More and more people are selling their single-family homes and moving into condos, apartment complexes, town homes and the like. When an individual dwelling is part of a larger complex, complications can arise regarding maintenance, repairs and other issues. Many Utah communities have restrictions for residents who agree to abide by the rules and policies of a Homeowners Association (HOA). If you serve on the board for HOA, you might wonder whether specific issues are a concern for an individual unit owner or the Association, such as construction defects.
In most cases, an HOA must manage and control exterior improvements, which include construction projects in the common areas of the community. If a construction defect exists, it might affect the common interest of the community. In such a case, the HOA can pursue litigation as necessary to act on behalf of itself or individual unit owners.
Identify construction defects before heading to court
When acting in an official capacity for a Utah HOA, it is wise to make sure the complaint you’re dealing with is, in fact, a construction defect and not an issue that is a unit owner’s responsibility. To identify construction defects, it’s helpful to investigate all the components in the compound or community.
For example, if a unit member complains that a door wasn’t installed properly and new doors were placed in all the units, it merits investigation of the entire building to check whether one door was improperly installed or was broken by the unit owner, or there are construction defects in all the doors.
Disclosing suspected construction defects to the appropriate parties
Rather than making hasty repairs of the doors in a unit (or windows or other components or structural issues), your HOA team may first want to notify the contractor or developer in writing. This creates written documentation of the issue and provides the company with an opportunity to make repairs in a timely manner in accordance with state laws or terms of agreement in a contract.
If you rush in to make repairs before notifying the contractor or developer, they can say that you failed to preserve evidence of the defect. If necessary, you can address construction defects on behalf of a Utah HOA in court. This type of litigation can be complex and stressful. It may be less so if your HOA team relies on experienced legal support during proceedings.