Garage magic! Who pays?
April 29, 2015 5:14 PM   Subscribe

I own a condo in a six unit building. Five of us own spaces in a garage on the other side of the backyard. Some garages (which are separated by walls) have doors opening to the backyard; mine doesn't. So I'm planning to add a door, which will require cutting through the wall of the garage and extending the sidewalk in the backyard to reach my new door. Should I ask the condo association pay for any part of this?
posted by chimpsonfilm to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
I'm assuming you'll need their permission to add the door so you can ask about shared costs at that time. Do your CC&Rs address issues like this?
posted by killy willy at 5:28 PM on April 29, 2015

Response by poster: Yeah, I'll need their permission because the wall is a common element and the extension to the sidewalk will become part of a common element. I'm the association treasurer and they tend to defer to me on financial questions, but I don't want to ask for anything that's unfair and spoil the good vibe of the group.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 5:45 PM on April 29, 2015

Best answer: I'm a condo owner and a member of the condo board. Here's my take: Ask permission, but don't ask for financial support. You're modifying a public part of the property, but in a way that only benefits you. Your current use isn't hindered, it's just less-than-ideal. The work benefits you both in ease of use of your property, and likely in increase value of your property, but does nothing to benefit the other owners or the association itself.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 5:47 PM on April 29, 2015 [6 favorites]

Best answer: IANYL, IANAL.

Speaking from experience with a condo and a garage, I would suggest that it depends entirely on how the garage is defined in the condo master deed and your unit deed. Is the garage defined as common area? Does your deed award you owner ship of your garage space, or exclusive use?

In our case, there are 12 condo units, garage spaces are allotted to only 6 units, but the garage as a whole is defined as common area. My unit deed awards me exclusive use of a specific garage space.

This became an issue when the garage structure (freestanding separate from the condo building) needed extensive repairs. The none-garage-owners didn't want to pay, of course. In the end the garage-owners mostly prevailed. A compromise was reached where non-owners were allowed to pay a smaller percentage than the owners.

Along the way, some long-standing friendships suffered collateral damage that lasts to this day.

Lawyer involvement was narrowly avoided, but just barely.

Something like this can be a huge can of worms.

Apparently, condo deeds are not written up any more the way ours was 40 years ago. Typically it would be clearer that unit owners who had use of the garage would foot the bill for any upkeep on the garage separate from the rest of the condo structure.
posted by qurlyjoe at 5:53 PM on April 29, 2015

Since you want to undertake this work for what appears to be exclusively your own benefit, I don't see why anyone else should be asked to pay for the work.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 7:10 PM on April 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone!
posted by chimpsonfilm at 8:15 AM on April 30, 2015

IANAL nor am i a condo owner. Is there any kind of value assessment on the garage itself? For example, if there are identical condos that are valued at $X but with the garage it is $X+Y? And if so, is your Y the exact same as every other garage owners?

If so, I wonder if you could make a case to get shared payment since you've been paying Y value but your garage unit is not equal to the others, so this construction work would bring it up to an even level with the others.
posted by CathyG at 11:29 AM on April 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

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