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  1. #1
    Tim Moreira's Avatar
    Tim Moreira Guest

    Default Condo common areas

    Inspected a condo a while back and noticed that the balusters for the stairs and guard rails were measured out at 5 1/2 inches apart.

    I made a comment to my clients that this is a safety hazard by today's standards........

    The condo *management person* was there too when I made the comment and of course she sarcastically piped in that she would go around and personally add an extra baluster in between each one.

    I couldn't restrain myself and told her something like ..."If yous guys ever have a child fall through and the child gets hurt or killed...after you get done paying out millions for the law suit...that's exactly what you will be doing, or you will be replacing the rails altogether."

    Of course she mumbled something under her breath as we walked on.

    Question 1. Since the condo association is not my client I have no obligation to mention or report anything to them? I did mention it to her since she was there and it was a safety issue. Of course, those things are (anything that might be negative or a *deal breaker*) never appreciated. I do know that I have to mention all common areas that my client will be using/accessing on the report which is exactly what I did.

    Question 2. Does anyone know of an inspector that may have gotten dragged into a law suit because they inspected a condo that had problems in the common areas but the inspector didn't report them to the condo's management? Any liability in this for us?

    Just curious to see what ya ll think.


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  2. #2
    Richard Stanley's Avatar
    Richard Stanley Guest

    Default Re: Condo common areas

    I do not do common areas.
    Seems to me that you would need permission from the association to inspect those.
    Edit: Where would you stop??

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: Condo common areas

    I haven't but Tim, I always look at common areas for the same type of problems. Common sense tells you that to protect your clients you must add certain areas and defects in the report, and if you don't you're liable. Contract, SOP's, whatever

  4. #4
    David Banks's Avatar
    David Banks Guest

    Default Re: Condo common areas

    Tim. I got this from someone on Inspection News. I will sometimes use it for Condo"s.

    "Home Owners Association. "The residential dwelling unit appeared to be part of a complex that is managed, and maintained by a "Home Owners Association." Our inspection will be limited to visual evaluation of the systems and components that are located within the dwelling unit inspected. The current condition of "Common Elements" such as, but not limited to; stairs, landings, porches, hallways, walks, balconies, decks, patios, pools, spas, recreational areas/equipment, elevators, utility metering, parking stalls/ports, building site condition, structural stability, drainage systems, and all common areas on this not considered to be part of this inspection report. Any comments made regarding same have been made for safety concerns or as a courtesy only, and should be addressed to the "Home Owner's Association" or their representative.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Fletcher, NC

    Default Re: Condo common areas

    When I used to do condos, I inspected the condo interiors only, however, any common area elements I found wrong between where I parked, walked, and the roof (for access to the a/c condenser units) I included in my report and stated that the condo association should be notified, and that if any special assessments were to be made for those repairs, the special assessments should be addressed prior to closing.

    I had more than one condo where the roofs needed to be replaced, and, yep, there was NO RESERVE for roof replacement. That deal fell through because of that. My client assumed, rightly, that any management association and condo board who were so cheap as to not have a reserve fund for roofs, parking areas, pools, etc., were to cheap to properly maintain other things too, and they wanted no part of an association like that.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction/Litigation/Code Consultant - Retired

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Healdsburg, CA

    Cool Re: Condo common areas

    Tim, IMHO you did the right thing.
    David, that HOA disclaimer you quoted was written by the late Geoff Lunt and yours truly many years ago... It may be the most often used disclaimer employed by home inspectors across the US. I’m also a big believer in that when a disclaimer becomes common as dirt it also becomes more legally defensible. I differed from right coast Jerry during my time in the trenches in that any thing I saw as a defect in a common area while going to and from the unit to be inspected was shared verbally with my client. I also explained that only the interior of the unit in the PUD would be addressed within the body of my report. (pain to paint)
    BTW, that HOA disclaimer among other things states the client should study the HOA’s reserve account plus the disclosure of any past or pending litigation. It has been my experience that most PUDs are very poorly run by HOA boards.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant


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