condominium is new right now, but what happens when the roof needs repairs, the
driveways need resurfacing, and the siding is fading? Is the condo association
responsible for the expense, and if so, where does the association get the
money to make the repairs?
A: Ohio law requires the unit owners’
association to adopt and amend budgets and
to collect assessments for common expenses from unit owners. Unless the condominium
organizational documents say otherwise, the code also requires the association to
set aside no less than 10 percent of its annual budget to repair and replace
major capital items. The owners may decide to waive the 10 percent set-aside
each year with the approval of a majority of the unit owners. Typically, money put
into reserves is used to fund the long-term maintenance of the condominium, including
the roofs and roads.
If, however, the association does not
have the necessary reserves for a major repair, it can pass a special assessment
to fund the repairs. Ultimately, the owners must bear the financial costs for
major repairs, either through the board’s planning for adequate reserves or by special
assessments as the need arises. In recent years, reserve studies have been used
to more rationally determine the amount of reserves necessary for future
Q: I am going to be a first-time condominium
owner. What should I know about the closing process?
A: First, consult
with your attorney, who will help you draft your purchase contract. Your
closing really starts with the contract. If the contract is not right, the
entire transaction will be difficult. Buying a condo is different from buying a
single family house, and the closing agent is not always looking out for your
best interest. Having a knowledgeable attorney assist you should be a priority.
Before closing, your attorney will review with you all of the crucial documents
that govern your condominium, including the declaration, bylaws and rules of
the association. He or she will review the closing statement and inspection
reports for the property, and make sure you are getting what you bargained for.
Your purchase contract should be contingent on your satisfactory review of
these documents, including financial statements and the balance sheet for the
association. Your attorney will review the title work with you and advise you
about the proper insurance you should have for your unit. Once you are at the
closing table, the title company will explain the closing statement, and you
will be asked to sign multiple documents including the lender’s note and mortgage,
which your attorney should review with you. At closing, you will receive the
keys to the unit and be asked to put the utilities in your name. You should be
able to close your purchase in about an hour if all of the reviews of the
closing documents have been done in advance.
Q: We have an unruly tenant in our condominium community who is renting the
condominium. Is there any way to remove
that tenant without involving the owner of the rental unit?
A: As an owner of a condo unit, you own
real estate, and you may be able to rent the unit instead of living in it, just
like any other piece of residential real estate. However, with tenants sometimes come
problems. Since 2004, Ohio law has
allowed the association to evict unruly tenants without permission from the
unit owner. There is only one step that
must be taken in addition to the normal eviction process, and it involves notifying
the owner before the eviction is filed. The process is quick, but it can be
expensive if the tenant puts up a fight. The most common reasons for eviction of
a tenant are the tenant’s violation of the association rules, such as
maintaining too many pets, or harboring a vicious dog, parking in restricted
areas and creating noise violations associated with loud parties. If the condominium
association prohibits leasing, the tenant also may be evicted because the owner
has rented the property in violation of the rules.
This “Law You Can Use” legal information column was provided
by the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA). It was prepared by Charles T.
Williams, Esq of Williams & Strohm, LLC, located in Columbus. For more
information on a variety of legal topics, visit the OSBA’s website at
www.ohiobar.org. Articles appearing in this column are intended to provide
broad, general information about the law. Before applying this information to a
specific legal problem, readers are urged to seek advice from an attorney.
Labels: condo association, condominium, homeowners