HOA Inspection Clearance – Not so Clear?
“The HOA basically came back and told us that their inspection of the unit 18 months ago did not count!”
A few months ago I wrote a post about how ‘resistance is futile’ with the HOA inspection at the time a condo is sold at Brittan Heights. https://brittanheights.com/2014/11/06/resistance-is-futile-you-shall-comply/. Maybe resistance is not so futile…
So sometime in 2013 my clients purchased a top level Brittan Heights unit which was advertised as having attic storage – this was very desirable to my clients. We were informed that the HOA did its inspection and flagged the wood floors in the living room as possibly non-compliant and would need to be reviewed by Board for HOA approval. The Board later met and approved the wood floors, my clients moved in, everyone was happy.
Fast forward 18 months later and my client decides to sell his Brittan Heights condo. We advertised the place as “great condo with attic storage,” receive an offer, and asked the Brittan Heights HOA to perform its inspection. Since no changes had been made to the condo in the past 18 months – what could go wrong?
Well about 25 days into the escrow, the Property Management Company [PMC] for Brittan Heights comes back and tells us that the attic does not comply with the requirements as a space to be used for storage. The PMC sends us the Attic Storage document
and we then learn that they failed to inspected the attic 18 months ago. They further tell us that my clients should have somehow known that the attic was neither inspected nor compliant. How were we suppose to guess that? The attic guidelines document was not part of the previous disclosures so it wasn’t like we could even judge for ourselves whether it was compliant. The attic trap door and the rope hanging from the ceiling were there 18 months ago, so how the PMC missed it before is beyond me.
I kept arguing the point with the PMC and finally received an email from the PMC which included the HOA’s attorney’s opinion on the issue. Big surprise, the attorney told us that the HOA was not responsible and that it was basically our fault. Well, I replied back countering the attorney’s argument and a couple days later the PMC informed me that it would make the attic repairs at its cost.
The moral of the story here is that I believe we have the right to reasonably rely on the fact that the HOA performed a diligent inspection of a unit for non-compliance with its own rules. If the HOA does not flag something as non-compliant, then there’s an inference that it was approved. But that’s just my opinion, and I argued it, which resulted in getting the repairs we sought and a very happy client.