The California Court of Appeal recently came down with a decision in the case of Ritter & Ritter Inc. v. The Churchill Condominium Association dealing with (among other things) the responsibilities and duty of care of a condominium association and its directors. We will address other issues relating to this case in a future article.
In this case, the homeowner requested that the association seal a hole in the slab which had been made as part of the original construction for pipes to pass-through from one unit to the other. There was no question that the hole should be filled in, as it constituted a fire danger. Somehow, the board incorrectly concluded that this hole was the homeowner’s responsibility to deal with, and the homeowner disagreed and sued the Association. The work would have cost the association approximately $2,500 (for that unit); instead, the case cost the Association hundreds of thousands of dollars for attorneys' fees and costs. The Court of Appeals decision (click here) provides an excellent discussion on a homeowner's versus the condominium association's repair responsibilities and the director's duty of care as well. The Court’s discussion on this issue follows: