Condominium Unit Upgrades and Insurance

First of all, I plan to put new hardwood flooring in my unit to replace worn out carpeting in 80 per cent of the unit. The president of the board, says he is to be involved.  What is his (the Board's) legal status in this matter, if any?  The Board has not been involved (to the best of my knowledge) with other unit owners installing wood flooring.

If there is such a Condominium Building Act could you email that section to me?

What are my rights if this 'rule' (i.e., him being involved) hasn't been enforced before?

Will this affect my present Unit's insurance coverage?

Answer:

What I can tell you is this: in general, condominiums and insurance are a nightmare. You can get all the right insurance coverage and still find that you have to fight to have a claim paid. Frankly, I wish the government would "wade in" on this one, because many homeowners get caught in a problem between their insurance, and the condominium corporation's insurance.

That aside, I've been an owner of a condominium and I've been a Board member for a Condo Corporation for over 10 years. I've never heard of the Board having to be involved in an upgrade to the inside of a unit holder's residence.

Without knowing where you live, I cannot recommend where to get a copy of the Condominium Building Act or other governing legislation. You should contact your state or provincial government to get that; you may be able to get it from the appropriate website.

I'm no lawyer but I would think that if such a rule hasn't been enforced before then you have the right to see where in your Condominium By-Laws that this rule exists, and when it came into effect.

As far as the insurance implications, be sure that your policy will cover all internal "finishings and coverings, including flooring" that you own. In some cases, if the finishings or coverings (even cabinetry) is "original" to the unit, it could actually be covered under the Corporation's insurance! However, as soon as you change anything inside the unit, it then belongs to you. Your policy should reflect that, and the amount of coverage that you carry should reflect that.

2 comments
Posted by editor@insuranceguide101.com on October 9,2006 at 7:23 PM
Here's what I've heard about putting in hardwood floors: many condo corporations have a rule that you must put in "cork" under the hardwood in order to control noise. (Perhaps that is why the Board wants to be involved in our reader question -- but the Board did not specify that to the reader!) Putting in cork greatly increases the cost of the hardwood floor, so can make getting hardwood prohibitive. However, it definitely helps with the noise.
Posted by sd on October 7,2006 at 8:54 PM
I live in a condo where my neighbor replaced most of his carpeting with hard woods. Now, when he walks around his condo, my walls and pictures on them shake and I hear his footsteps as if he was an elephant. It is very selfish to put all hardwood floors when your building is connected in some way to another's home.

My sister has a condo in MN and my mother has one in FL and in both, they are not allowed to put hardwood floors for the noise reason. It is a rule in each of their rules.

By the way, I have put my condo up for sale due, in part, because of my noisy neighbor. It sold in 1 week and I will be outa here in a few weeks. Yipee.

S
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