By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Condo owners at Marine Towers East are suing their condo association. They say that when they purchased their condos in recent years, they were not told they would face large special assessments, in order to pay for millions of dollars in needed repairs. According to a News 5 Cleveland special report, the condo association board knew that the building required extensive repairs as early as 2011. But that information was not disclosed to buyers in the past 5 years.
While the condo purchase price is affordable (current listings start at $32,500 for a one bedroom unit), owners are now having difficulty coming up with tens of thousands of dollars in assessments to pay for critical repairs, including a new heating system. Some owners face foreclosure because they cannot afford a sharp increase in their assessments.
Condo owner H. Nabil explains that it is typical for a buyer to have an inspection of the apartment interior when purchasing a condo. But the buyer and seller do not have the authority or the means to physically inspect interior and exterior infrastructure. Therefore, the problems that have existed at Marine Towers East for several years were unknown to recent buyers.
You may recall that Marine Towers East was in the news last fall, when residents learned the buidling’s heating system did not work.
In addition to a non-functioning heating and cooling system, owners allege that, according to
… a 2013 study from Criterium-Liszkay Engineers showed a need for more expensive repairs, including replacing asphalt, the roof, boiler, garage door equipment, the pool heater, generator, front awning washer and dryers and more.
The condo association reportedly claims owners voted not to set aside money in reserves for future repairs, another fact that owners say was not disclosed to them at the time of purchase.
However, if it’s true that members voted to forego a reserve account, the condo board will probably not be held liable for its failure to maintain. And if Ohio law is anything like the law in Connecticut, the association is not required to disclose known defects in the building. In most states, the duty to disclose all potential defects rests with the individual condo seller, not the condo association.
Of course, that protects the condo board and management team, but not the home buyer.
And keep in mind that the seller may be blissfully unaware of defects in the common infrastructure, unless their condo board shares information openly.
It seems that Nabil has reached the conclusion that her condo is not worth the cost to repair the building. Do I sense a pending conflict over condo termination in the near future?