Two common topics of discussion in condominium and townhome associations are: (1) who is responsible for the maintenance, repair, and replacement of the building components; and (2) who is responsible for paying for repairs.
Unless the association’s declaration specifies otherwise, the association is generally responsible for maintaining, repairing, and replacing the common elements and the homeowners are responsible for maintaining, repairing, and replacing their individual units. In many associations – particularly townhome associations – the association is also responsible for maintaining, repairing, and replacing certain exterior parts of the units such as roofs, siding, gutters, downspouts, and exterior paint and caulk. Of course, every community is unique, and the declaration will ultimately control the maintenance and repair obligations.
But that is only half of the discussion. The party responsible for making repairs is not always the same as the party responsible for paying for them. Indeed, Minnesota law and the association’s declaration may entitle it to assess repair costs to the unit or units where the work was performed.
In Minnesota, all condominiums and many townhomes are governed by and subject to the Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act (“MCIOA”). Under MCIOA, associations are required to assess the cost to repair limited common elements to the unit or units they serve unless the declaration says otherwise. Many declarations soften this by permitting, but not requiring, association to assess limited common element repair costs to the unit or units they serve. Further, MCIOA and most newer declarations permit associations to assess maintenance and repair costs benefiting fewer than all the units to only those units benefited, regardless of whether those repairs involve the common elements, limited common elements, or units. Additionally, MCIOA and most newer declarations permit associations to assess their property insurance deducible to the units in any reasonable manner in the event of a claim.
In a nutshell, this means that even though an association may be responsible for maintaining, repairing, and replacing parts of the property, those costs may be assessed back to the unit owners in some circumstances.
The attorneys at Smith Jadin Johnson have extensive experience in all aspects of community association law, including maintenance and repair obligations and the assessment of costs for the same. If you have questions about maintenance in your association or how those costs should be paid, we can help. Contact our office for a consultation with one of our community association attorneys.
Karly Kauf – Attorney @ Smith Jadin Johnson