By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Owning a condo is not as affordable and carefree as real estate brokers and developers promise. When you share walls, roofs, and financial liabilities with co-owners, you have limited control over how association property is maintained, whether or not it is adequately insured, or who will ultimately make repairs when necessary.
And here is a little known fact. Even though you pay assessments regularly, there’s no guarantee your condo association will provide prompt, satisfactory service.
Post disaster clean up and repairs can take months, if not years. And during that time, the Association may attempt to unfairly burden individual condo owners with financial responsibility for fixing or rebuilding common infrastructure.
And, by the way, even if you can no longer safely live in your condo (or allow your tenants to stay), you must continue to pay your mortgage, taxes, insurance, AND condo assessments and fees.
Unfortunately, none of these very real risks are revealed to condo homebuyers.
Three fairly typical examples of condo calamity follow.
Here’s what happens if your condo neighbors neglect maintenance of their unit. Mold can take over, contaminating the air you breathe, and causing illness and allergic reactions for you and your family.
MOTHER and daughter forced to vacate home due to mold at next door condo (Kansas)
POSTED 9:16 PM, NOVEMBER 15, 2017, BY SEAN MCDOWELL
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Their house isn’t a home.
In fact, homeowner Aimee Patton says the condo she shares with her 11-year-old daughter, Amelia, is making the two of them very sick. The Pattons say it’s a mold outbreak at the vacant condominium next door that’s caused their illnesses.
You can’t stay inside their condo, which sits near Nall Avenue, for long. Patton proved that with the documented results of a mold test on her home. Those two severe summertime storms that drenched parts of Johnson County, which happened in July and August, brought on flooding in her condo complex. Patton and her daughter became ill many times during a four-month period. They believe it’s mold from that unoccupied apartment that caused it.
Patton, who works at a university in the Kansas City metro, says her family has had to leave the home twice this year, including once after her hired contractors removed mold left by those floodwaters. It was in August, according to Patton, while moving out for the second time, a contractor working on the condo next door let her inside.
“I said, ‘We’re experiencing mold issues. He said, ‘I’ll bet you are. Come on in,'” Patton said on Wednesday morning.
The photos she snapped showed moldy patches everywhere.
Read more (Video):
If your condo association has not replaced the roof for decades, or if severe storms tear holes in the roof, you can expect rain and wind to wreak havoc upon your condo and your personal belongings.
Condo complex roof covered with tarp, residents dealing with major mess days after storms (Ohio)
POSTED 10:14 PM, NOVEMBER 10, 2017, BY KEVIN FREEMAN, UPDATED AT 09:13AM, NOVEMBER 11, 2017
NORTH ROYALTON, Ohio- Friday’s frigid weather comes less than a week after severe storms caused damage across Northeast Ohio. That is creating more misery for people still cleaning up and repairing their homes.
“There’s quite a hole in the ceiling right there. You can see the debris down below. There’s a hole in the kitchen ceiling, right there,” said Jeff Park.
Park started recording video on his cell phone the minute he walked into his condo Thursday night in the Sunrise Cove Condominium development in North Royalton. He cut short a vacation in South Carolina after learning his building was damaged by severe storms Sunday evening.
“In my bedroom, my bed is soaking wet with quite a hole in the ceiling and drywall right on my head,” he said in the video.
Read more (Video):
In addition to personal injury or death, a condo fire can destroy your home, as well as your trust in the condo association to look after your best interests.
Christmas fire, tragic death leads to HOA tussle in Mason (Ohio)
Keith BieryGolick, firstname.lastname@example.org Published 9:37 p.m. ET Nov. 16, 2017 | Updated 11:32 p.m. ET Nov. 16, 2017
Melissa Messersmith was in a pain-killer daze.
She had surgery the day before and was recovering at her Mason condo when she heard pounding on the door.
It didn’t stop. Eventually, she heard her name. Then: FIRE!
She jumped out of bed. It was 2 a.m.
Outside, it was snowing. Christmas was two days away.
Her next-door neighbor of 10 years died in the flames.
That happened in 2013.
Messersmith, 39, now lives in a Maineville home with a first-floor bedroom – in case of a fire.
She says she can’t sleep.
Not because of the fatal fire, but because of how her homeowners’ association and property management company dealt with the situation.