Should you analyze your condominium documents for incidental damage covenants?

By November 11, 2018 January 15th, 2019 News, Questions & Answers

Q: My condominium association sent me a letter stating that it needs to restore the concrete lanais. I installed very expensive tile on my lanai about 4 years ago and it is my understanding the condominium intends to tear up the tile to restore the concrete. Is the Association required to replace the tile since they approved the tile in the first place?

-AG, Naples

A: It depends. Most condominium documents provide that the lanai is a limited common element and that the unit owner is responsible to maintain, repair and replace floor coverings. That being said, the concrete under your lanai is owned by all owners as a common element and eventually requires restoration. In this situation, the condominium association must restore the concrete, but the only way to do so is by removing the tile improvement. If the tile has been there for a long time, it will be essentially impossible to match the tile so damaging a handful of tile will effectively require all of the tiles to be replaced.

To answer your question, it is necessary to analyze your condominium documents for incidental damage covenants.  Incidental damage is where the association must damage your property incident to carrying out the Association’s duties to maintain, repair and replace the common elements or other Association responsibilities. I have seen some documents requiring the Association to replace the tile to its condition immediately prior to the concrete restoration. I have seen some documents only requiring the Association to restore the property to its original condition as constructed by the developer. I have also seen documents which provide that the owner is nevertheless responsible because the owner knew it may need to be lifted at some point.

I would recommend you have the condominium documents reviewed by a licensed Florida attorney to determine your rights under the condominium documents and Florida law.