Can a homeowner association shift repair costs to owners?

People who buy condos reap numerous benefits that are not available to traditional homeowners. Condo owners, for example, enjoy professional maintenance and repair services that alleviate much of the upkeep costs that homeowners must tackle on their own.

However, despite many of their maintenance costs being covered by the homeowners’ association or by the property owner, condo owners still may be forced to pay some costs for damages to the property directly outside of their condominiums. These costs can lead to contentious situations between the homeowners’ association and the condo owner.

Thanks to a recent change to the homeowners’ association laws in California, there may be little that condo owners can do to contest these costs in court. It used to be that owners could go to court and challenge the association if the damage could be linked back to common use facilities or fixtures. A court ruled in favor a condo owner by stipulating that there could be no way to distinguish one section of the common use facility or fixture from another and thus no way to prove definitively that the damage was caused by or the responsibility of the condo’s owner.

However, a change to the law now states that homeowners’ associations can in fact pass on these expenses to the owners and escape having to pay for costs like those incurred when fixing a broken gas line or a backed up sewer line. Condominium owners themselves may have to pay for these damages without legal recourse.

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