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CCOC Decision Summary

#283-O, Botman and Coleman v. The Crescent I Condominium, Inc. (January 17, 1996) (Panel: McLeod, Chester, Fox)

The condominium owners (CO) complained that the condominium association (CA) violated the bylaws by failing to repair a large hole in the outside wall of their unit, and requested that the CA reimburse them $19,800 for their expenses in fixing the wall themselves.  The CA's defense was that the problem originated inside the wall, where it was the CO's responsibility, and the damage to the outside wall was only a symptom of the basic problem.

The evidence at the hearing showed that a large gap had opened in the exterior of the unit between the roof and the exterior wall.  An engineering inspection showed that the wooden rafters supporting the roof had shifted position, forcing the exterior wall to bow outward; this appeared to be a construction defect resulting from inadequate support for the roof rafters.  Major repairs to the roof support system were necessary and cost over $18,000.  The CA contacted its master insurance carrier, which denied coverage because the policy did not cover damage due to faulty construction.  The CA's attorney advised the CA that the cause of the problem was inside the unit, which under the bylaws and state law was the owner's responsibility; only minor repairs to the outside of the unit, which was a common element and the CA's responsibility, were required.  As a result the CA rejected the CO's request that it pay for repairs.

The hearing panel ruled that the CA's responsibility was limited to maintenance of the exterior surfaces of the units, and the CO's responsibility was for the interior surfaces of their unit.  The damage was due to faulty construction or design and not to outside causes.  "Exterior surfaces" is not defined, but the CA plat shows that it is measure to the roof peak and the outside wall of each unit.  The past practice of the CA was to pay for roof repairs down to the original sheathing boards of the unit, including shingles, felt paper, and a top layer of sheathing if necessary.  Therefore the panel held that the CO's were not entitled to recover the entire cost of the repairs to their unit.  However, the panel also held that the CA was liable for costs of repairs to exterior elements of the unit, including the roof surface items as noted above, facia board, and flashing, if needed.  However, the bills submitted by the CO did not itemize the work done or the materials used.

The panel ordered the CO to obtain from the contractors an itemized breakdown of the costs of the work done and materials used, and ordered the CA to pay for the costs of replacing the following items: roof sheathing, shingles, felt paper, facia board and flashing.  The panel further ordered that if the costs could not be broken down, then the CO's request for any reimbursement was denied.

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