Can a new unit owner gut his unit by removing ceramic tiles from the flooring in a bathroom and side walls down to the cinder block and pipes in the wall which are I think part of the Common Element in our condo? Removing the hard wood flooring along with the concrete underneath from the whole unit including the kitchen? I just had a new buyer who bought the unit above me and the noise was just unbearable. Many of the unit owners on that floor complained to management and also to the new owner, but our Board of Directors approved this unit owners design to renovate the whole unit which took 4 weeks. That unit was totally gutted in the bathroom and kitchen; wiring had been cut that affected my unit too. What does the VA Condo Act stipulate a unit owner owns within the 714 sq ft walls? How far into the walls or behind the ceramic tile in a kitchen or bathroom can the unit owner go without tapping into the common element of the concrete wall that shows the cinder block, original wiring and piping? Doesn’t the board of directors realize when approving such a unit alteration or renovation know how this can affect a building that is 50 years old? We are having a lot of new buyers coming into our complex and totally redoing the kitchens and bathroom plus the flooring in the bedrooms and living/dining room areas. Just like to know if how far into a wall any unit alteration is permitted via the VA STATE CONDO LAW?
This is a very good question and one that is difficult to answer without any knowledge of your governing documents. In the most general sense, the Virginia Condominium Act gives an owner the right to make changes within their unit so long as they don’t modify the structure in such a way as to create an engineering safety hazard (for example removing a structural support wall or beam). The Board can ask the owner for plans and an engineer’s certification that the reconstruction is safe but cannot block the reconstruction unless there is a hazard.
As far as what is considered a part of an owner’s unit; the governing documents rule. The Association’s declaration, master deed or articles of incorporation will usually lay out the parameters of a unit in terms of boundaries. The unit boundaries vary from community to community and the upper, lower and side boundaries can range from the inner wall/floor/ceiling finish to the outer wall/floor/ceiling.
Most condominium communities have rules regarding construction noise. The rules usually take the form of work times. Your community manager or Board should be able to inform you of the rules in your community and assist you if they are not followed.
We are in a condominuim association and I am the current President of it. My question is how does one go about the idea of letting Residents individualize the rock area around the units? What kind of rules and regulations would have to apply as not to have any one going crazy and doing STRANGE things with this area? Most of the Residents are at least 70 and above, my husband and myself are a handeful of those that are under 65!!! Thank you for your help.
The best way to allow owners to individualize their homes and lots is to create Architectural Guidelines that detail what colors, styles, designs, etc. are permitted. Allow enough latitude for personal preference, but be specific enough to ensure that the community maintains appropriate uniformity of appearance in order to protect everyone’s property values.