San Francisco, CA asked in Real Estate Law, Elder Law, Federal Crimes and Libel & Slander for California

Q: As an elderly/disabled condo owner, am I solely responsible for costs of common area railings I requested?

The building is Edwardian, 4 units, all-owner-occupied. The HOA President has become abusive in texts directed solely to me.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Elder Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Under California law, the responsibilities for maintenance and repair of common areas in a condominium complex are generally divided between the condominium association (HOA) and the individual owners. The specific requirements and obligations may be outlined in the condominium association's governing documents, such as the declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) and the bylaws.

In general, the condominium association is responsible for the maintenance, repair, and replacement of common areas, such as the exterior walls, roof, and structural components of the building. However, individual owners may be responsible for maintaining and repairing certain limited common areas, such as balconies, patios, or decks that are attached to their individual units. The exact scope of an owner's responsibility will depend on the language of the governing documents.

If you requested the installation or repair of common area railings and this request was approved by the HOA, it is possible that the HOA may be responsible for the cost of this work. However, if the railings are considered a limited common area or if they were installed at your request without prior approval from the HOA, you may be responsible for the cost of the work.

It is important to review the governing documents and any specific agreements or approvals related to the railings to determine the scope of your responsibility. If you are unsure of your responsibilities or believe that the HOA is not fulfilling its obligations under the governing documents, you may wish to consult with an attorney who specializes in condominium law.

Additionally, if the HOA President has become abusive in texts directed solely to you, this may be considered harassment or discrimination, which could be a violation of California law. You may wish to document any abusive messages and bring them to the attention of the HOA Board or an attorney who can advise you on the appropriate course of action. It is important to take steps to protect your rights and ensure that you are not subject to discrimination or harassment.

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