Articles Posted in Maintenance and Repair

(and why condominium associations should be responsible for waterproofing on balcony decks)

By David C. Swedelson, Condo Lawyer and HOA legal expert; Senior Partner at SwedelsonGottlieb
I know that many boards contemplate the idea of making owners responsible for the waterproofing on the balconies or decks in condominiums (and yes, generally the association is responsible for repairing or replacing what is considered common area waterproofing). Bad idea. The reality is that owners will not do what is required, and the leaks will damage the common area and other units. One association client learned this the hard way. And while the end result was good for the association and we consider this an excellent result, the road was rocky and stressful. And the association had to finance our fees and the costs.

It all started with that association amending and restating its Governing Documents (through another firm). As a part of that process, their former attorney suggested that they make the homeowners responsible for the maintenance, repair and replacement of the waterproofing on each homeowner’s exclusive use balcony decks. Many associations tell me they would like to see the homeowners responsible for the waterproofing, as they claim that the association does not want to have to save or expend the money for that work. However, in practice this is not a good idea.
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By David C. Swedelson, Senior Partner, SwedelsonGottlieb

As you have likely noticed, lately there have been a lot of significant earthquakes all over the world. Haiti, Chile, New Zealand, and Japan. Since May 1st, California has experienced over 400 earthquakes, most too small to be noticed. But experts say that it is only a matter of time before California suffers a new and significant earthquake. Are you prepared? What about your community association? Probably not. But all of us can certainly learn from prior experiences. So I found an old article I prepared following our experiences working with hundreds of condominium and planned development homeowner associations following the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Follow this link to read my August 1994 article, Lessons Learned from the January 1994 Earthquake, that was published in Condo Management magazine.

David Swedelson can be contacted via email:

By David Swedelson, SwedelsonGottlieb Partner

Japan’s massive earthquake has caused many of us to be concerned about earthquakes in California. A March 20, 2011 L.A. Times article reports that the Japan quake has created a surge of interest in earthquake insurance in California.

The article reports that only about 12% of Californians with homeowner’s insurance policies have quake coverage. The article did not report on condominium associations, but Tim Cline, a respected California insurance expert and broker, advises that while there is no statistical data published as to the percentage of California community associations that do carry this coverage, he estimates it at 25%. Tim does indicate that the percentage is closer to 50% of condominium associations, and that makes sense as they have more to protect and deal with than other types of community associations.
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By David C. Swedelson, Partner, SwedelsonGottlieb

With record rainfalls in December 2010, and a rainy season that stretched into March 2011, California community associations and their management have been kept busy responding to reports of leaks and “water intrusion” (when the water from any source intrudes into a unit or home). And as expected, we have received many phone calls and emails asking who is responsible to pay for the cost of repair, who makes what repairs, and is there any insurance to cover the cost of all or any part of the repair work?
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