Question: Are owners responsible for dry rot on decks (Common Area), or responsible for replacing the handrail? CCRs state that Owners have exclusive easement to use decks and must paint, maintain, repair the interiors (not defined). Decks are open to the air and are attachd to front of building.
Answer: As a general rule, state law provides that the Association maintains the true common areas while the homeowners maintain the separate interests and the exclusive use common areas. Civil Code §1364(a), states:
“Unless otherwise provided in the declaration of a common interest development, the association is responsible for repairing, replacing, or maintaining the common areas, other than exclusive use common areas, and the owner of each separate interest is responsible for maintaining that separate interest and any exclusive use common areas appurtenant to that separate interest.”
In a condominium development, which party is responsible for repair of which part of the property often hinges on how the maintenance responsibilities are assigned under the CC&Rs. In condominium developments, the Association is responsible for most exterior surfaces, other than items such as doors and windows, because the exterior is generally common areas.
In most condominiums, patios and decks are exclusive use common areas. The owners are responsible for maintaining the surface areas in much the same way they must maintain the interior surfaces of their units. The Association would usually be responsible for fixing structural problems (i.e. dry rot, termite infestation, etc.). However, it is impossible to tell in your particular situation without completely reviewing the CC&Rs and the condominium plan.
About the Author: Carl H. Starrett II has been a licensed attorney since 1993 and is a member in good standing with the California State Bar and the San Diego County Bar Association. Mr. Starrett practices in the areas of bankruptcy, business litigation, construction, corporate planning and debt collection.
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