Posted: 1/7/2003 6:05:59 AM EDT
First, background. I live in a townhouse which I own with my girlfriend. I am on the board of directors, and have been for about 6 months +/-.
Before Xmas I get a letter forwarded to me from the property management company from the local building official saying that the screened enclosures that some residents have erected have not received their permits..
Also, the corrugated plastic material that some residents have installed over the trellis on their patios has not received a permit.
Now we go on Thursday to meet with the building code official to discuss this.
I work in the construction industry, and deal with inspectors and their bullshit everyday.
I have spoken to the head building official, who is also the one stirring up the trouble, when this letter first reached me.
I'm thinking of going down and filing for a permit, waiting a day or so, and then calling for inspection. I don't want to try and get it retro-active, although the people with the screen enclosures are going to have to go that route.
My position is that these are all individual homeowner issues, not association issues. This guy is just being lazy and trying to only deal with one entity rather than 56 different people.
For what its worth, most of these people bought their townhouses with these "improvements" already in place, myself included. How the hell are you supposed to know that something on the house you're buying doesn't meet code or is not permitted?
It sounds like somebody ratted somebody else out to the building inspector. These' guys typically do not have the time or gumption to go looking for corrugated plastic that does not meet code. And I think that the guy trying to solve the problem en masse is not really such a bad idea - it's certainly much more expedient for everyone.
If he were to try to tackle this matter with 56 different homeowners, it will never end, and one guy's porch may be rejected while another is allowed to stand. It'll be monumental. Also, in my area, the property management company is usually responsible for the structure and exterior of the buildings, so it may reallly be an association issue. YMMV.
Best case: Homeowners with enclosures constructed during their ownership have to pay the permit fee, which for something like this can't be more than lunch money.
Worst case: All non-permitted modifications must be removed (at homeowners expense). Those desiring screens must apply for the permit, perform the construction, and have a final inspection.
Real case: Somewhere in between, depending on how nasty the homeowners and the building inspector decide to act with each other.
Advice: Have initial meeting with building inspector attended only by your board. Get a feel for the mood, then approach the populace during your regular business meeting. I guarantee that there will be at least one guy who will scream and yell and bitch and moan about the whole thing. This is the guy that you want to insulate from the building inspector.
Most of what you say I agree with. Unfortunately, the other board members are all wound up about this, they might be the guys "who will scream and yell and bitch and moan about the whole thing".
I honestly don't give one little shit about the community, I am only on the board to protect my own interests. As such, I'm basically only interested in keeping my plastic cover.
We have a very good client who owns his home, but is part of a homeowners' association in his neighborhood. Currently he is the president. I am constantly amazed at the piddly-ass shit he has to put up with. Most of it is on neighbor ratting out another for some ridiculous infraction like leaving a newspaper in the driveway overnight. "They're running down the neighborhood!" Sheesh.
Well, maybe you can be the lone voice of reason and restraint. As you write in your second post, maybe you're better off making your own deal separate of teh group if you think it's likely that the rabble-rousers will queer the deal.
Good luck. I envy your situation not.
the only reason the gov cares about a permit....