By LetA on 09/18/2021 6:08 PM
... snip ...


Heres a curve ball Augie, I have seen this in many instances. I am going to hazard to guess that the OP bought their unit from amn investor speculator that did not read the CC&R's and just made the unit sale ready. This still puts the OP totally in the drivers seat regardless of who sold the unit. The fact is the OP was sold a unit that was out of compliance with the CC&R's.
I see no curve ball.


My point is investors come in, buy a property, so some improvements all without reading the CC&R's leaving the buyer to eventually get stung by the HOA for said violations.

We recently had a new owner buy a home that was purchased from a real estate investor. The investor came out and did a bunch of upgrades inside the house and painted the front door an unapproved color. This wasn't discovered by the PM until a month after the new owner closed and was moved in. As a board member, I said let it go, Besides the door was painted red and looks very elegant.


This sort of thing happened a lot during the Great Recession/Housing Downturn when many properties were being sold off for a song, and the investors/flippers snapped them up. This happened a lot with condo communities, but apparently the investors are now targeting single family homes as well.

I agree with LetA that this can happen very quickly, before an HOA/COA has time to find the problem(s) and go through the proper violation procedures. And condos have bigger issues since the interior work will be pretty much invisible until the listing/photos hit the MLS.

Which means that board members or PMs basically have to patrol the community constantly looking for problems - and our attorney has said that such behavior is inappropriate, not to mention time consuming for people who already has too much to do.

So the HOA/COA can be left holding the bag, while people who ignore the CC&Rs - either deliberately or through ignorance - get away with their misdeeds. Crime can indeed pay (especially for the lawyers who get to fight the resulting battles). :-)
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11514


09/19/2021 6:27 AM  
Cathy

If the BOD nd/or PM did not do their job properly, they should be responsible not the new owner.
AugustinD


Posts:1675


09/19/2021 7:02 AM  
Posted By LetA on 09/18/2021 6:08 PM
My point is investors come in, buy a property, so some improvements all without reading the CC&R's leaving the buyer to eventually get stung by the HOA for said violations.

We recently had a new owner buy a home that was purchased from a real estate investor. The investor came out and did a bunch of upgrades inside the house and painted the front door an unapproved color. This wasn't discovered by the PM until a month after the new owner closed and was moved in. As a board member, I said let it go, Besides the door was painted red and looks very elegant.
Your point is well taken.

So far a number of the long-time posters here say that the fault is the Board's. The person who bought the home, with a clean bill of health from the HOA/COA, should not have to bear the burden of the Board's mistake. I agree. Perhaps soliciting elaboration on how a board should handle the OP's situation would be helpful.

If I were a director on the OP's Board, and if the HOA/COA attorney so advised, I would vote to do something like the following:

-- Inform the new owner of the situation, being entirely truthful.

-- Explain that the concern is about noise, and that this is a problem nationwide at condominiums with upper level hard surface flooring. Hence nationwide, restrictions on upper level hard surface flooring are common.

-- Explain that, if the downstairs resident complains about excessive noise from the upstairs and has proof of it (perhaps in the vein of CathyA3's link to the Davis-Stirling site), the Board will have no choice but to investigate; issue a violation if needed; and hold a hearing.

-- Place the correspondence about the floor in the unit's file.

-- Place a statement in the owner's file that the 2021 Board has refused to issue a violation for the floor. I would vote for the Board not to say more than this, since adding more could jeopardize a future sale of the unit.



AugustinD


Posts:1675


09/19/2021 7:05 AM  
Add:

-- If a noise complaint does emanate from the downstairs resident about noise from upstairs flooring, the COA should consider agreeing to pay for some or all of the flooring's replacement.


Noise from upper level hard surface flooring can be abominable. I have read some of the lawsuits over this. I have witnessed it as a director. I have seen at least one condo board crack down on upper level hard surface floors at the time of sale, examining photos on realtor.com and zillow, for one.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2466


09/19/2021 7:19 AM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 09/19/2021 6:27 AM
Cathy

If the BOD nd/or PM did not do their job properly, they should be responsible not the new owner.



