Ten Potential Plagues of Condominium Ownership

In my work I have discovered specific conditions which may complicate condominium ownership. The ten potential plagues of condominium ownership are as follows:

  1. The low priced and/or poorly constructed building with poor quality design, materials and workmanship which will require major repairs. A disproportionate number of these building have EIFS, stucco, wood composite and vinyl siding.

See Q&A: Building Envelope Defects, and the report of the Comm. of Inquiry Into the Quality of Condominium Construction in BC.

A Shrink Wrapped Condo

A condo with exterior envelope failure. Repair costs in such cases are often in the 10's of thousands of dollars per unit.

  • The medium priced building with 'special features' which are unlikely to work unless done to the best and most expensive standards, i.e. tile shower walls and waterproof decks. See Topics: Decks, and Topics: Tub and Shower Walls.
  • The well meaning, busy condominium association members who want someone else to take care of the routine and extraordinary maintenance issues. They can't or do not want to afford a very good and more expensive maintenance and management company.
  • The low condo fees which only cover the regular monthly expenses and preclude building an "adequate" reserve fund which will one day be needed to pay for larger repairs and maintenance projects such as roofs, decks and siding. (see item #1 above)
  • The condo owner who can't afford the special assessments and assumes that the low condo fees will cover all maintenance costs.
  • The embattled condominium owners' association with one faction wanting blue vinyl siding, another wanting clear cedar, and the rest who don't participate in the meetings or are just sick and tired of the war.
  • The music lover, exercise machine user or daytime sleeper whose activities and needs upset other owners.
  • The common area hog who washes cars 4 times a week, invites rowdy friends to use the condo pool and disregards parking assignments.
  • The main floor unit owner who does not want to pay for roof repair (or basement water problems) because, "the problem does not impact my unit. And, by the way, I never use the pool anyway, so why should I have to pay for the pool maintenance?"
  • The absentee landlord whose condo unit is rented to problem tenants and who will not participate in the management of his/her property.

    Luckily the above described 'plagues' are not universally found in condominiums. Well built, well managed and well maintained complexes can be relatively trouble-free and can result in a relatively maintenance-free home.