People choose to purchase condominiums and town homes instead of a single family home for a variety of reasons. Perhaps it is their first home and a newly constructed condominium is more affordable, brand new, and has the latest amenities. Perhaps they are empty nesters looking to downsize. Perhaps they want Hudson River front views of New York City at night but could never afford a single family home with such dramatic views. What is common however, is the dream of a “maintenance free” lifestyle. Purchasers love the thought of coming home from work without worrying about cutting the grass or shoveling the snow.
Unfortunately, that dream can quickly turn into a nightmare. The quality of construction has taken a dramatic turn for the worse in the last decade or so. Largely gone are the days of taking pride in craftsmanship. While some builders do take the proper steps to assure a quality home, others stress speed, cheaper materials, and other cost savings. Large crews of framers, roofers, and other workers descend on a site with only a few supers or foreman in charge. The simple logistics dictate that it is impossible for a handful of builder representatives to assure that the buildings are properly constructed.
Oftentimes, this leads to shoddy workmanship, leaks, mold, and other assorted construction problems. Even if an owner is fortunate that their unit is not experiencing problems, each individual unit owner is responsible for their respective share of all of the common elements for the entire site pursuant to the association’s governing documents.
In some associations, the complaints are legion and the problems become overwhelming. Some hardy souls decide to run for the association’s Board to try to get a handle on the situation. This series will detail the most common construction defects as well as potential solutions when confronted with these problems.