I think the point that LetA and I were making is that the PM and BOD can do their jobs properly but still have things slip through due to time constraints:

* Flipper buys unit and ignores CC&Rs.

* Nobody knows about it because: 1. all the work is interior, which is not the HOA's/COA's business; 2. any exterior work (eg. painting the front door) happens at the last minute; 3. PM and BOD don't do daily walk-throughs because the attorney has said that's overreach.

* Home is sold and closes before anyone discovers the problem and begins the documented violation process, which in this community states that the first letter is a warning only. (Things can move that quickly in a hot market.)

* New owner get the warning letter and wails that "nobody TOLD ME!!!"

Now what? :-)

Should the HOA/COA be responsible for the cost of bringing the violation into compliance? (Our attorney says no, it's the buyer's responsibility to understand what they're buying. But in the OP's case, things may be different because of California's accoustic standards.)
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2466


09/19/2021 7:39 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 09/19/2021 7:05 AM
... snip ...

Noise from upper level hard surface flooring can be abominable. I have read some of the lawsuits over this. I have witnessed it as a director. I have seen at least one condo board crack down on upper level hard surface floors at the time of sale, examining photos on realtor.com and zillow, for one.



I have experienced it, and ended up selling my unit to an elderly person who was hard of hearing (after the second open house my realtor said "OMG, I couldn't live here").

Hard of hearing new owner lasted less than a year, and in the next five years the unit changed hands four times. Fortunately the upstairs owners sold their unit last year, so I hope the current first floor owners stay for a while. (The upstairs folks weren't having loud parties or anything. They were just inconsiderate, had three small kids and two dogs on top of hardwood floors. And it wasn't only the people/dogs making noise - appliance and plumbing sounds also are magnified, and just try to sleep when the upstairs owner insists on running the dishwasher after midnight. I will never have upstairs neighbors again - they aren't neighbors, they're roommates.)

Yes, boards and PM's need to troll the home listing sites to catch these; ditto the short-term lease sites. But the bottom line for buyers is that if you hate noise or tobacco smoke or whatever, you should think really hard about buying a condo.
AugustinD


Posts:1675


09/19/2021 7:49 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 09/19/2021 7:19 AM

Should the HOA/COA be responsible for the cost of bringing the violation into compliance? (Our attorney says no, it's the buyer's responsibility to understand what they're buying.
It's occurred to me that a prospective buyer has a copy of the covenants prior to purchase. In the OP's case, those covenants appear to say, 'no hard surface flooring allowed in upper level units.' Perhaps your attorney feels that the buyer then has an obligation to explore the floor situation prior to purchase. I think this position has merit.

On the other hand, prior to closing, the OP's COA issued the unit a clean bill of health. This is consistent with statute requiring disclosure of whether any violations exist. I think it's reasonable for a buyer that sees no outstanding violations to conclude that the floor was grandfathered yada in at some point.

Lawyering up will quickly exceed the cost of getting new, soft surface flooring. But unfortuately, the OP's situation may involve particularly high costs, since allergies may preclude installation of carpet. This could mean the OP has no choice but to sell and find another home.

I figure all the OP can do is have a sit-down with the Board and see if everyone will be reasonable. If the OP can get the Board to admit its fault, and if she is willing to admit that perhaps some of this was her fault, then this might give the best chance of resolution without both sides hiring attorneys. It might also be the quickest path to resolution.
But in the OP's case, things may be different because of California's accoustic standards.)
I am keeping in mind that the link you provided (about acoustic standards) is guidance, not law.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2466


09/19/2021 8:20 AM  
Yes, adding lawyers to the mix guarantees increased cost but without necessarily the desired outcome.

If I were in the OP's place, I'd talk to a flooring expert since it's possible that a different underlayment can produce lower noise transmission, allowing her to keep the floor. For what it's worth, the builder I work for is putting vinyl plank flooring into second floor condos now. Granted we don't have the same acoustic standards as California, but it's also possible that different grades of vinyl plank will have different acoustic properties, so I wouldn't give up just yet.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10523


09/19/2021 8:43 AM  
It comes down to neighbor consideration. My question of what if the downstairs neighbor's mother has cancer? Do you consider replacing or do you not replace because the HOA told you to do it? Seems to me the OP doesn't want to do it based on their wants and needs. Not considering the below neighbors wants or needs.

