Property Management

10 Condo Owner Issues Property Management Isn’t Responsible For

Managing a condo building comes with its ups and downs. Between property maintenance and coordinating with the unit owners, a condo board typically has a lot on its plate. Negotiating all this and what the property manager is responsible for can be a challenge.

We’ve come up with this list of 10 condo unit issues that should be addressed either by the board or the unit owners themselves.

10 Common Unit To Unit Issues That Should Be Addressed By the Board or Unit Owners

Unit-to-unit issues in condominiums can arise due to various factors, including poor construction, inadequate maintenance, and conflicts between residents.

No matter the reason for the issue, unit owners may be confused as to who is responsible for correcting it. In many instances, the issue is the responsibility of the unit owner or the homeowners association (HOA).

Here are some common unit-to-unit problems in condos that should be addressed by someone other than the property manager:

1. Noise Complaints

Excessive noise from neighbors, whether from loud music, footsteps, or other activities, can disturb residents and lead to disputes. These are common unit issues that should not be handled by the property manager.

While these occurrences are unfortunate, unit owners should make every attempt to resolve the dispute themselves. If the noise exceeds the limitations established by the municipal code, individuals should contact 311 or 911, as needed.

2. Plumbing Issues

Leaks, burst pipes, or drainage problems in one unit can cause water damage to adjacent units, resulting in costly repairs and potential disputes between residents. When it comes to minor plumbing issues, the unit owners are typically responsible for maintaining these systems.

Unfortunately, failure to act can mean the problem progresses to the point of impacting other units. While systemic issues related to plumbing will be addressed by the property manager, who will hire a plumbing contractor, any disputes between residents should be handled by residents directly.

3. Odor Issues

Unpleasant odors from cooking, smoking, or pets can permeate adjoining units and cause discomfort to neighbors. Unpleasant odors are normal and sometimes can’t be helped. If there is a consistent bad odor, this might be something that the board wants to look into.

It might be an issue related to improper maintenance or lack of hygiene, which is something that the board should be addressing. However, if the smells are a result of cooking, then some education may be required. If the smells are odd or lingering, the board may want to look at the HVAC system to make sure it’s filtering air properly.

4. Pest Infestations

Pests like rodents or insects can spread from one unit to another, leading to infestations that affect multiple units and require coordinated efforts to address. Pest infestations are very unfortunate and might stem from an individual unit. However, it’s important for it to be stopped quickly before it’s too late.

As a board member, be sure to properly educate unit owners about pest infestations, how to avoid them, how to properly clean the living space, and what to do when pests arrive. This will help prevent and resolve bigger issues down the road.

5. Structural or Maintenance Issues

Poor construction, neglect, or damage to common areas can impact adjacent units, leading to concerns about safety, aesthetics, or property values.

The common areas will be laid out and clarified in the building’s governing documents, but they often include things like walkways, exterior lighting, clubhouses, roofing, siding, and pools or hot tubs. They may also include gas, sewer, water, telecommunication, and electrical systems from the source to the entrance of the individual units. Portions of walls, ceilings, floors, and attic spaces may also be covered by the HOA.

Unit owners with concerns about any of these spaces should address them with the HOA. The exception is if the element exists to serve a single condo, like a patio space, an exterior door, windows, or shutters, and the responsibility for repair and maintenance typically falls to the unit owner.

6. HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, And Air Conditioning) Issues

Inefficient or malfunctioning HVAC systems can cause temperature and air quality issues in multiple units, leading to discomfort and potential health concerns.

The responsibility for HVAC elements can vary. If, for example, a unit has an in-unit air conditioner or a window unit, it will be the responsibility of the unit owner. If the building is served by a split system with an outdoor unit that covers all units, it is the responsibility of the HOA.

7. Privacy Concerns

Close proximity between units can lead to privacy issues, such as neighbors being able to see into each other’s units or hear private conversations.

Generally speaking, these issues are on the condo owners to solve. Window dressings and privacy blinds can do a lot to keep out prying eyes, while decorative acoustic or soundproofing panels can resolve concerns around overheard conversations.

8. Parking And Storage Disputes

Limited parking or storage spaces can result in conflicts between residents over the use and allocation of these resources. If issues related to parking come up, then board members should address this and refer to the parking rules that are outlined.

9. Rule Violations

Addressing unit-to-unit issues in condominiums often requires effective communication, cooperation between residents, and the involvement of the condo association or property management. Some residents may violate the condo association’s rules and regulations, causing tension between neighbors and potential fines or penalties.

10. Interpersonal Conflicts

Disagreements or disputes between residents can escalate, impacting the living environment and overall sense of community within the condominium.

When these conflicts arise, it is the responsibility of the HOA to work with all parties toward an adequate resolution. It’s not easy, but by applying the tips found in this blog, HOA members should be able to find an equitable solution.

When Should You Contact Your Property Manager Over Unit Owner Issues

The answer to when you should contact your property manager over condo owner issues is almost never. If there is a dispute between condo owners, your property manager will likely not be able to step in. They are there to help by providing useful documentation to help you navigate this as a board member.

If any of the above issues occur and they impact more than one condo owner and are related to the shared space of the building, then this may be the time to contact your property manager. This is not a condo owner dispute; instead, it is a maintenance issue that impacts either one or more owners and is something that they cannot or should not address on their own.

There is a simple way to think about how property managers can support board members. Property managers are professionals who do work on behalf of board members when it comes to maintenance, shared spaces, and construction. When it comes to day-to-day management, it is up to the board members to take the lead. This includes coordinating how maintenance is conducted, allocating the budget, and even helping condo owners resolve issues.

If you’re a frustrated board member, you may be in a bind. Either you have a property manager who is not properly supporting you or you’ve become complacent. Managing a residential building is hard work, but with a responsive and reliable property management team on your side, things get done and you start to feel better about your role. Not only that, but your condo owners will be happier, and this makes for a much better co-living experience.

For competent and reliable property management in Chicago, you can trust Hales Property Management. Request a proposal to learn more about how our team can help your building thrive!

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