The Myth of Maintenance Free Living
“Buy a condo, you’ll never have to worry about anything again”, they said……and so a myth was born.
While it is true that you may not have to mow the lawn or paint the siding, maintenance responsibilities still remain with you when you purchase a condominium. Interior plumbing, appliance repair, smoke detector batteries and in unit extermination are just a few items which may still be the responsibility of the unit owner.
This is why it is so important to read your governing documents (Master Deed, Declaration of Trust, Bylaws, and Rules and Regulations). Contained within these documents you will find a description of Common Elements (those elements for which the maintenance responsibility is that of the Association) and a description of the Units. The Unit description outlines the items that the Owner is responsible for maintaining which can often include items such as doors, windows and screens.
A well informed Unit Owner will know when to call their own plumber and when to report a common element leak – saving precious time in the event of a water loss and damage.
Please take the time to thoroughly review your Association’s Governing Documents and don’t hesitate to ask your Property Manager if you have questions.
As a property management company with decades of experience, Crowninshield Management Corp. is an expert in assisting condominium complexes in creating harmonious communities. One of the challenges we sometimes see is helping residents who have recently sold their single family homes and moved into a condo understand that they are now part of a larger community.
While it may have been acceptable to paint black and white polka dots on the front door of their single family home to celebrate the family Dalmatian, it most likely will not meet the Association’s design standards. “A lot of people come from their own homes and need to now be sensitive that they are part of a larger community,’” says Bob O’Leary of Craftsmen Restoration. “They need to understand that being part of a condominium community they need to take the whole into consideration and things like color coordination are important,” notes O’Leary.
Some condominium communities have a design committee whose responsibility is to insure that projects meet specified architectural requirements. A goal of the committee may be to create design standards so the community retains a cohesive look. Residents who are thinking about making modifications to their units should send the plans to the design committee to make sure they are in compliance with the architectural standards.
It is important for Associations to educate residents about the design protocol in their community. Thanks to modern technology, there are many ways to deliver information through newsletters, blogs and e-mail. To quote Steve Jobs,”Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.” At Crowninshield, we believe condominium communities should look and work in harmony.