My new house is one story with similar flooring. My dogs follow me everywhere. The sound of their nails on my floor drives me up the wall quick! Imagine that going to a downstairs unit?

Former HOA President
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/19/2021 9:05 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 09/19/2021 7:19 AM
Posted By JohnC46 on 09/19/2021 6:27 AM
Cathy

If the BOD nd/or PM did not do their job properly, they should be responsible not the new owner.



I think the point that LetA and I were making is that the PM and BOD can do their jobs properly but still have things slip through due to time constraints:

* Flipper buys unit and ignores CC&Rs.

* Nobody knows about it because: 1. all the work is interior, which is not the HOA's/COA's business; 2. any exterior work (eg. painting the front door) happens at the last minute; 3. PM and BOD don't do daily walk-throughs because the attorney has said that's overreach.

* Home is sold and closes before anyone discovers the problem and begins the documented violation process, which in this community states that the first letter is a warning only. (Things can move that quickly in a hot market.)

* New owner get the warning letter and wails that "nobody TOLD ME!!!"

Now what? :-)

Should the HOA/COA be responsible for the cost of bringing the violation into compliance? (Our attorney says no, it's the buyer's responsibility to understand what they're buying. But in the OP's case, things may be different because of California's accoustic standards.)


If the "violation" was not listed on the demand letter, then it would be on the previous owner or HOA to remedy. If the Condo doesn't have acoustical guidelines, in writing, then they are SOL. There re no laws regarding flooring, it is up to each condo to set their own standards.
MichaelS56
(Minnesota)

Posts:275


09/20/2021 7:14 AM  
My brother is President of a condo complex in California and he had to deal with an owner who complained about the noise from the above condo. Their condominium has a noise standard for flooring and as a result they brought in a noise engineer and and he confirmed that the noise from the condo above was within the noise standards.
ValerieW1
(California)

Posts:9


09/21/2021 1:06 PM  
So just called escrow the lady I dealt with has quit! Moved the San Francisco and the other lady and escrow says they have nothing to do with disclosures.
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/21/2021 1:12 PM  
Posted By ValerieW1 on 09/21/2021 1:06 PM
So just called escrow the lady I dealt with has quit! Moved the San Francisco and the other lady and escrow says they have nothing to do with disclosures.



Are you in Northern or Southern California?
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/21/2021 1:15 PM  
Posted By ValerieW1 on 09/21/2021 1:06 PM
So just called escrow the lady I dealt with has quit! Moved the San Francisco and the other lady and escrow says they have nothing to do with disclosures.



I can help you out, offline. My email address is [email protected]
ValerieW1
(California)

Posts:9


09/21/2021 1:17 PM  
I live on Oceanside ca
MaxB4


Posts:1351


09/21/2021 9:21 PM  
Best of luck to you.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8599


09/22/2021 10:17 AM  
Say, Valerie, does your HOA have Architectural Guidelines? If so, do they specify what kinds of flooring is permissible? And how to go about getting authorization to install it? Do your CC&Rs say there must be an Architectural Committee? Do your CC&Rs specifically prohibit hard surface flooring? (Not clear to me from your post). What, if anything DO your CC&Rs say about hard surface flooring or any flooring at all?

Is your condo HOA in one building? or several? How many floors in each building?

Our 20 y.o. condo HOA high rise has strict Architectural Guidelines that must be followed. We permit all kinds of hard surface flooring and it's no problem for downstairs neighbors IF installed correctly with the correct underlayment. My spouse & I just installed luxe vinyl plank in most of our unit and neighbors below are NOT complaining. I've served on our Board for over a dozen years and we've had only ONE noise complaint about flooring and test in the the suspect unit of its old hardwood flooring showed it complied in every way with our ARC Guidelines.

In one or a few condo buildings, surely many residents know when flooring is being installed as Valerie indicates happened before she bought. Trucks come, elevators or stairwells are buys, etc. But, Valerie, do you have an onsite property manager?
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