How do you fix it, What Happens if you can’t?
By Tyler P. Berding JD., Ph.D.
Every community association will face a major reconstruction project several times in the life of the development. This may occur because of clearly anticipated problems, such as re-roofing or re-painting, but it can also occur because of completely unanticipated (and unreserved-for) problems such as dry rot repair, soil subsidence, or leaks in windows and siding.
California’s Davis-Stirling Act only requires that a community association reserve include those components that visual inspections of accessible areas reveal have a useful life of 30 years or less, and makes no allowance whatsoever for reconstruction due to hidden and unknown deterioration. There can be two decidedly different outcomes to any attempt to repair previously unknown damage. The first is a predictable project that succeeds in repairing the damage within the association’s means. That is the subject of Part I. Part II, however, considers the situation where invisible damage is so unexpected and expensive to repair that it overwhelms the association’s resources.
What if the Cost of Repair exceeds all Expectations?
If your major repair project is begun with an insufficient understanding of the extent of hidden damage, your entire funding scheme may be overwhelmed and owner equity could go with it. It is critical in an older building, therefore, to determine the scope of work and the cost of repair as accurately as possible before the project begins. But what happens when all else fails and the damage exceeds all reasonable expectations and funding?