An upper floor unit in a luxury condominium was purchased in 2006. A terrace was an included and important amenity.
A unit owner alleged that in 2010, water began leaking through the ceiling above a terrace door and that the leaks emanated from the exterior common elements.
The president of the board of managers acknowledged that, in around 2011, the owner began to complain about water infiltration in the apartment. The board retained an architect to conduct an inspection to the building’s façade and concluded that there may have been “some water leaks…at the time of inspection…from above window heads and at each side of window jambs”; but nevertheless concluded that the building had been diligently maintained.
Copyright by, and republished with permission of, Habitat Magazine.
House rules and building regulations are usually the domain of co-op and condo boards. However, boards must make sure they don’t go off the rails in promulgating rules and fines that are either disproportionate to the targeted offenses or not expressly permitted by the co-op’s proprietary lease or the condo’s bylaws. Those governing documents form a contract, which can usually be amended only by the vote of a supermajority of shareholders or unit-owners – not by board decree. So while a board’s right to adopt rules and regulations is important, it is not unlimited. Rules and regulations typically contain provisions regarding objectionable or anti-social behavior, noise, the use of elevators, the use of public areas and the like. The board cannot, by enacting a rule or regulation, alter the basic terms of the contract that the owners entered into when they purchased their apartments.
Copyright by, and republished with permission of, Habitat Magazine
For residents of New York City co-ops and condominiums, roof access is a cherished amenity. When that access is the exclusive right of one unit, the amenity becomes a treasure. But it’s worth remembering that private roof access is not the same thing as roof ownership. The people enjoying exclusive access to the roof are bound by various agreements – the certificate of incorporation in a co-op, the declaration in a condominium, and the by-laws, rules, and regulations in both types of buildings.
A recent court case concerning a roof terrace in a condominium illustrates two points: exclusivity may be trumped by the necessity for inspection and repair; and obstructing such work can backfire against a unit-owner.