Town home association is having a roof project done and want all homeowner to pay for extra insulation is this legal?
2 attorney answers
Every HOA has a declaratoin, by-laws, rules and regulations. Each also has an annual budget. If this need arose after a budget was passed, there are special procedures the HOA must follow to validate the decision. If it was part of a budget the HOA should have had sent around the budget as a proposed one, and this should have been part of it. That being said, if an HOA finds the need for work to be done, 99/100 of the time the organic documents given them the power to do so; consent by the owners or a majority....may be secondary.
Before determining the best course of action, you need to know just what your HOA's obligations are. Look at its governing documents -- the articles of incorporation, bylaws, declaration of covenants, conditions, restrictions, and easements ("CC&R’s" or "declaration") -- and any other rules and regulations. You should have received a copy of these when you purchased your property. If not, you can get them from your HOA or from your county’s real estate records.
As a general rule of thumb, homeowners are responsible for everything inside their home, as well as the exterior and property surrounding it; yet they must maintain the exterior in accordance with HOA rules and regulations. For example, there may be a policy in place that states approved colors for siding, shutters, doors, mailboxes, or other features. While it is the homeowner’s duty to make sure their home is well-kept, it is the homeowner’s and HOA’s responsibility to ensure any changes or maintenance are compliant with established rules.
On the flip side, in most developments, maintaining, repairing, and replacing the COMMON AREAS are among the HOA's major duties. Depending on the community amenities, the common area maintenance responsibilities might include such things as heating and lighting a common clubhouse, maintaining the community pools and elevators, and providing landscaping services for the common parks.
While each HOA agreement differs, HOA funds normally cover a greater portion of the property upkeep on condos rather than townhomes. When you purchase a townhouse, you are essentially buying a single-family home, with the exception of adjoining walls and roof, as you are now the owner of the plot of land on which your home is built. When you purchase a condo, you only own the interior space – not the building and not the land. A condo’s HOA fees usually pay for master liability insurance, covering everything a normal homeowner’s policy would, but is paid for in full by the HOA. Condo owners submit regular payments to cover this expense, and the sum total of their HOA fee is usually higher than that of a townhouse owner. If the roof begins to leak or suffer wear, the repairs are the HOA’s responsibility.
Townhouse owners may also pay HOA fees, but the funds only carry insurance for common areas such as parking lots and swimming pools. However, your townhome’s association may cover repairs caused by natural disasters. They also may have a portion of the dues set aside in a capital reserve account, allotted for general property repairs such as roof improvements.
There may be other duties of the HOA, as well, depending on each association’s governing documents. It is essential to carefully read these materials and understand the rights and responsibilities of both homeowners and the HOA. This information was provided for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. But if you feel like your HOA is not living up to its end of the bargain, it might be wise to contact an attorney.