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Subject: Special Assessment Help
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KrisP
(Illinois)

Posts:6


11/20/2007 9:11 PM  
Hi all,

I'm not sure anyone can provide me with the legal answer to my question, but I'm interested in other's opinions. Our community is in the preliminary stages of a roof replacement on a 4-story 25 unit condo building, ~$100,000. Everyone on the top floor has a personal rooftop room with roof access and a deck. As part of the quote, the roofer included replacing the roof on all the rooftop rooms which probably would account for 25% of the materials and at least that much time.

Since the rooftop rooms are limited common elements and the responsibility of the individual unit owners, per the bylaws, should this work be included in the special assessment paid by the entire building? Should we have the contractor break the rooftop room work out separately and divide it among the top floor residents?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

KrisP
HaroldS
(Arizona)

Posts:906


11/20/2007 9:50 PM  
Isn't the square footage of the roof the same if those roof top rooms are there or not there? Don't they just push that portion of the roof up another story? Using your theory, then only units with a roof should pay for it? Am I missing something? Harold
KrisP
(Illinois)

Posts:6


11/21/2007 6:43 AM  
Thanks for the reply Harold.

Let me elaborate on the situation. Think of the rooftop rooms as a bunch of sheds on top of the building, although they are much larger. We are replacing the general building roof because of age, leaks, etc... We could replace the roof of the building and work around the physical rooftop rooms. If the contractor is going to replace the rooftop room roofs, as well, he is going to need additional material to do so and have to take the time to work on each individual room. Again, I'm speculating that that might be 25% of the job. The roofs on the rooftop rooms are old, but there are currently no issues with them. I believe the contractor simply put it into the quote since he was going to be doing the other work.

As a side note, if someone's rooftop room was leaking five years ago, it would have been that particular owner's responsibility to get it fixed. Since it isn't a common element, the association would not cover this.

Hopefully this helps.
HaroldS
(Arizona)

Posts:906


11/21/2007 7:50 AM  
I still don't understand. Why were these "sheds" included in the quote if they aren't the responsibility of the board? As an owner of one of these sheds I might not want to replace its roof. I should have that option. The contractor should be able to break out his quote. Who developed this 25% estimate anyway? The only fair way is for the contractor to quote your common area which is your responsibility and quote the shed owners IF they want it done. Why do I have the feeling the shed owners are being screwed here, being expected to pick up 25% of the total cost in addition to their portion of 75% of the assessment? Harold
KrisP
(Illinois)

Posts:6


11/21/2007 8:29 AM  
I wasn't part of the original discussions with the roofer, but saw the quote when it came in. The situation is the opposite of what you are thinking. The residents who originally dealt with the roofer have roof rooms. I want to make sure they aren't sliding this work in with the common roof and making everyone else foot the bill. This type of thing has been a problem in our building over the years. The 25% was a complete guess on my part based on the number of roof rooms and amount of surface area they cover.

The board is going to need to explain this process in detail to the residents, so I want to make sure they act fairly. I want some outside opinions since I don't have a roof room and want to make sure I am not biased because of this.

I appreciate your time Harold.
PaulM
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:1347


11/21/2007 11:04 AM  
KrisP: You state...Since the rooftop rooms are limited common elements and the responsibility of the individual unit owners, per the bylaws...
and further, you state that these are 'common area'.

Common area projects are most always the responsibility of the association of residents to fund, either by the funds in the Capital Expense Fund (for those capital appropriation items such as roofs, streets, etc.) or when the capital expense fund cannot cover, then residents are called upon with a 'special assessment'.

The 'rooftop rooms' can indeed be limited common elements and the responsibility of the owner for the 'inside room'; however, the roof on these rooms could also be part of the associations' expenses, just as the entire roof is.

It is important to review your official documents to learn what portion of the roof or rooftops are the association's as common area, and what portion the unit owner is responsible to maintain/repair. This is your only basis for knowing who pays for what and will provide you with the way to move forward on getting the quote for the correct amount of work to be done. I would encourage you also to solicit more than one bid, but all bids should be based on doing the same work for the same areas.
RaymondC
(Minnesota)

Posts:64


11/21/2007 5:38 PM  
The distinction you are attempting to make between the roof on the building and that on the "sheds" is without merit. You may as well argue that folks on lower floors don't have roofs at all, snd so should not pay. Only top floor people should pay for roof repairs. The roof is the uppermost weather surface of the building, and everyone lives below it.
KrisP
(Illinois)

Posts:6


11/21/2007 8:50 PM  
I don't believe I ever stated that the roof rooms were "common elements." Regardless, here's what the bylaws say, "Limited common elements are defined to include fences, decks, balconies, roof rooms and all elements that are contiguous to a single unit. These elements are the responsibility of the unit owner who uses the element. They must be maintained and kept in good repair. Any construction or alteration to a limited common element must be approved by the board of directors."

I appreciate everyone's feedback. Ultimately, it will help the board make a better decision. Happy Thanksgiving!

Kris
SusanW1
(Michigan)

Posts:5202


11/22/2007 6:06 AM  
So who is going to judge (and enforce) that these roofs are "maintained"?

I agree with the previous poster. Roof these additions while you are up there. Visually, then, the complex will look uniform and better.
KrisP
(Illinois)

Posts:6


11/22/2007 9:04 AM  
The issue is not who will enforce the maintenance of these roofs. And to add even more detail, this is an urban building where the roofs are flat and unseen. Replacing or not replacing the roofs on the rooftop rooms will not make a difference aesthetically.
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