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Condominium Claims
Condominiums present a unique form of home ownership that presents unique challenges for unit owners, condominium associations and those who develop, design and construct condominium properties alike. As a starting point, condominium ownership is different from owning a single family home because condominium buyers typically only own the space within their unit (as opposed to the physical structure itself) and because the physical structure of the condominium property typically consists of common elements and limited common elements that are owned by the collective members of the condominium association. In addition, unlike single family homes, condominium properties are governed by an association and unit ownership is subject to rules and regulations that are set forth in the condominium declarations and by laws. These and other unique aspects of condominium ownership can present challenges, particularly when defective conditions exist at the property.
Illustrating this point, common elements within a condominium property consist of portions of the property that are owned by and are for the mutual use of all unit owners. For example, a condominium property may contain a lobby, a recreation room or a work-out facility. No single unit owner can claim exclusive ownership of these spaces. Rather, each such space exists for the benefit all unit owners. However, the line between an exclusive element (such as the unit itself) and the limited and common elements is not always clear or obvious. For example, consider a condominium property consisting of several multi-family buildings, each of which has its own roof. What happens when one of those buildings needs a new roof because just one of the units is experiencing a leak, but none of the units and none of the other buildings needs any roof work? One might think that only the affected unit owner would be responsible for the cost to repair the roof in “their” building. However, in most circumstances, it is the association as a whole that owns the roof on all buildings, and it is the association as a whole that is responsible to repair the affected roof out of its operating funds. If the association lacks sufficient funds to make the needed repairs, then it is typically the responsibility of all unit owners to contribute ratably in an assessment to the cost of the repair, even though the roof in “their” building is perfectly fine. This dynamic can lead to disputes between the unit owners and the association. Further, it is not uncommon that a defective condition exists because an association failed to maintain the property, because a unit owner misused the property or because of a construction or renovation related defect. In such circumstances, the unique nature of condominium ownership can present challenging issues when a condominium association considers making a claim to recover damages for the costs of repair as well as when a developer, contractor or design professional must defend such a claim.
The Howard Law Firm llc possesses extensive experience successfully defending large, national developers in multi-million dollar condominium defect claims, and prosecuting multi-million dollar condominium defect claims on behalf of homeowner’s associations. Further, our deep knowledge of the construction processes and the unique law pertaining to it, based upon more than a decade of experience representing virtually all participants in the construction process in some of the largest and most complex construction defect claims, enables us to handle condominium related claims effectively and efficiently.
Whether you are part of a condominium association that has defects which require repair or are a developer, contractor, subcontractor, architect or engineer who confront a condominium defect claim, The Howard Law Firm llc can help you. Please feel free to call us for a free consultation.