Special Assessments for Stucco related Rotted Wood
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1 Homes in their Entirety are Owned by the Homeowners
Homeowners in our Association own their houses in their entirety. That means inside, outside, the roofs, the walls, the stucco, etc. This can clearly be seen in the unit owners' deeds and the associations Declaration. See 6.3 Boundaries of Units in the First Amended Declaration of Restrictions, Covenants and Easements for Willistown Woods II HOA, a Community Association Commonly Known as "Willistown Knoll".
2 Association Contractual Responsibilities
The Association has contractually assumed responsibility to maintain the "siding" and "roofs" as a common expense to name a few examples. See 26.3 Association Maintenance of Exterior of Units in the First Amended Declaration of Restrictions, Covenants and Easements for Willistown Woods II HOA, a Community Association Commonly Known as "Willistown Knoll".
The homeowner association does not own the roofs, siding, gutters, etc. but they do have the contractual obligation to maintain and replace these elements for the Homeowners.
The homeowner association has no authorization to repair other items of an owner's home except in situations of neglect. See Association Maintenance and Repair of Units Due to Owner Neglect.
3 A Civil Engineering Definition of "Siding"
The homeowner association is contractually required to maintain the "siding". What is "siding" in frame construction? According to Fundamentals of Residential Construction by Edward Allen and Rob Thallon:
- The exterior cladding material applied to the walls of a residence is referred to as siding. Many different types of materials can be used as siding: wood boards with various profiles, applied either horizontally or vertically; imitation board sidings made of metal, vinyl, or concrete; plywood siding; wood shingles; stucco; imitation stucco; and brick or stone masonry (Figures 13.7 to 13.29). The primary purpose of siding is to protect the walls from weather while presenting an attractive appearance. Siding materials must be able to endure moisture in the form of water vapor, rain, and melted snow; thermal expansion and contraction due to extreme heat and cold; freezing temperatures that can cause cracking and splitting in the presence of moisture; and ultraviolet degradation from direct sunlight.
Consequential damages, otherwise known as special damages, are damages you can prove occurred because of the failure of one party to meet a contractual obligation.
As an example, suppose you own your house and you have a contract with a party to maintain the "siding" of your house. The party who is responsible for maintaining the "siding" fails in their responsibility and the wood inside your house rots, the sheet rock gets moldy, etc. Is there a causal relationship between the maintenance of the "siding" and the rotted wood? Whose responsible for the effects of moisture penetrating through the "siding"?
5 A Willistown Knoll Example
On the right is a picture of rotted wood in a Chimney structure in Radcliffe. Click on the Picture if you want to examine it in more detail.
- The wood rotted is from moisture.
- There were no plumbing leaks inside the house.
- The homeowner association has known of these issues for years, perhaps a decade or more.
Who failed in their responsibilities, the homeowner or the association?
Should the Homeowner pay for the rotted wood costs by a contractor they neither hired nor granted formal permission to repair the inside of their home?
- Fundamentals of Residential Construction by Edward Allen and Rob Thallon, ©2011 by John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 978-0-470-54083-1, page 334, Wood Light Frame Construction - Siding
ADDITIONAL DISCLAIMER: This page is not meant to provide legal advice, the intent of the page is to raise the legal question of whether the Association's Special Assessments are legally valid which should be answered by a qualified professional. The author of this page claims no expertise in Civil Engineering, Law, or Construction.